You’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, trying to stick to a calorie total… but then you go wild and over-eat. Literally all of us have done this countless times. And it doesn’t have to trigger a disastrous slide into terrible long-term eating, or to a lesser extent another eating binge.
Here’s some tips for what to do in the moment after you’ve done it, and what to do the next day to mitigate what you did.
In the Moment, Right After You’ve Overeaten:
Usually you over-eat in relaxed situations, such as dinner at home, or at a family event. It’s tougher to over-eat at work or school, when you have to get back to work afterward, though admittedly it can happen.
No matter what, you want to immediately get up and go for a walk. Get outside, go down the hall, go wherever you can walk uninterrupted for several minutes. Walk for a while, at least 10-20 minutes, but take your time doing this. Spend as much time walking beyond that 10-20 minutes as is comfortable for you. If you find you can and want to walk for over an hour, great. But if you want to stop after 10-20 minutes, then you’re allowed to stop.
This has a limited effect in the moment, as you only burn about 100-150 calories per mile of walking, and it’s not likely you’ll walk more than a mile.
But going for an immediate walk will prime the body to burn the food in your stomach for immediate use, and for what limited recovery your body will need after the walk (obviously muscle damage from a walk is largely minimal). Less of that food gets stored as excess fat.
If you’re at home and you have a treadmill or an exercise bike, something on which you can be active in a relaxed setting, then get on it and get to it.
Whatever you do, avoid sitting down and relaxing until after you’ve at least gone on a walk.
The Next Day After Overeating:
If you finished yesterday with a massive calorie surplus after overeating, you don’t need to starve yourself or kill yourself with hardcore workouts.
There are several things you can do to mitigate and positively counteract the effect.
Start the day by downing a 16 ounce (or one pint) glass of water. Rehydrating the body will minimize blood viscocity and improve blood flow, which helps get your circulation and body back on track after the binge.
Intermittent Fast, If You Want To. If you practice intermittent fasting, and you aren’t already planning to fast that morning… then do an intermittent fast that morning. Eat your first meal at lunch. Drink water, and if desired plain tea or coffee, for breakfast. The extra fat burning and hormonal reset will help offset accumulated fat and get your body back on track.
Otherwise, Eat A Low Carb Breakfast. If you don’t practice intermittent fasting and weren’t already planning on starting today, then avoid it. Instead, eat a carb-free breakfast. Make sure the food you eat is purely fat and protein, e.g. meat and eggs. Your body will arise in more of a fat burning state after 8-12 hours of not eating, and eating just fat and protein will help keep you in that state for now. You can eat as you wish at lunch, but if eating breakfast then avoid carbs during breakfast.
Absolutely Work Out Today. Whether or not you ran or worked out yesterday, absolutely work out at some point today. Your body should be strong with topped-off energy stores, and the workout will help your circulation as well as fat burning. Get your cardio or lifting session in today no matter what. It may not burn every extra calorie, but it will get you a good portion of the way there.
Do Not Worry About Calories. Don’t worry about tightly regimenting your calories today. In fact, you will want your lunch to be a big one rich in quality protein. Don’t eat pizza or junky fast food, though if it must be processed then err on the side of something protein rich like chicken tenders or a dry burger. Your previously overloaded digestive tract combined with the sizable meal will likely feel satiated enough to mitigate any afternoon cravings. If you don’t feel hungry again before dinner, you will likely be back on track with your calorie count.
Eat Rice, Oats or Green Vegetables With One Meal. Make sure one meal today includes a large serving of rice, oats or green vegetables. Which meal you do so is up to you, and which item(s) you pick don’t make a huge difference.
The key is to get a sizable volume of soluble fiber rich food into your system. It will help clean out whatever excess your overeating left behind in your circulation and digestive tract. And notice I didn’t mention bread and similar grains.
Don’t Eat Any Bread Today. These foods, aside from their gluten presence and being processed, are insidious overeating-generators in their chemical makeup. They won’t help you. Avoid bread and similar grains.
Eat Clean, Unprocessed Food Today. Eat as much clean, unprocessed food as possible. If you can prepare every meal or eat food in its whole form, please do. Quite simply, processed food is chemically engineered to make you crave more food. This is how these companies make money. Whether or not you love it, make a point to eat as little of it as possible today.
Go For A Long Walk Today. At some point today, go on another walk, aside from any typical walking such as your commute or the walk you take to/from lunch. This extra walk is easy cardio that mostly burns fat, generates added blood circulation, and spurs additional fat burning afterward.
- Make sure this is a longer walk, at least 30 minutes or more.
- Find whatever place and time will allow you to take a 30+ minute walk.
- This is in addition to your workout, not in place of it. You still need to work out.
- For best results, make sure this walk is completely separate from your workout or any routine walking such as your commute or any work related activity. Triggering its effects separately provides a greater benefit than just using it to extend another existing exercise.
Turn Off The Lights Early Tonight. If you aren’t already great at getting to bed early, then shut everything down and get to bed early, within a couple hours of dinner.
Not only is extra sleep generally good for you, but ending the day abruptly after dinner reduces the likelihood of any incidental snacking that may risk overeating a 2nd straight day.
If you can do some or all of this, the chances of you overeating today are fairly minimal. Even if you fall off the wagon again tomorrow, this at least should balance out any damage from overeating the day before.