I LOVE holidays – the relaxed time with family and friends, and of course, the delicious food and drinks. Summer holidays like July 4 (which also happens to be my hubby’s birthday) and Memorial Day are perhaps the best (although I also love Thanksgiving!). There’s nothing like the smell of the grill going with burgers, ribs, chicken, and steak. And let’s not forget the cookies, brownies, pie and ice cream at the end! …and okay…I have been known to try one of everything!
But the next day, I always feel bloated like a puffer fish – full (of food and regret!), uncomfortable, swollen, and reaching for the loosest pants in the closet.
So it’s happened…now what can you do to get rid of the bloat? From my own personal experience, I know it’s always tempting to fast or skip meals the next day, but don’t! Your body needs the energy from food, and by skipping meals or fasting, you’re setting yourself up to binge eat by overindulging again and skipping meals again. That is not a good short- or long-term solution.
Here are some tips to help you say “Bye- eeeeeee” to the bloat in a healthy way:
1. Eat normally the next day and make your meals healthy and satisfying. So if your “normal” lunch is burgers and fries, don’t do that. Instead, eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner with healthy food choices high in protein, fruits and veggies.
2. Eat foods that hydrate, nourish and aid in digestion. This includes ginger, fresh lemon, Greek yogurt, bananas, asparagus, cucumbers, melon, kiwi, and avocado.
3. Exercise (but not for 4 hours!). You may be tempted to hit the gym extra hard and try to “burn it all off” or “make up for it.” You don’t need to do that. Instead, stick with your regular workout plan – don’t skip. Movement will not only help you digest what you’ve eaten, but it will also elevate your mood and increase your energy. If you don’t have a regular workout schedule, take a walk. Whatever you do, add some movement to your day.
4. Get rid of lingering temptations. If you hosted a get-together or brought home leftovers, now may be the time to clean the fridge and pantry of your biggest temptations. If you live with other people, it’s a little tricky if you toss their favorite chocolate chip cookies, but explain to them that you are trying to reclaim a healthy lifestyle (after the delicious and enjoyable debacle) and don’t feel strong enough to handle temptations in the house. If you have guilt about throwing away food, then give it to a neighbor or take those cookies to work. You’ll likely have some grateful colleagues.
5. Sip on water throughout the day, starting with a glass of warm lemon water in the morning. Typically, a good water consumption goal is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 lbs, then a good target goal is to drink 75 ounces a day minimally. If you drink little or no water now, then start with smaller goals that move you in the right direction, maybe aiming for 30 ounces a day for 2 weeks and then adding 5 ounces every week.
Bottom line of bloating from overeating: It happens, but it’s what you do after that matters. That full, swollen feeling is only temporary, so don’t throw in the towel and decide to make one somewhat unhealthy day or weekend turn into a week, a month, or a year. Learn how to enjoy yourself with occasional treats without beating yourself up or going through extremes. Get back on track!