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How to Recover from a Blown Day of Eating

Team Dalog / flickr

Despite the best intentions, we’ve all pigged out at the big game, birthday party, or wedding. Big deal. It’s how you bounce back that matters. Other “gurus” might lead you to believe that depriving yourself of glorious food for one day will set you up for a leaner body for life. Wrong.

If you follow sound nutrition strategies 80 percent of the time, you can perform at a high level, look and feel great, and still enjoy feasts on special occasions. But if you want to snack on celery while others gorge, that’s cool with us too. It’s your choice how to approach these all-day eating events.

But whatever you decide, use the right strategies:

1. The Super Strict Strategy

You adhere to your healthy eating habits completely because you know that even a mere slip off the wagon will make you destined to fall off.

How to execute your game plan: Either bring your own food or fill your plate with the healthiest items at the party—usually the veggie tray, if there even is one. Another option: Fill up just beforehand with high-fiber, high-protein snacks and avoid the spread entirely.

2. The Balancing Act

You balance out some healthier choices with your favorite (and not-so-good-for-you) food and beverages.

How to execute your game plan: Aim to keep your plate filled with about ½ to ¾ health food at all times. Always fill up on the healthy items first, and then nibble on the junk you’re craving. You can also offer to bring some healthier twists on traditional items, such as baked chips and salsa, veggies and low fat dressing or hummus, fruit with yogurt dip, and mini sandwiches or wraps.

3. The Really Good Time

So you’ve decided to throw all caution to the wind, eat and drink whatever you want, and then mediate the food and beverage hangover the next day.

How to execute your game plan: We don’t have to tell you to eat whatever you like, and as much as you like. But mindset matters. Before you even go to the feast, plan out your meals for the rest of the week and go to the grocery store and stock your shelves with healthy food. Then go to the party and do not think about the calories, fat or any health-related quality of the food you’re eating. Enjoy every bite of what you eat and actually taste and chew your food, but do not inhale it. You may find with this newfound food freedom you may not go that overboard. Then again, if all goes as expected, do the following the day after:

  • Don't feel guilty for your indulgences.
  • Start your day off with water, green tea, a multi-vitamin, fish oil and a great breakfast.
  • Get in a workout. Any workout.
  • Jump right back into your 4-6 meals-a-day schedule of clean foods.
  • Get to bed by 10 p.m. and sleep for a good 8 hours.
  • By the next morning, you should be back to your old self and your outstanding habits

The most important thing to remember is not to let this hurrah derail your good habits. At the end of the day, it’s just one day—a mere .27 percent of the entire year—and it’s how you eat after your blown day of eating that matters most. With the right strategies, you’ll avoid a tailspin of poor eating and jolt your metabolism to start burning strong again.

About The Author

Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at EXOS. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.

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Tags: Eating Out, Snacks, Weekend, Dessert