Getting Back on Track After Overindulgence

Vacations, holidays, celebrations that seem to last all weekend, or simply blowing out the weekend with excessive alcohol; these all seem to be excuses for overindulgence in food and drink. They can become potholes in the road to success in fitness and nutrition goals. If we constantly use the excuse, I’ll start back tomorrow, then we probably need to re-evaluate our motivation for real change. This doesn’t mean that a healthy lifestyle should have an all or nothing approach; we just can’t rationalize away every temptation and expect positive results to happen.

Here are a few tips to boost metabolism and aid with portion control:

First, hydrate first thing in the morning and keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. Carbonated water is fine, but avoid the artificial sweeteners as much as possible.

Alcohol calories can add up quickly. Don’t drink on an empty stomach or after a workout; it will have a larger impact on blood sugar drops and depletion of nutrients.  Choose a glass of wine over a mixed drink as it typically is consumed more slowly and has less calories. The more congeners in a beverage, the more likely the risk of hangover; so stick with clear liquids such as vodka over dark whiskeys or run.

Restaurants can easily add an extra 500-1,000 extra calories if we don’t look at menus carefully. Don’t hesitate to ask how an item is prepared or request a lower fat option (leave off butter sauce, dressing on the side, dry broil fish or grill steak).

Sometimes a couple small plates or appetizers with a salad is a healthier alternative.

Fresh seafood can be an omega-3 rich, low saturated fat choice IF it’s not fried or basted in butter. 15 oysters have the protein equivalent of a 6 oz. steak and less than 200 calories.

Buffet restaurants almost beg us to overeat. Studies have shown that the first food choice on a buffet can trigger the type of calories that our brain will crave the most. If we start with a decadent, rich pasta dish first, we tend to eat more empty carbs in that meal. If we start the meal with a healthy salad or vegetable appetizer, we will have better portion control and crave less empty carbs, including dessert.

What to do after overindulgence:

Sometimes we still find ourselves having made poorer choices than we would have liked to. How do you get back on track?

Don’t beat yourself up! We all overindulge at times and it’s an opportunity to reprioritize your goal and your road to getting there. And, remember, it takes an extra 3,500 calories to equal one pound of body fat.

Don’t try to make it all up the next day.  Don’t skip meals or exercise for 4 hours straight trying to burn off what you consumed. This will just make your body feel worse. Come up with a plan to get back on track or return to your already developed eating plan. Do your normal exercise routine.

Do Hydrate. Particularly if your overindulgence consisted of many alcohol calories, make sure you hydrate well.  

Do Get Back on Track Quickly. Don’t let one overindulgence be your excuse to overindulge for the rest of the day, or the weekend or the week long vacation. Recognize you’ve gotten off course and correct it quickly.

The key is to not let a poor choice become many poor choices and to get back to your plan quickly!  Our nutritionists are always happy to help you develop a better eating plan.

Article contributed to by Nutritionist Donna Wheeler.

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