Holidays are prime times to eat way more than is necessary with meals that are extremely rich and loaded with calories! It’s fun to visit with family and feast on foods we normally would not allow past our lips, but it’s not fun afterwards when we’re in a food coma and chastising ourselves for overdoing it! It can also be difficult to get back into our regular healthy eating routines the next day after filling our bodies with lots of fat, sugar, and salt!
Severely restricting calories and certain kinds of foods for the next few days isn’t the answer. In fact, that can just set you up for a binge later in the week! We can get back on the healthy eating track in a much gentler way:
1. Eat! Seems almost contradictory to eat after a day of eating! The point here is to feed the body with healthy foods, prevent blood sugar crashes, avoid binges. Focus on eating at regular intervals throughout the day instead of just grazing. Eat light and healthy, but don’t drastically cut calories. Make an effort to take your time and pay attention to what you’re eating too.
2. Include protein. Ah, here’s my new found friend again. Good ol’ protein will help keep you satisfied for a longer period of time, dull sugar cravings, and help your body repair. Good protein sources that will feel good to a bloated tummy are: eggs, tofu, baked or poached chicken breast or turkey breast, or lean fish – all without any added grease, of course! I wouldn’t call a bacon double cheeseburger the best protein option after a day of splurging!
3. Hide the salt shaker. The meals at my family celebrations tend to be a lot higher in sodium than what I eat on a regular basis. The higher sodium consumption is a major factor in sporting the bloated look the next day too. I personally don’t favor this look, not very fashionable for spring. So, the next few days after the splurge, really focus on not using salt in your meals. There are so many other herbs and spices that can flavor your meals extremely well, and even make them tastier than by using salt alone!
4. Fill up – with Water. Big, family dinners are oftentimes accompanied by carbonated, sugary beverages,wine, beer, and coffee. Then there’s the salt your body has to deal with, as well (see #3). Chances are you may be dehydrated from your big meal. My Easter dinner was spent at my cousin’s house where the drink options included about 10 different pops! uh… sodas! Cokes! (Pick your geographic term for carbonated beverage.) I chose ginger ale and only had a little. Of course, I could have discretely filled my plastic blue cup with tap water from the kitchen! But perhaps that’s a lesson learned for next year?
Suffice it to say, water is your best friend after a day of splurging. The next couple of days after the big party, focus on drinking lots of water! Flush your system, stay hydrated, and keep cravings at bay!
5. Eat your veggies and fruits too. Vegetables and fruits are low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber. They will fill you up without filling you out. You will get needed nutrients and be able to feel good about what you’re eating. That’s very important after a day of overeating! You don’t want to linger on feeling guilty! Fruit might also help if you’re craving something sweet too. (I’m still working towards achieving this!)
6. Exercise, lightly. I know I personally want to exercise – a lot – the day after a big holiday meal, but sometimes I just physically don’t feel up to it. My get up and go got up and left once I put a lot of rich foods in my body! But, instead of forgoing any kind of exercise, just decrease the intensity or duration for day. Take a walk. Practice a few yoga positions. Go to the park with your kids and swing on the swings. Get on the treadmill for 20 minutes instead of 40. Or, just do an easy exercise DVD.
And don’t go to the other extreme of beating yourself up and overdoing it on the exercise! You could burnout, or worse, get injured. Just get back to your normal exercise routine as soon as you can without making too much of a fuss over it.
This leads me to my final point…
7. Be kind to yourself. OK, so we ate more than we should have. What’s done is done. Don’t beat yourself up over it because that won’t help you get back on track! It will just continue those feelings of guilt and negativity towards yourself. I tend to be hard on myself if I “mess up.” I’m learning to ease up. I’m learning that beating myself up doesn’t really help at all but instead leads to bad habits (restricting, binges, over exercising, obsessing about weight etc. etc. etc. and so forth).
Now I try to look at splurges and learn from them. Why did I eat the way I did? How could I have done it differently? What will I do the next time? This is helpful. This keeps me mindful of what I eat. This is what will keep me on track at future celebratory meals.
These are just a few tips to get you back on track after a splurge. You probably have ideas of your own, so feel free to share them in the comments section!
OK, now you may have been wondering, “So exactly how did Ms. Susan do this past Easter weekend?” The answer: Not bad! I’m very very pleased to say that! I did try samples of ham, cheesy potato casserole, corn, a roll, a strawberry, whipped cream salad, one chocolate chip cookie (how was that possible?), and one chocolate egg… plus my ginger ale. I didn’t pile the food on my plate, and I even avoided the big Easter cake surrounded by yellow Peeps and the bowl of pastel M&Ms set out for munching as we discussed the latest happenings in our lives. Oh, I was quite pleased with myself.
Yet, when my husband and I returned home from our fun weekend, I noticed 1 Cadbury creme egg sitting in my little Easter chick bowl, it’s red, blue, and yellow wrapper shining in the kitchen light. Yes, I am guilty of liking those hideous Cadbury creme eggs. Yes, I am guilty of eating a few of them this Easter season. But I am happy to announce that this one still sits in it’s little bowl uneaten… at least until later this week!
Here’s the little ‘stinker’…