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Diet Solutions

Have a question about diets like the Mediterranean diet, South Beach Diet, or Zone Diet? Would you like to learn more about creating a low-sodium, diabetes, or gluten-free diet? You've come to the right place!

How to Get Back on Track After Overeating

You can get back on track after overeating, whether it following the holidays, a birthday, or after a stressful day. Use these helpful tips from our dietitians to reset your healthy eating habits.


There is good news and there is bad news...

Let's first get the bad news out of the way. The recent holidays (or any time of year) may have seen you go a little overboard on some less than healthy foods. Whether it's tender turkey and ham, fluffy mashed potatoes, sweet pies, cookies, or candy, odds are you've recently consumed some type of food in large amounts. The good news is that this is nothing to be ashamed of, and you can absolutely get back on track!

We all know that feeling of, "Oh, I definitely ate too much!" and it does not always sit well (in the tummy or our conscience). Guilt then floods in not much later and, "I'm starting a diet tomorrow!" follows.

'Tomorrows' often come along with three cookies for breakfast and the thought of, "Oh well, I already ruined my diet so these cookies can't hurt anything." Breaking that mentality is critical. Fortunately, though, there is good news! You can get back on track after overeating, whether it following the holidays, a birthday, or after a stressful day.

How to Reset After Overeating

Forgive Yourself

Before jumping into a game plan, forgive yourself. Negative and harsh feelings following indulgences can in turn lead to emotional and binge eating. Let's face it, we are all human and consuming platefuls of Thanksgiving dinner is bound to happen when the holiday meal tastes so good. Realize and accept binges can, do, and will occur and the most important thing you can do for yourself is move forward.

Conquer Those Uncomfortable Overeating Symptoms

After you have forgiven yourself, take care of the uncomfortable symptoms following a binge. All of the food more than likely causes sleepiness and the gastrointestinal (GI) or digestive tract to go haywire. Instead of grabbing a pillow and a blanket, partake in light activity such as a walk or slow jog. Light activity along with drinking water can help the digestive tract move things right along.

Own the Day After

Although food may be the last thing on your mind after a binge, start the day with a well-balanced breakfast. Starting the day on the right food can help pave the way to healthier choices. When it comes to breakfast, skip out on the sugary cereals and reach for protein and fiber. A protein-packed breakfast will keep the stomach full, satisfied, and prevent overeating. A breakfast burrito filled with eggs, peppers, and spinach; a Greek yogurt parfait layered with vibrant berries; and oatmeal packed with fruits, nuts, and seeds are just a few ideas to get the day rolling.

Meal Preparation and Planning

Although meal prepping and planning can take a little effort, putting in the time to do so can be key in getting back on track. Plan and prepare meals on the least busy day, oftentimes dedicated to a Sunday. Think of a few meals that you would enjoy taking to work that week or the family would like to see on the dinner table. A few simple ideas could include ground turkey for tacos, chicken and veggies cooking in the crockpot, and a ready-prepared veggie-filled meatloaf to stick in the oven.

Appreciate and Love Food Again

Food literally is life; it keeps the body functioning, sustaining, and living. Instead of looking to food as the "bad guy, start to appreciate what each food is capable of. Although a bowl of ice cream is filled with sugar and fat, the dairy it contains provides calcium, a key mineral in bone health. Start appreciating the wide variety of foods and the way each is grown. Utilizing farmers' markets is a great way to grow food appreciation. Chat with farmers and vendors to learn how the vibrant produce was grown, what the beef was fed, and how supporting local can provide the body and community with benefits.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on January 27, 2016. Updated on February 19, 2016.


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