How to Get Back on Track After a Binge
Overdid It on the Booze and Treats This Weekend? Get Back on Track With This Checklist
We've all been there: that happy hour glass of wine turns into three, which turns into ordering a pizza when you get home and polishing it off with some ice cream in your freezer.
Whether you've overdone it on one cheat meal or an entire weekend, there are some steps you can take to help undo the damage and get back on track with your healthy eating habits. POPSUGAR talked to several dietitians who revealed their best tips.
First things first: don't beat yourself up the next day after a particularly indulgent night. Life happens, and a highly caloric meal or day of eating isn't going to completely undo all of your progress.
"Resist the urge to mentally say things like you hate yourself for what you ate the day before," said Maggie Michalczyk, RDN. "We've all been there and your body hears what your mind thinks, so ignore the guilt that creeps into your mind and remind yourself it's a new day; you are human and you are strong enough to get right back to making strong, healthy choices the next day."
Katie Kissane, MS, RD, CSSD, owner of NoCo Sports Nutrition and Fitness, agrees. "Let go of any guilt associated with overeating," she said. "If you hold onto the guilt of overeating, it can lead to a vicious cycle of guilt and overeating. This could mean that one day of overeating leads for several days." She added if you overeat one day, your body might naturally want to eat less the next day, so it's important to trust your body and practice intuitive eating.
Drink Lots of Water
If you drank one too many cocktails the night before or indulged in your favorite salty snacks, your body needs more water to recover. Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD, owner of Nutri Savvy Health, said to drink one to two glasses of water as soon as you wake up, and drink plenty throughout the day; aim for eight to 10 glasses.
In addition to drinking plenty of water, Maggie suggested loading up on water-heavy hydrating foods, such as lettuce, cucumber, strawberries, and peppers.
Move Your Body
The last thing you probably want to do if you're hungover (or have a sugar hangover) is work out. But getting in a workout will not only help you feel better, it will also get you back on track.
"Find time to exercise, whether it's a morning hike or a cardio class," Lauren recommended. "Get those endorphins going and get back to your exercise routine."
Maggie said even something as simple as going for a walk will get your body moving and help give yourself some mental clarity, too.
Don't Skip Meals
You may think skipping meals and cutting back on calories will make up for all the extra calories you ate the day before, but it can actually backfire and create a cycle of restriction and overeating, Katie explained.
"Instead, I suggest focusing on clean and healthy eating for several days after eating too much," she said. "By focusing on eating several servings of vegetables and balancing three meals with lean protein choices and limiting sugar, this can decrease overall calorie intake without trying starving."
Maggie also recommended incorporating protein and fiber at every meal to help keep you fuller longer and aid in digestion. Try quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, fruits, and vegetables. Some healthy fats, such as walnuts and avocados, will also keep you satisfied, explained Lauren.
Go to Bed Early
Especially if you were out late the night before, getting enough sleep is essential.
"Get in bed at a reasonable time for plenty of sleep," Lauren said. "Research suggests that lack of sleep can cause cravings the following day due to rise in cortisol levels."