How many of you suffered from a “hangover” due to the food coma you endured after your Easter or Passover meal? I announced to my class Monday morning that I felt like the Goodyear Blimp, all blown up from my overindulgence in salt, sugar and fat. The night before, lying in bed, I asked myself, “Why did you do this, knowing what the result would be? Did you really think that second helping of ham was a good idea or that potatoes au gratin was a wise choice for a side dish?” Realizing I couldn’t undo the damage that was done, I stopped beating myself up and tried (and tried, and tried) to fall asleep.
I’ve written about holidays before and have even given suggestions as to how we can go into a holiday with the tools to make healthy eating choices. Do we always follow our own advice? Of course not! Why do you think there’s the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do?” We know what’s right and can verbalize it, but don’t always make good choices. It’s part of life. So, now what?
After feasting on those foods that we would normally not allow past our lips and chastising ourselves for giving into the pressure of that kind of deliciousness, what do we do? I can honestly tell you that these are the hardest times for me to get back on track. After holidays, cheat meals (or weekends), I find it extremely difficult to get back to my generally disciplined eating habits. In order to find my way back, here are some things I keep in mind:
- Eat, eat, eat! Many of us think that as a result of poor eating habits or overindulgence that we should cut a bunch of calories and eat less for a few days to make up for it. Not true. Make sure you’re eating those 5 small meals and be sure they include good sources of protein (which keeps you satisfied for longer periods and helps curb those cravings) and plenty of fruits and veggies (low in calories, high in fiber = feeling full without looking the part).
- Avoid salt. Holiday meals, binge meals and cheat meals are all full of salt. The reason I felt blimp-like after my most recent splurge was for this reason, alone. Easter ham = tons of salt = bloating. UGH! Try to flavor your meals in other ways, avoiding salt, altogether. Fresh spices and herbs are a wonderful way to add flavor without using that salt shaker.
- Drink lots of water. Hmmm… I feel like I have heard this somewhere before. The importance of hydration? Yep, I can’t say this one enough. “Cheats” are very good at causing dehydration. It can help flush your system of all the “uglies” you enjoyed, it obviously keeps you hydrated and can also help curb your cravings. Hungry before it’s time for your next meal? Grab a tall glass and fill ‘er up.
- Get in a workout! Whatever you can muster up is fine the day after your splurge. Don’t try to overdo it, as sometimes just getting into the gym or out for a walk is a big deal. I always feel like going all out the day after a holiday is going to make it all go away. Sometimes I feel better and sometimes I feel worse, it just depends. Whatever you do, don’t skip out. Tell your body that whatever happens, you’re not going to allow it to rest, just because it wants to take the day off to recover from the food coma.
- Keep your chin up! We all make the mistake of getting down on ourselves, at times. Some of us more often than others? I always beat myself up after eating a meal like I did on Easter Sunday. Why? What is that going to do for me? Make me feel worse than I already do? Exactly! So, again, I ask, what’s the point? In my situation, specifically, I know what I did wrong and I knew those things going in AND I still chose to eat in an unhealthy manner. Is it going to hurt me in the long run? Probably not, if I don’t make it a regular part of my lifestyle. So, NO BIGGIE! Close the book on that chapter on go on to the next, knowing that there will probably be obstacles, no matter what. Did I enjoy the meal while I was eating it? Maybe that’s all that matters.
A little belated (and bloated), I hope you all had a lovely Easter/Passover holiday. If you don’t celebrate either, I hope you enjoyed a little spring break time. Excuse me while I go grab a big glass of water, as it’s not time for my 3rd meal of the day.
Carri Nelsen of Gold’s Gym in Shrewsbury.
Got questions for Carri? E-mail them to blogs@TheZoneMag.com.