When the temperature is above 90 degrees outside and you’re feeling stressed out, it makes ice cream seem like the ideal diet for three straight days. But after doing that, you may be feeling a twinge or two of remorse. Whether weight loss is your goal or mindful nutrition is your aim, binge eating after stress or dieting can easily derail motivation. Let go of the guilt. Cut yourself some slack, and get back on track with healthy eating. We’ve compiled 6 easy-to-implement tips to help you recover from a binge.
Go to bed early
Here’s a sleep trick to try after a day of bingeing. Get to bed a little before you normally do. An earlier bedtime could make sure you get the hours of sleep you need. Waking refreshed will give you a head start on regaining balance to get your eating and digestion back on track.
Even when you’re not recovering from a binge day, studies show that you are likely to eat more when you are missing out on sleep. Getting enough sleep helps regulate hormones that can influence weight gain. The need for sleep varies widely, but experts say most of us generally need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Start the day after your binge with a healthy breakfast. High-protein, high-fiber foods are great weapons in your fight against cravings. Skip the high-carb breakfast and pair a protein with fruits, veggies, legumes, or whole grains for a meal that will help control your appetite. A good night’s sleep and the right kind of breakfast are a super combo to give you a fresh start.
Take a morning-after walk
Follow up that good night’s sleep and healthy breakfast with one or two turns around the block to kick-start your day of feeling better. Binge eating is often a signal that you’re anxious or depressed and you’re looking for a way to feel better. Going for a walk is a quick fix to lifting your mood. Walking will also help empty your stomach and burn excess calories.
The down-in-the-dumps feeling that may prompt binge eating could also discourage you from exercising. If you have a regular exercise routine, make an effort to resume your workout. Now is a good time to draw up a plan if you don’t make exercise a regular part of your life. Try something new such as yoga, which experts say can reduce anxiety, depression and stress.
Exercise does more than burn calories and help you get in shape. Physical activity can help distract you from emotional eating. A workout can regulate the hormones that influence hunger and cravings. Exercise is another guardrail against binge eating in the future.
Drink more water
Pay attention to hydration the day after you stop binge eating. Scientists say we often mistake thirst for hunger. Staying hydrated can help you cut calories and lose weight.
A study of 24 older adults found those who drank 17 ounces of water before a meal ate 13% fewer calories, while another study found that drinking an additional 17 ounces of water each day (combined with a low-calorie diet), boosted weight loss by 44% compared to only eating a low-calorie diet. Drinking water can temporarily increase metabolism to burn off extra calories.
Return to mindful eating
Mindful eating curbs emotional eating as well as binge eating. Get back on track after a binge by filling up on vegetables that are high in fiber. Fiber makes you feel full and may help promote weight loss.
Don’t skip meals, that will only make you more likely to overeat at your next meal. Instead of punishing your body, listen to it. Nutritionists say eating regularly may be associated with less binge eating.
Eat more protein
Increasing your protein intake can also influence hunger hormones, promote feelings of fullness, and cut your calorie intake. Protein is a healthy, slow-burning energy source that will moderate cravings and improve your mental function.