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5 Tips for times you realize you've gone too far into the cookie jar!

01.02.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LD; Washington Redskins Team Dietitian

Some of you may remember this famous phrase from the 1970’s CLIO Hall of Fame TV commercial for Alka- Seltzer.  It is a phrase that many of us have expressed this holiday season, even with our best efforts not to over indulge.  The following strategies will keep these moments of overeating in perspective!

5 tips for times you realize you’ve gone too far into the cookie jar:

Stop beating yourself up. The definition of normal eating includes the fact that at times we over eat.  The healthiest eaters I know occasionally find themselves over indulging.  Ellen Satter, an international authority on eating and feeding, explains that humans occasionally overeat and what is important is to realize our bodies will “make up” for our mistakes. ***

Journal what you could do differently to avoid a rerun. Whether overeating occasionally is normal or not, it doesn’t feel good and can become a habit.  This is where looking back at the situation and strategizing how you could have enjoyed your fare without the tummy ache is important to mastering the enjoyment of food without going overboard. 

Conduct a healthy cleanse. Avoid compensatory fasting, severely restricting or over the counter supplements.  Instead, make the rest of your day (and the following day) filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, high fiber whole grains and plenty of water.  This will flush your system and make you feel good-as-new within 24-48 hours. 

Move it!  One of the reasons you may feel bloated after overeating is the fact that your glycogen stores are at full capacity.  Not a bad thing except that with every gram of carbohydrate that is stored in your muscle, 3 grams of water goes with it, hence the bloated feeling.  Plan a vigorous walk, jog or take a cardio class at the gym the next day to give your body the opportunity to use some of this glycogen and in the process release some of the retained water. 

Keep it in perspective.  If you have the nerve to jump on a scale after such a feast, you may scream in horror at how high the numbers have jumped.  Don’t panic!  Most of the weight is water weight.  Holiday and restaurant fare is full of sodium, which encourages our body to retain water.  Remember that it take an extra 3,500 calories above and beyond what our bodies need to gain ONE pound of fat.  Chances are the 5 pounds you see the next morning on the scale is not an overindulgence of 17,500 the night before.  However, that same 17,500 calories distributed over the 6 weeks of the holiday season equals a measly 400 extra calories a day, very easy to rack up with a couple cookies a day. 

At the start of the New Year, I will be blogging a series of steps on losing holiday weight and keeping it off for a life time.  In the meantime, review my past blog on managing the holiday treats and if you find you have over-done-it, remember the tips above. 

I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and a New Year full of health and happiness!

Jane

*** The operative word here is “occasionally”.  If you find you overeat or binge on a regular basis, to the point that it is affecting your physical or mental wellbeing please visit: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/binge.htm

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