6 Tips On How To Get Back On Track After Overeating
It’s the day after Canadian Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting here feeling full from all the pie and whipped cream I ate last night. Soooo, I figured it would be the perfect time to write a post about how to get back on track after overeating…because I’m pretty sure that if you’re not in the same position as I am today, you probably will be sometime between now and New Years’ Day. Yay, holiday time!!
The issue that some people have with indulgence is that they have a really hard time stopping. It’s a legit problem, especially at this time of year. With holiday after holiday, including parties leading up to the actual days, plus leftovers lying around, and tons of cookies and other treats popping up everywhere, keeping your eating under control is really tough.
Here are my top five tips for how to get back on track after overeating…so you can feel great from now until next year (and beyond)!
Accept that overeating is part of the human experience, and move on.
This tip is #1 for a reason: the other ones are pretty much predicated on it.
I think that where most people get tripped up about overeating is that they feel guilty afterwards, and then they engage in negative self-talk and other behaviours that are self-sabotaging and defeating (cleanses, I’m talking about you). Like every other human being on this planet, you’re inevitably going to overeat in your life, so just get over it, because it’s NORMAL. Dwelling on what you’ve done can leave you mentally exhausted and more likely to overeat again.
Get rid of the leftovers (especially the desserts).
I like pumpkin pie for breakfast as much as the next person, but seriously – leftovers that hang around and tempt you for days after an event are not your friend.
Stuffing, mashed potatoes, desserts, creamy casseroles…they’re special holiday foods, so enjoy them when they’re freshly made. You wouldn’t eat Thanksgiving dinner twice, so keeping the party going by eating rich foods over and over again as leftovers is a seriously bad idea.
Give leftovers away as care packages to guests as they depart. Bye bye, pie!
Understand that it’s possible to go through the holidays without constant overindulgence.
Don’t default to the excuse that because it’s the holidays, this is your permission to eat like crazy from October to January and you’ll deal with the fallout sometime afterwards. It’s like when people go into vacation mode when they go away, and end up going nuts with cocktails and nachos for two weeks. Back away from those Christmas cookies that you don’t even really like, and know that you will not miss out on anything great if you decide to take a different, more measured approach this year. You can still enjoy your favorite foods, and you can still enjoy being with friends and family. Just try to choose the foods that are really special, and remember the law of diminishing returns – the first few bites are always the best. There’s no need to stuff a huge amount into your body.
PS – if you really want sweet potato casserole in July, you can always make it. So just because you only get certain foods around the holidays doesn’t mean you should go all out on all of them.
I know, holiday time is sooooo busy. You’re sooooo tired. It’s soooo cold out.
Nope, nope, nope. Bad excuses, and I’m not buying them!
Exercising for health and wellness over the holidays is super important. Manage stress, breathe the fresh air, and take some alone time for yourself. Remember you? Plus, who couldn’t use some peace during this season?
A bonus: being active may actually lead to making better food choices, too. It’s called ‘The Transfer Effect’ – where making changes to one area of your life causes you to make changes in another areas, as well.
Repeat after me: Plants and water.
Drink plenty of water. Anecdotally, I find that I eat less when I’m properly hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you in the car when you run errands, and make sure you’re drinking water at home, too. Along with water, eat your vegetables. I know I sound like your mom, but it’s true. Aside from containing fiber, vegetables can be scarce at holiday feasts and parties (sorry, but sweet potato casserole doesn’t count). Having at least one plant-heavy meal a day can help ensure that no matter what else transpires in that day, you’ve got your 5-8 servings of vegetables in. At feasts, fill your plate with plants before you choose other dishes.
Don’t just not eat.
Skipping meals, doing a cleanse or detox, or dieting altogether is not an approach to overeating that I’d recommend.
The likely eventual result of these behaviours is more overeating as you struggle to balance restriction with indulgence.
Simply going back to your normal (healthy) diet is enough to get you back on track. Don’t overcorrect by starving yourself.
The moral of the story: you just can’t control everything.
There will be some days, parties, or events that are better than others in terms of food choices, and that’s okay. You can’t control everything, so try to focus on what you can control: your reaction to overeating; the food you keep in your home; how you eat when you’re in a position to choose (versus at an event where you have little to no choice about the food).
Try to be flexible: although it seems counterintuitive, remember that rigidity is an enemy of healthy eating and a healthy mindset towards food.