What To Do (And Not Do) After Overeating

We are smack in the middle of holiday season. Hanukkah had come to an end. Christmas is in a little over 2 weeks and then come the New Years Eve celebrations. If you have been celebrating with friends and family you may be waking up on a Monday mornings feeling like you overate over the weekend and don’t know what to do. Here are some tips on what do and what not to do after overeating!

First, we need to ditch the guilt, shame, or any attempt to compensate for the food  we ate. The holidays are full of delicious food, dinners with family and friends AND can be a time of high emotions. This combination can lead to overeating.

At the same time the media is full of diets and cleanses promoting the next fad and restrictive diet for you to start in the new year. They are preying on your emotions- don’t let them get to you!

But holidays and big meals where we feel like we overate happen all year long. So let’s learn what to do and what not to do so we can accept this happens and move on without beating ourselves up for it. If you find yourself overeating daily or very often this may be a red flag that you are eating emotionally and in addition to working with a dietitian a licensed therapist can help you learn the tools to cope and stop any binging habits.

Life and food are meant to be enjoyed. And many times during the holiday we eat meals that have sentimental value bringing up happy memories of your childhood and friends and family who are no longer with us. So ditch the messages from media telling you you’re weak, need more willpower, and that you need to buy their supplements, cleanses or food to undo all the “bad” eating.

balanced meal

Things to do when you overeat

Get over it- Don’t let this add any more stress or guilt to your life! We’re all stressed enough as is. Food should be enjoyed! Especially this time of year when this bigger meals are with family and friends that we don’t get to spend as much time with during the year. And may not have seen very much over the past two years!

Eat a balanced diet- The day before, the day of, and the day after. Go back to eating a regular balanced and consistent diet. If you’re not sure how to do this contact me here!

Your body still needs and deserves nourishment – One day of overeating doesn’t mean that the next day your body doesn’t deserve to be fueled with the nourishment it needs! Your body deserves it and quite frankly needs it! And don’t forget hydration! Your meal was likely high in sodium, replenish with lots of water!

Be aware of marketing by diet companies- They are on the prowl this time of year. They have done their market research and know you have been overeating and not feeling your best. That emotions have gotten the best of you and they are ready to take advantage of that. Promising fast, unrealistic and unhealthy results often for a hefty price tag.

Understand that occasionally eating beyond the point of fullness is normal- Unless this is a daily thing, it’s completely normal! If you find yourself doing this daily, as I mentioned above this is a sign you should seek out not only a registered dietitian but a licensed clinician who can work with you on building the tools you need to repair your relationship with food.

Focus on how much you enjoyed your meal- The smells, taste, company and memories! These are times you will never forget. After being forced to spend so many holidays away from our loved ones, soak it in! Eat the Feast of Seven Fish Christmas Eve dinner that reminds you of your Mimi- I know I will!

juice cleanse

Things NOT to do when you overeat

Talk about it: Now is not the time to talk about how much you’ve overeaten and how fat you feel. The more you talk about it the more you’re going to feel guilty about it. Also, saying this to friends can actually be harmful and trigger them as well. You will leave the conversation feeling bad about yourself when you did nothing wrong! Flip the negative talk into something more positive. Try telling yourself something like this “I am proud of my body. I am healthy and strong. Not only did I enjoy the food I ate this weekend but I enjoyed the company I was with. There is nothing wrong with that and I do not need to feel guilty or bad about it.”

Exercise for hours trying to burn off the food- This turns exercise into a punishment. All forms of exercise whether they are vigorous or more moderate should be enjoyable. You are making yourself stronger, not punishing yourself! And you’re probably not burning as many calories as you think. This perpetuates the thinking that eating is a punishable offense  So there is no reason to create a toxic relationship with exercise.

Have an “all or nothing” mindset- I feel like I have said this 1 million times. ALL FOODS FIT. Now you don’t eat all the foods all day long. Because then you would feel like crap. But when you ditch that all or nothing mentality where you need to eat a “perfect” diet all the time and if you mess up than you might as well just eat everything in sight and start over on Monday. When you eat with an all foods fit approach you know that after overeating is not a big deal, next meal you just go back to your regularly scheduled programing of balanced meals that include enjoyment foods too!

Look for a diet to “cleanse” or “kickstart” your healthier eating habits- We see the ads in media everywhere! Even the diets that try to disguise themselves as not being a diet (I’m talking to you Noom). If the diet has you counting everything, measuring out portions with measuring cups and scales, or drinking liquid juices only this is not safe and completely unnecessary. Look down, do you have a liver and kidneys? Yes? Ok cool, your body is set to cleanse itself, just like a self-cleaning oven.

Starve yourself as punishment- Same as trying to exercise the calories away, your body doesn’t work this way. And you are again creating a toxic relationship with food. Overeating happens and this is not the time to starve yourself before the meal to “save” the calories or afterwards to “make up for” the calories. Your body and metabolism do not work that way! Plus this starts the cycle of starving and then binging because you’re so hungry. You will end up eating more if you starve yourself before a meal than if you eat a balanced meal leading up to it. “Banking” calories is not a thing and does not work!

What to eat during the busy holiday season

Eat a balanced diet- Protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber and color! Keep your plate colorful. Eat the carbs (your brain will thank you!) and add in the tasty healthy fats. A balanced diet that includes adding in the enjoyment foods when you really want them decreases cravings and increases satiety leaving you feeling energized and your best self!

Don’t save up your calories before the meal or starve yourself after the meal- have we beat this one to death yet? This only leads to overeating at the meals and GI discomfort afterwards. Remember, this is the holiday season so there are more events packed into this 3 month time. But really, holidays occur all year long. So knowing how to manage the holiday and days after is important.

Moral of the story

Enjoy the holidays and all the food that comes along with it. If you are struggling with your relationship with food all year long, let’s chat! Creating a balanced and consistent diet that you can maintain for your lifetime (not those short-term fad diets) will help you rebound quickly and guild free from those days or weekends we overeat. Contact me here to chat some more!

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