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Overindulgence. This is a word that you’re probably familiar with. Whether it’s the holiday season, you’re on vacation, or you’re celebrating an event, there are times when you’re more likely to eat more food and drink more alcohol than you normally do.
That means more calories. And consuming more calories than you burn can lead to weight gain and increased body fat.
You might be wondering – how do you get back on track after overeating and overdrinking?
Before we dive into the most effective strategies to mitigate your holiday weight gain, let’s do some myth-busting.
How Much Weight Do You Really Gain During The Holidays?
You might have heard that the average American gains 5 lbs or more during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. You’ll be relieved to know that this statement is a bit of an exaggeration.
A study of 195 adults found that the average holiday weight gain is closer to 0.8 – 1 lb during this 3 month period of celebration. Even though the majority of the participants put no effort into controlling their weight, large weight gains were not the norm.
While that doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, the problem is that most people don’t lose the holiday pounds, and this holiday weight increase tends to contribute to an average annual weight gain of at least 1 lb.
Gaining one pound per year can add up, and could explain the increased prevalence of obesity.
You Ate & Drank Too Much: Now What?
First, let’s get something straight – feeling guilty or punishing yourself for enjoying food and having drinks that aren’t a normal part of your diet is not productive. This negative self-talk does more harm than good, and is often associated with yo-yo exercising and dieting, poor self-image, and disordered eating.
Enjoying the holidays (or your vacation) isn’t going to derail your health and fitness goals, but talking negatively to and punishing yourself could.
At BuiltLean, we advocate making health and fitness a lifestyle. If you establish a solid foundation of balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, you have the right habits in place to mitigate your weight gain year-round.3
It’s what you do most of the time, not some of the time, that has the biggest effect on your weight, health, and fitness level.
With that said, here’s how you can stay on track after overindulging:
Damage Control: What To Do When You Overindulge
Eating and drinking too much, going overboard with the sweets, and having a lot of salt usually leaves you feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and dehydrated the next day. Let’s solve these problems.
1. Hydrate. Meaning, Drink More Water.
Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning when you wake up. Drinking water in the morning can help get things moving (you know what I mean), which will help you feel better pretty immediately.
Continue to drink water throughout the day. Men should aim to get about 3-4 liters every day, and women should aim for 2-3 liters.
Stay hydrated all week long. Drinking enough water all the time can help with appetite regulation, fat loss, improved performance, and increased energy.
2. Eat Whole Foods.
You might be tempted to skip breakfast or begin a super restrictive diet to “detox” from a few days of overeating. Skip the detox, and get into a healthy eating routine instead.
If you don’t currently have a healthy eating routine, here’s a simple breakdown.
Eat whole foods. Whole foods are more nutrient-dense, satiating, and lower in calories than processed and packaged foods. Fill your meals with vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy carbs & fats in moderation.
Have a high-protein breakfast (like a protein shake or eggs), and include protein with every meal. Protein is more satiating, boosts your metabolism, and can help improve your weight and body composition.4
Eat your veggies. Vegetables are high in fiber and water, packed with vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. The fiber and water in vegetables fills you up and keeps you satisfied, helping you manage your hunger while eating fewer calories.