Everyone overdoes it sometimes. It’s a part of life. The trick is having some strategies to help you get back on track—fast—so that one treat meal doesn’t turn into a week’s worth of indulgences.
The first step is recognizing that one big, yummy meal and a drink or two isn’t going to pile on the pounds or undo all the good work you are doing in the gym. So get past it! Put it behind you! Then, the next morning, try these five things to start feeling more in control of your wellbeing.
1. Drink water
Every gram of carbohydrate eaten off diet will add to your body an extra 2.7 grams of water. Combined with high sodium treats which also lead to fluid retention, excess carbohydrate consumption may leave you feeling and looking bloated. I always tell my clients to chug water when they feel this way. This is the best way to flush extra fluids out of your system. Even though you may not feel like drinking liquids, it’s very important not to restrict water as that will have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for and only worsen your condition.
2. Do a heavy leg workout
After eating a meal with lots of carbohydrates you are primed for an excellent workout the following day. Use the glycogen for a HEAVY workout. I tend to schedule a leg day for myself and for my clients but you can also do a heavy back day.
3. Don’t try to compensate by not eating
This is going to set you up to fail. Sometimes people overindulge and then try to compensate the following day by starving themselves. This sets you up for a very unhealthy cycle of bingeing/starving. Instead, get right back on track with your clean eating plan the day after.
4. Freeze leftovers or just get rid of them
If you’ve cooked and have a fridge full of leftovers, getting back on track and eating healthy can be even harder. The reality is that you are either going tuck into those containers in the fridge or they are going to go bad, so do yourself a favor and eliminate the temptation. Freeze the leftovers to defrost and enjoy as a treat meal some other time, or, if you genuinely don’t want to eat them, throw them out. Better yet, you can give them to someone who will appreciate them. Check with a local shelter or soup kitchen to see if they could use them or you can even hand them out to homeless people you may see.
5. Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t fall into the trap of criticizing yourself. Treat meals are part of a long term healthy plan. If you enjoy a night out with friends that does not mean that you failed and you might as well give up on your goals. Life isn’t all or nothing. Enjoy the evening, spending time with your friends and having fun. Then move on.