Diet 911: After You Overeat
What to do after you've blown your calorie budget.
Resume Sensible Eating
You may be tempted to compensate for the extra calories by skipping meals the next day. But skipping breakfast or lunch will only leave you hungry and at risk for pigging out later.
Salge Blake recommends cutting back throughout the day with a series of small meals packed with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables:
- Wait until you’re hungry. Then have a light breakfast such as a bowl of 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, or a whole-wheat pita pocket with lettuce and tuna or turkey
- Afternoon snack: A cup of vegetable soup and an orange
- Dinner: A piece of fish and plenty of vegetables
Skip the Scale
After a feast, your weight is bound to be inflated. That’s not because of an increase in body fat, but because of water retention brought on by the excess salt you likely ate.
Weighing yourself will only make you feel defeated. Salge Blake tells clients to weigh themselves on Fridays, when they’re likely to weigh their lowest.
Stick to Your Normal Exercise Routine
Compensating for the extra calories by over-exercising will leave you burned out or worse, Laquale says.
“If you overload and do more than your regular routine, you could strain a muscle, you could hurt a joint. So muscle soreness may set in. Then you can’t exercise,” she says. “So now we’re into your third day, and you’re tight all over and you’re still feeling down because you overate, so it creates a vicious cycle.”
Track What You Eat
Setting a caloric goal for the day and recording what you eat keeps you conscious of what you’re eating, Dollar says. There are many calorie-counting web sites and mobile applications to choose from, including WebMD’s Food & Fitness Planner.
The only way to win the game “is to be meticulous about your total calories for the week,” Dollar says. “If you don’t stay on top of things, you’ll slowly and subtly lose the battle. You have to be conscious every time your hand goes from a plate to your mouth.”