Diana Kelly Levey

What To Do When You Overeat

August 1, 2017 | Categories:

Whether it’s the Monday after an indulgent summer holiday weekend, or you’re feeling guilty about December splurges in January, many of us have been there before, thinking: Ugh! I blew my diet. Now what?

Before you decide to bury your troubles in a plate of cookies and resort to a lifetime of drawstring pants, use our simple 3-day action plan to undo the calorie damage and make a fresh start. We tell you what to eat, when to eat, how to bump up calorie burn—and give you the motivational tools you need to get back on track fast.

Erase the damage with this plan.

Day 1: 7 am

Like many women, you may have woken up feeling fat, bloated, and mad at yourself for overdoing it while celebrating the holidays.

What to do: Stop beating yourself up. “The first thing I tell people is not to be your own worst enemy, not to be super critical,” says clinical psychologist Nancy Molitor, PhD, public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association. “When you turn on yourself, it’s not the food, it’s you that you’re battling. Admit you overdid it and be honest, but recognize that you’re human.”

Positive mantra: Yesterday was a challenging day. I can make a fresh start today.

Day 1: 8 am

Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast because that could set you up for overeating later in the day, says Andrea Spivack, RD, LDN, medical nutrition therapist at the Stunkard Weight Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

What to do: Fix a healthy morning meal. A filling, well-balanced breakfast like this one has only 400 calories:

  • Pour 1 c Kashi Go-Lean cereal into a bowl.
  • Top with 1 c blueberries (frozen is just as good as fresh).
  • Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp walnuts.
  • Add 1 c low-fat or fat-free milk.
Day 1: 9:30 am

Now that your day is underway, you may be telling yourself, I need to drop a few pounds so I’ll watch what I eat this week. But a general wish isn’t likely to give you the results you desire. Molitor recommends setting a reasonable, concrete goal and creating a plan that will help you reach it. Be sure to write down your goals—it’ll make you more likely to commit to them.

What to do: Aim to lose 1 pound in the next week. To do that, you’ll have to reduce your daily calorie intake by 200 to 300 calories and burn off 200 to 300 calories a day for an average weekly deficit of 3,500 calories, says David B. Sarwer, PhD, clinical psychologist and director of the Stunkard Weight Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. If you usually exercise 3 days a week, add an extra day. If you’re not a regular exerciser, then try to walk for at least 5 minutes, 3 times a day to start—it’s okay to start small; any little movement adds up to calories burned.

Positive mantra: I’ll take this one day at a time.

Day 1: Noon

Eat a lunch like this one that’s packed with feel-full veggies and satisfying protein.

Mediterranean Wrap

  • 1 lg whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp garlic-flavored hummus
  • 1/4 c roasted red pepper strips
  • 4 slices roast turkey breast (or low-sodium deli turkey)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 c lettuce

Place the tortilla flat on large cutting board. Spoon hummus evenly over tortilla to within 1/2″ of edge. Lay peppers evenly over hummus. Layer on turkey slices. Sprinkle with mint. Layer on lettuce leaves. Fold in sides and then roll to form wrap. Cut diagonally in half. Serve immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Total calories: 323

Day 1: 1:30 pm

This is a good time to start logging your food calories in a journal or online diary.

What to do: Write down what you’re eating. Starting a food diary is a research-proven weight loss technique. If you’ve never kept a food journal before, try Prevention’s free My Health Tracker tool and start logging food calories and portions. If you have logged food calories before, start again to track what you’re eating and how much. Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says keeping a food diary helps you get back to being accountable. “It raises awareness and gets you focused on eating healthier foods.”

Positive mantra: I overate for a day or two and am getting back to my healthier habits.

Day 1: 3:30 pm

You might be feeling midafternoon hunger pangs and eyeing that leftover weekend fare in the fridge. Before you reach for an indulgence, take a deep breath and assess what your body needs.

What to do: Keep hunger under control. Drink a glass of water and wait about 10 minutes to determine if you are truly hungry. It’s easy to mistake hunger for thirst, notes Dee Sandquist, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. If you are still hungry, have a small snack. Research has shown that eating regular meals or snacks every 3 to 4 hours can keep you from overeating.

Graham cracker snack

  • 3/4 c grapes
  • 2 graham cracker squares
  • 8 oz water

Total calories: 137

Day 1: 6:30 pm

A healthy dinner doesn’t mean you have to slave in the kitchen for hours. This easy recipe is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Personal Pizza

  • Top 1 toasted whole wheat pita with 1/2 c chopped tomatoes, 1/4 c shredded part-skim mozzarella, 1/2 c grilled chicken breast, and 1/4 c chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with minced garlic and oregano.
  • Place under oven broiler until bubbly.

Total calories: 396

Day 1: 7 pm

If you didn’t get any exercise today, go for a 10-minute walk after dinner. Walking after eating can help relieve belly bloat.

Day 1: 10 pm

This can be a dangerous time for late-night snackers who reach for food out of boredom, emotion, or exhaustion. You can avoid the temptation altogether by brushing your teeth and hitting the sack!

What to do: Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to get back on track after overeating, says Sandquist. Research shows there are links between inadequate sleep and obesity. A study from Case Western Reserve University of about 68,000 middle-age women found that those who slept 5 or fewer hours were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain, and 15% more likely to become obese, than those who slept an average of 7 hours.

Positive mantra: I’m committing to taking care of myself and my healthI’m worth it!

This can be a dangerous time for late-night snackers who reach for food out of boredom, emotion, or exhaustion. You can avoid the temptation altogether by brushing your teeth and hitting the sack!

What to do: Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to get back on track after overeating, says Sandquist. Research shows there are links between inadequate sleep and obesity. A study from Case Western Reserve University of about 68,000 middle-age women found that those who slept 5 or fewer hours were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain, and 15% more likely to become obese, than those who slept an average of 7 hours.

Positive mantra: I’m committing to taking care of myself and my healthI’m worth it!

Read the full article on Prevention.com.

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