8 Ways Nutritionists Bounce Back After a BingeArticle posted in: Nutrition
Ignorance is definitely bliss when it comes to food. For example, if you don’t know there are over 1000 calories and loads of fat in ONE slice of Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake, it’s easy to enjoy every morsel. Nutritionists, however, know that singular slice of cheesecake accounts for nearly 75 percent of the average person’s daily caloric intake. And even if nutritionists don’t know the particulars of a certain food, they know to ask for nutrition facts before eating or recommending it. Nutritionists also know that an occasional binge is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get right back on track.
It takes years of training and education to learn what constitutes a balanced diet and how one can achieve a lifetime of optimal health from the foods they eat. Yet even nutritionists get off track and overindulge. It’s happened to Registered Dietitian Courtney McCormick. How does she bounce back from a binge?
Check out eight easy ways nutritionists bounce back from a binge:
1. Forgive Yourself.
What shouldn’t you do after a binge? Feel guilty. “It happens to all of us,” says McCormick. “If you find yourself overindulging a bit too much, don’t beat yourself up over it,” she says. Recognize your mistake and tell yourself things will be different at the next meal or special occasion. When that occasion arises, ask a friend or loved one to help hold you accountable.
2. Really Consider Your Eating Habits.
Did you have too many glasses of wine at last night’s party? Maybe you ate half the cheese ball at the office potluck? If you can pinpoint several recent setbacks, it’s essential to take a step back and rethink your eating behavior as a whole, says McCormick. Writing down what you eat—whether in your phone or in a notebook—can really help put this into perspective. “The way to get back on track is to make healthier choices in the types and amounts of foods we eat,” she says.
3. Have a Happy Holiday.
Think about how many holiday parties you attend in December. Or how many days you’ll eat leftovers after Thanksgiving. Rather than indulging at each and every meal, McCormick says she reserves indulgences for the actual holiday…like one piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, one glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve or one piece of cake on your birthday. “I also make sure I include lots of vegetables and salads so I can fill up on healthier options,” she says. If she knows she’s going somewhere that may be limited in choices, she brings a healthy alternative.
4. Balance Is Best.
McCormick isn’t a sweets person. “My food weaknesses are salty, savory foods—like French fries,” she says. One of the most important lessons McCormick has learned is to not be too restrictive. If she really wants fries, she has them. “If I go out to eat I’ll get a small order of fries but I balance it out by having a large salad with a lean protein (like salmon) as my main meal,” she says.
5. Seek Out Alternatives.
“It helps to find alternatives that give me the same tastes I may be craving but are a bit healthier,” McCormick says. For example, instead of French fries, McCormick bakes her own sweet potato fries. If she wants something savory and salty, she roasts broccoli and cauliflower and prepares it with a bit of Parmesan cheese and some lemon zest. If you’re craving chocolate or something sweet, try eating a tablespoon of peanut butter or yogurt with cinnamon.
6. Keep Moving.
Don’t forget about exercise. You cannot burn off all the calories you consume in a binge with one workout. To maintain your current weight, you need to balance your calorie intake with calories burned. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. According to Healthline, to burn off a 350-calorie doughnut, for example, a 150-pound person would have to swim for 35 minutes, walk for 54 minutes or attend an hour-long yoga class. A 150-calorie cup of oatmeal can be burned off with less than a half hour of walking. Exercise whenever and as often as you can. “I try to take a walk with my family after special dinner,” says McCormick.
7. Plan Ahead.
You just left work. Your daughter has gymnastics; your son has soccer. You have a church meeting at seven, and dinner has to fit in there somewhere. It’s all too easy to go through the drive-thru and ruin your entire day of healthy eating with a double cheeseburger. “Have healthy options in your fridge and pantry that are already prepared and ready to eat,” says McCormick.” On Sundays, she does some weekly meal prep. Some casseroles can be completely made-ahead and baked the day of. Crock-pot meals can be assembled the night before and turned on before work.
8. Don’t Skip Meals.
You think: I don’t need breakfast or lunch…I had enough calories last night to fuel me through the day. You think: I’m really not that hungry; I’ll just wait to eat. The reality: Skipping meals contributes to cravings and increases your risk for overeating—again, according to an April 2014 study published in Eating Behavior. Eating on a consistent basis prevents hunger from dictating what and how much you eat. On the South Beach Diet, we recommend eating six times a day to stave off hunger and keep blood-sugar levels steady. Water (64 ounces a day!) also helps fill you up without filling you out.