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After Overeating: What to Do to Get Back on Track?

Enjoyed your weekend with food? Now what to do to get back your weight loss regime on track? The simplest solution – you plan to carry on the same indulgent routine that includes heavy meals because of de-motivation to go off the track… but WAIT!

Before you give up on your weight loss desires because of being guilt for one heavy meal, check out these steps, which will help you to get back on track when you’ve blown your calorie budget-

1. There’s Always a New Day

One heavy meal or one day of binge eating won’t have a big impact on your progress, but if you have been following the same unhealthy routine for a week or month then it can set you back. Now, rather than planning to have healthy meals from tomorrow, it is advised to begin eating right from your very next meal only.

A little indulgence would not destroy your week’s efforts – just get right back on track, and you will feel good that you did.

2. Be Positive

Don’t punish yourself for slipping up or falling off the wagon, rather regain focus on the reasons that led you to set these goals in the first place – look stunning in a friends’ wedding?, fitting in your favorite LBD? etc. Keep a positive outlook! Remember that this is a time taking a journey, after all, and it will be full of peaks and valleys.

3. Reassess your Calorie Budget

Want more calories to enjoy your favorite sweet dish after dinner? It’s time to sweat it out! Burn more calories throughout the day by indulging in a hardcore workout routine to have a bigger calorie budget. Plus, don’t forget that the more you workout the closer you are to your weight loss goals!

4. Formulate Effective Strategies

Ok! So you know that you have blown off your calorie budget. It’s time to check out the reasons behind it. Did you eat the cake because it was there in the refrigerator? Did you have a heavy dinner because it was a party? Did you eat sweets because you were tempted to eat them?

Assess whether the reasons behind the act were internal or external. If they were internal it’s time to practice standing up for yourself and embracing the power of “no” and if the reasons were external stay away from them (don’t bring the cake inside your house if you can’t exercise portion control).

5. Skipping Meals is not the Solution

Just because you have blown your calorie budget at lunch doesn’t mean that skipping the dinner is a solution to it. If you try to severely restrict your calorie intake to make up for the splurge, it is likely to backfire which can set you up for a never-ending cycle of blowing the budget.

Skipping meals creates ravenous hunger and, at that point, everything in sight might look good! The best solution is to just chalk it up as a small splurge and continue with your healthy eating plan.

6. Get Support

Weight loss is not easy, so make sure you have enough support to create lasting change. To discuss emotional eating and barriers to change, it is advised to get some professional support from a dietitian or a counselor.

7. Go for a walk

Going for a walk right after you’ve overeaten can help you clear your mind as walking has been shown to help accelerate stomach emptying. You may be relieved of uncomfortable feelings of fullness or bloating caused by overeating. It can also help burn some of the extra calories.

Walking also improves mood and reduces some of the negative feelings. In fact, physical activity can stimulate the release of important neurotransmitters that can help protect against conditions like depression and anxiety.

8. Sleep

Getting enough sleep after an episode of overeating is a good way to fight off cravings and get the next day off on the right foot. Studies have found that a lack of sleep may be associated with an increased appetite. In particular, sleep deprivation may affect levels of ghrelin and leptin, two important hormones involved in hunger and appetite regulation.

Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger in the brain, while leptin is a hormone released from fat cells that signal fullness and suppresses hunger. Short sleep duration was also linked to higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin. After an unplanned binge, try going to bed a little earlier than usual to ensure you’re able to fit in a full night of sleep and get a fresh start the next day.

9. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

While it may be tempting to skimp on breakfast or lunch the day after overeating, starting your day with a healthy meal can actually help you get back on track. Not only does it allow you to start fresh after getting a good night’s sleep, but it can also help you get right back into your routine and make healthier choices throughout the day. What you eat for your first meal of the day is also important.

For example, one study found that eating a high-protein breakfast decreased levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, more effectively than eating a high-carb breakfast.

Another study in 48 people showed that eating oatmeal, a food high in both protein and fiber, increased feelings of fullness, and improved appetite control more than a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal.

10. Stay Hydrated

Not only is drinking enough water crucial to overall health — but it’s also key to maximizing weight loss and keeping your appetite under control. After an episode of overeating, it’s especially important to make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day.

A study of 24 older adults found when people drank 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before a meal, the number of calories they consumed during the meal dropped by 13%, compared to a control group. Similarly, another small study showed that increasing daily water intake by 17 ounces, combined with a low-calorie diet, increased weight loss by 44% compared to a low-calorie diet alone.

Upping your water intake may also help temporarily increase metabolism to burn off extra calories. One study found that drinking 17 ounces of water increased people’s resting energy expenditure by about 30% after 30–40 minutes. How much water you should drink per day can depend on several factors. However, the easiest way to meet your hydration needs is to listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty.

11. Yoga

Yoga has been associated with several health benefits, including reduced migraine frequency and improved sleep quality. Practicing yoga may also promote healthy eating habits, which can reduce the risk of overeating. One small study looked at the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment for binge eating disorder and found that it helped reduce binge eating and even led to reductions in body mass index.

Not only that, but yoga can have a positive effect on your mood to help prevent emotional eating and keep you feeling motivated after an unplanned binge. It’s also been shown to decrease levels of cortisol. This may help reduce anxiety and depression by influencing the uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

To get started, try taking a yoga class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are also plenty of online videos and other resources you can use to try yoga at home.

12. Veggies

Vegetables are rich in many of the beneficial nutrients your body needs, including a range of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Loading up on veggies post-binge is another effective strategy to help prevent overeating. Vegetables are high in fiber, which moves slowly through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, helping promote feelings of fullness.

Studies show that bumping up your fiber intake can help you regulate your weight by influencing you to eat less. One review found that when people increased their fiber intake by 14 grams daily, they consumed 10% fewer calories on average and lost significantly more weight. Another study showed that people who ate more vegetables lost more weight and felt less hungry compared to a control group.

A good rule of thumb is to fill at least half your plate with veggies at each meal. You can also try incorporating more veggies into your snacks to cut cravings and reduce the risk of overeating. Carrots with hummus, roasted chickpeas, and baked kale chips all make delicious, nutritious snack options.

13. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is the practice of paying close attention to the way you feel while you eat, instead of just mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth. It’s all about recognizing how you feel while eating and enjoying the taste, texture, and smell of your foods. Mindful eating may help treat binge eating disorder, a condition characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating.

One review of 14 studies showed that practicing mindfulness effectively reduced incidences of both binge eating and emotional eating. Another small study found that when women with binge eating problems were given combined mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy, they experienced improved eating behaviors and increased self-awareness.

A review of 24 studies showed that mindful eating may help people reduce their food intake later in the day, which could help them lose weight. To start practicing mindful eating, minimize external distractions, and try eating and enjoying your food slowly. Learn to recognize when you’re feeling full to know when it may be time to stop eating.

Before Goodbye

Even if you have blown off your calorie budget, it is important to consider that splurges are part of daily living – the key is to keep them in moderation so that they don’t become a barrier in your weight loss progress!

Goodbye!

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