We’ve all been there. The weekend, holiday, or night out with friends comes and goes and leaves you feeling overfull, bloated, and lethargic. Even if you wouldn’t take it back, because it was totally worth it, you probably feel like you’ll do anything to get your normal energy and zest back stat. What can you do to recover and get back to normal after overdoing it?
There are three routes that you can follow: recovery through food, recovery through movement, and recovery through sleep. If you can do a little bit of each, that will be the best course of action, but I always advocate for doing what you can based on your current circumstance. Any action is better than no action!
Recovery through food:
Focus on nutrient-dense foods. I know you’re thinking, “but I just told you I ate too much last night, shouldn’t I cut out a meal today to make up for it?” Extreme restriction after a calorie surplus is not a great option. It can lead to overeating again to compensate for the lack of calories during your self-imposed “cut”. Instead, wait until you feel hungry again and eat a normal or slightly smaller balanced meal with whole ingredients. When I say whole ingredients, I mean minimally processed foods like veggies, lean protein, and a healthy fat (avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc.). Eat slowly and listen to your body so that you can stop when you’re satisfied. Since you did eat and/or drink a calorie surplus the day/meal before, you might not need as many calories in your first meal back on track. Listen to your satiety cues to help you figure out how much you need! The main key is to eat something nutritious when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.
Recovery through movement:
There’s no need to punish yourself by suffering through a soul-crushing workout to burn all of the excess calories from the day before. Instead, choose a workout that will leave you feeling strong and confident. There’s nothing wrong with getting your sweat on after over-indulging, but I challenge you to consider your motivations. Are you choosing a certain workout because you’re trying to burn as many calories as possible, or are you choosing a challenging workout because you love the feeling you get afterwards? Your body deserves movement and you will be rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment after a good movement sesh!
Recovery through sleep:
Often times, when we experience a fun night out or holidays with our loved ones, it means we’ve likely had some sleep deprivation. Your body needs that precious sleep to recover and function well, so prioritizing sleep for the next week is the perfect way to take care of yourself. Set a bedtime that will allow you 7-8+ hours of sleep and stick to it! Getting back into your normal sleep routine will help you regain your energy in no time. In addition to helping you feel better, sleep will also regulate your hormones, like those that control your hunger response. You’ll find that you have fewer cravings and can be more in tune with your hunger/satiety levels when you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to getting back to normal after over-indulging, but these three approaches will help you get back on track no matter where you’re starting out. Consider your current circumstance and pick the path (or paths if you want to try more than one!) that fits your needs. Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time, and you’ll be feeling back to your normal awesome self before you know it!