You know the feeling: weekends roll around, you get into relaxation mode and next thing you know your mindful eating habits have flown out the window. With Friday happy hours, dinners out, Sunday brunch…it happens! Instead of beating yourself up about it, follow these six steps.
Step 1: Practice Forgiveness
It is not a crime to indulge, trust me we’ve (ahem, I’ve) all been there. Stop beating yourself up and dwelling on the binge, this just leads you down more of a negative path making it harder to move forward. Overindulging once in awhile won’t do much long-lasting damage. So accept what happened, and move on. You’ve still got this.
Step 2: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
I know it sounds counterintuitive to fill your belly with fluid when you’re already bloated and puffy, but water helps speed up digestion and counteracts the effect of salt and carb-induced bloating. Plus being well-hydrated will ensure that you don’t mistake thirst for hunger. Choose plain water, tea or seltzer and aim for 8-10 glasses throughout the day.
Step 3: Get Moving
Resist the urge to curl up in the fetal position and lace up your gym shoes instead. Light exercise like walking, jogging or yoga helps to carry oxygen to your digestive tract, meaning food move through you faster. Plus it will give you a boost of energy and make you feel less “blah”.
Step 4: Don’t Starve Yourself
While your next meal may be the last thing on your mind, don’t deprive yourself just because you overate the day before. Start the day with a balanced breakfast with a mix of protein, fiber and healthy fat to aid digestion and help balance out your blood sugar. Try two eggs scrambled with veggies and a slice of whole grain toast. Pay attention to your hunger throughout the day, and don’t skip a meal thinking you’ll save calories. This is guaranteed to backfire, setting you up for more binging later on.
Step 5: Fill up on Fiber & Protein
When’s the last time you’ve overeaten carrots or broccoli? Exactly. Foods high in protein and fiber offer the most bang-for-your-buck, filling you up without that dreaded “stuffed” feeling. At lunch and dinner make half your plate veggies then add lean protein, like chicken or fish, and a serving of carbs.
Step 6: Watch the Alcohol, Salt and Sugar
Extra salt, sugar and alcohol can dehydrate your body, slowing down digestion and making you feel worse. Plus salt and refined carbs (think: bagels and pasta) may sound tempting when you’re feeling gross, but these water-attracting nutrients will just make your bloating worse.
At the end of the day, we’re all human and we are all going to have moments of overindulging. The bloating you experience is temporary and with a few simple strategies you can feel like yourself again