Year end is fast approaching- that means invitations to parties, weddings, dinners and other social functions. It is often difficult to resist the temptation of food – alluringly prepared to lure even the most disciplined.
So you’ve gone to a dinner and stuffed yourself – too much for your own good. Catching up with friends, some whom you’ve not seen for years made the occasion so memorable and happy. And when we’re happy, we generally eat. Because most of us have been wired from probably time immemorial that eating is a happy event.
Not to panic- you have every right to enjoy your life. So what’s the recovery plan to this?
Here’s the advice I adopt myself and that I give to others in a similar situation:
1. Stay calm
Don’t beat yourself up for overeating or indulging. Everyone, including celebrities and even fitness professionals indulge once a while because we all share the similarity of being human. I should know that because I come from the part of the world where is known for good tasting, reasonably priced food. Our society has been wired to eat and there are rich varieties of food from different culture and races- so it is almost impossible to stay away from eating them.
I know we sometimes loathe ourselves for not having enough willpower to withstand temptations. Like in a work situation, panicking when a problem arise generally will not solve your problem. Instead, stay calm and tell yourself that you will take accountability and corrective action.
2. Schedule time to visit the gym/exercise for the entire week.
Within the first few days of feasting, it’s unlikely those calories will be turned to permanent fat storage. So you’ve still got time to ‘salvage’ the situation. Burn them off with cardio. You’ll need to spend longer time in the gym- so, schedule your sessions like you would have done for an appointment.
I would recommend more emphasis to be put on cardio. You can choose 2 approaches:
a. for the fitness buff or gym rat, attend a calorie bursting class
b. for the less physically active, adopt the slow and steady method- go for moderate cardio.
Remember, the focus is to burn off the calories. You do not want to tax your body so much that you develop muscle cramps the next day that puts you off to workouts altogether. The focus is to ensure consistent workout- not capital punishment for inner guilt.
3. Watch the food intake
You’ve really got to watch your food intake for the next few days. Stay away from oily and starchy food for at least a week. Some suggestions:
a. Take food like whole grains, oats, more vegetables and fruits to fill you up. Mix your meal with lots of fruits and vegetables- do not take processed or fast food because it will make you feel hungry faster. And watch the dressings that you put in your salad- stay away from thousand island and mayonnaise please.
b. Do not take food that trigger off hunger attacks by themselves. Examples are soft drinks, sweets, white bread or the combination of good old coffee with biscuits. You can still take them but mix with protein, fruits and vegetables to bring down their overall GI effect.
You may also want to read on Common Food Combinations that Trigger Hypoglycemia or Sudden Hunger
c. Minimise food intake after 6pm. Perhaps you can have some oats and whole grain bread to fill you up but try to eat your dinner as early as possible.
The above methods are simple but they’ve consistently worked for me. During social functions, I still eat what I like but I’ve learned to take in smaller quantities of each.