Let’s say, hypothetically, that you didn’t do so well with your healthy eating plan last week. Let’s say, for example, that you stood next to the spinach dip and devoured about a pound of it. With chips. Those really salty thin pretzel things. And—I’m just guessing here, throwing things out off the top of my head—let’s say you had one too many drinks. Like maybe a dozen. And to top things off you buried your face in your sister’s apple crisp, your mom’s sausage stuffing and took down the mountain of mashed potatoes all by yourself. You know, hypothetically. Let’s say that’s what your weekend looked like.
What do you do now?
To quote my wonderful New York friend and neighbor, “fahgettaboudit.”
It’s over. Banish the guilt. You can’t un-eat or un-drink anything so the best thing to do is just move on. It’s a new day. Time to get back on track.
Actually, getting back on track is one of the key skills nutritionists cite as being part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Everyone indulges on occasion, that's normal. What differentiates those that are successful at managing their weight from those that aren’t is the ability to get back to healthy habits immediately. The times you indulge should be the exception, not the rule.
So, what should you do now, exactly?
1) Stop freaking out. One (or two) days of overindulgence won’t ruin your hard work. The key is to make sure you don’t continue overindulging. That will definitely sabotage your healthy habits.
2) Drink plenty of water. That bloated feeling is probably not real weight, but extra water caused by the excess salt you ingested. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. That’ll help rid your body of the excess sodium and reduce the bloat.
3) Get moving. Jump back into your normal exercise routine. Exercise boosts your mood too so you’ll not only be doing something good for your body, but you’ll feel better too.
4) Eat five small meals a day. Resume your healthy eating habits. Lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and two small snacks a day. For example:
- Breakfast: Low-fat yogurt and berries.
- Mid-morning snack: A piece of fruit and an ounce of low-fat cheese
- Lunch: A big salad with lean protein such as fish or chicken
- Afternoon snack: A handful of almonds
- Dinner: A piece of fish and plenty of vegetables
5) Restart your food journal. When I feel like I’m out of control I start writing everything down. There’s nothing like documenting everything I eat and drink to make me more mindful of my choices. MyPlate at Livestrong.com is a great tool for this.