Parties, holidays, birthdays, bad days—sometimes a binge happens. Even to people who know the dangers so well, like LeeAnn Kindness, Jeff Chiarelli and Deanna Otranto from the Nutrisystem team of nutritionists and weight loss pros. We asked them to tell us about their smartest strategies for getting back on track after a bout of unhealthy binge eating.
Here’s what nutrition experts do after they give in to a binge… and why:
1. Forgive and forget.
“Know that you’re not perfect. Striving for perfection can sabotage your goals,” LeeAnn says. “One meal or one day won’t ruin your chances of achieving your healthy lifestyle. Get right back on track with your next meal and be proud of yourself for that!”
2. Consider why.
Binge eating may be triggered by special occasions, stress or other reasons, but your daily choices can help reduce the chances they will occur. “Did you skip any meals?,” Jeff asks. “Did you drink enough water? Did you eat enough veggies?” When you’re following your Nutrisystem weight loss plan, eating good food frequently, and staying well-hydrated, you feel satisfied, so you’re less likely to overdo it even when the temptation is hard to resist.
3. Get moving.
“Lacing up and going for a stroll will not only clear you mind and get you moving, but it will aid in digestion to get you through the post-binge bloat,” LeeAnn suggests. Even better, physical activity stokes your metabolism, so you start burning off those extra calories right away. “Just remember not to try to compensate for your binge all in one exercise session,” Deanna cautions. “You’re likely to end up so sore you won’t be able to hit the gym again tomorrow or, worse, you’ll hurt yourself” and be unable to exercise for even longer.
4. Drink up.
After binge eating, “be strict with your fluid intake. Hydrating will aid in digestion, naturally rid your body of excess sodium and curb hunger,” LeeAnn explains. “Plus, drinking enough water can be an easy and rewarding goal to focus on instead of post-binge guilt.” Try for the daily goal of at least 64 ounces of water, unsweetened tea or plain seltzer. You can also add fresh fruit and herbs to your glass to add some extra flavor. Get more tips for drinking more water!
5. Go green, yellow, orange and red.
Fiber helps all the food you’ve eaten move smoothly through your digestive tract and keeps you feeling full long after you’re done. Non-starchy vegetables are loaded with fiber, high in nutrients and unlimited on your Nutrisystem plan. “At your next meal, go a little overboard with the spinach, cucumbers or peppers,” Kindness urges.
6. Keep tracking.
Logging what you eat, drink and do each day increases your chances of losing weight, according to a study by Kaiser Permanente, the healthcare company. The NuMi app, free to download, makes it easy to track your daily food intake and activity. “Tracking your meals with NuMi is a great way to hold yourself accountable for all of your meal-time decisions,” Otranto says. Record your binge and then the healthy choices you make after it and you’ll see and be motivated by all that you’re doing to make progress toward your goal.
7. Begin again today.
“When you first started on this journey, you didn’t try to compensate for a lifetime of bad eating—you just started,” Otranto reminds us. “Pretend today is the very first day of your new healthy lifestyle and put the past behind you.”