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Five Tips for Getting Back on Track the Day After Overeating

How to Have a Healthy Day After an Extra Huge Holiday Meal.

1) Don't Skip Breakfast!

Many people think that skipping breakfast the day after overeating is a good way to “rebalance.” However, they are wrong. Skipping breakfast is actually counterproductive.

Why eat breakfast?
You definitely don't want to start a crazy cycle of overeating and under-eating. Research shows that people both eat healthier and perform better when they eat breakfast. You can have a lighter breakfast than usual if you wake up feeling stuffed, but don’t skip it altogether!

So what do you eat for breakfast?

Think fiber and higher water content food. Fresh fruits that have high water content (citrus fruits, melon, berries), vegetables of any kind, and whole grain cereals will give you the fiber you need to reboot your system. There are lots of healthy carbohydrates in whole grains and fruit, and those carbs will give you the energy you need the day after a huge feast.

2) Increase your fresh water consumption and, particularly in the morning, go for unsweetened green, black or white tea.

The caffeine in the tea will boost your energy and possibly bump up your metabolism. Avoid strong tea, which can dehydrate. Instead, go for tea that is weaker than usual. That way you will get a higher water to caffeine ratio. It is fine to add some mint or ginger for flavor. As long as you don’t go overboard (no more than 5 cups) and as long as you stop consuming caffeine after 2pm, tea can help your body re-energize after overeating the night before. Unlike tea consumption, drinking water is something you can not overdo, and it will help you stay hydrated. If you are not big on water, consider unsweetened herbal tea, which you can also consume in the evening. Staying well hydrated throughout the day will help you keep your energy up, and help you avoid confusing thirst for hunger! It is particularly wise to drink a glass of water before every meal, and at least one glass of water between meals.

3) It goes without saying, avoid junk food and general overeating the day after a huge over-the-top meal.

Eat three normal meals. Stay away from sweetened and salty foods, fried foods, white flour and other low fiber carbohydrates. Go heavy on fresh and steamed vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. You want to send a signal to both your body and your mind that you are now making healthy food choices. Stay away from leftovers that you know you should be avoiding. Lean turkey meat is fine. However, avoid leftover stuffing, pie, gravy and the like. Such actions will help you with the last thing on this list (tip #5) as well.

4) Whether you shop or not, make sure to get exercise the day after a big meal. Music can help!

4) Whether you shop or not, make sure to get exercise the day after a big meal. Music can help!

This is helpful for both physical and psychological reasons. You want to feel better. You also want to rev your metabolism and get your energy back. Don’t do more than your body feels comfortable with. If you normally hit the gym, hit the gym. If you are not a gym kind of person at least go for a walk, or if the weather is not to your liking, turn on some great music and dance in your living room. Music with a nice beat will both help you excercise longer and harder. It will also make whatever you are doing (be it inside or outside) more enjoyable. Fresh air, music and exercise, even minimal exercise, can all help improve your mood, increase your energy and send an internal signal that you are getting back on track. Exercise will also help with the final thing on this list, which is forgiving yourself!

4) Forgive yourself!

Most Americans overeat on Thanksgiving. If you were on a diet that you just went off, forgiving yourself will actually help you avoid turning a bad day into a bad week. If you beat yourself up, you may end up starting a downward spiral of punishment and overcompensating for feeling bad about beating yourself up. It is not a sin to overindulge once in a while. Just turn on the dance music and return to healthier habits as soon as you can. Forgiveness helps you to get back on track, at least until the next big holiday meal.