#31Days 250

So you ate too much and now you’re kicking yourself for overindulging. You’re not alone! Nobody completely escapes the holiday feeding frenzy without going overboard. The good news is that a single meal, day, or even an entire weekend of overdoing it does not spell the end of your healthy holiday eating efforts. Get back on track as quickly as possible with these seven strategies to feel better fast.

Shake it off. Don’t dwell on your dietary indiscretion. Negative thoughts can make matters worse. It’s OK to cut back on some food, but punishing yourself for overdoing it by skimping meals and snacks for the next day or two may result in overdoing later on, which could trigger a cycle of overindulgence that lasts all month.

Be kind to your gut. It wasn’t an extra cocktail, glass of wine, or beer that’s making you feel lousy, it was the seconds (or thirds) you had of meat, mashed potatoes and gravy. Large, high-fat meals literally push your stomach to its limit and make you feel uncomfortable. You may have some heartburn, so avoid excess amounts of coffee, spicy foods, and alcohol, and drink water to dilute stomach acid.

Related: Break Your Addictive Food Habit

Begin eating better at your next meal. While you may not feel like eating much when you wake up after a night of overeating, a balanced breakfast is a great way to reboot and help set the tone for a better day. Make protein-rich foods, such as eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, and soy products, the cornerstone of your meal. Include whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and cereal, and add fruit or vegetables for additional fiber. It’s OK to eat a smaller breakfast later that your usual time, but make sure to have some healthy food in the morning.

Pump up the potassium. Generally speaking, holiday foods, such as appetizers, cheese, and casseroles, serve up more salt than you’re probably accustomed to eating. The sodium in salt helps your body to hold on to fluid, so you may feel a bit bloated right now. Potassium, found in a variety of fresh and lightly processed foods, counters the effects of sodium and helps your body better maintain fluid balance. Include at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables today and every day. Produce also provides fiber. Fatty foods take longer to digest, and adequate fiber in the diet promotes regularity.

Drink up. It may seem strange, but drinking more water helps your body to rid itself of extra fluid. Sip at least six 8-ounce glasses of plain water to reduce bloat. Don’t drink any alcohol, even if you’re feeling better later in the day. You don’t need the extra calories.

Related: 7 Signs You Need a Drink (of Water!)

Skip added sugars. If desserts were your downfall, it’s a good idea to skip sugary foods today. The simple sugars added to cookies, cake, and candy boost blood glucose levels, triggering your body to release more insulin into the bloodstream to move the glucose into your cells. Higher insulin levels make you feel hungrier. Give your body the opportunity to return to normal by focusing on foods that steady blood glucose concentrations, including protein-packed fare, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Work it out. Exercise energizes you by improving blood flow, reducing blood glucose levels and encouraging fluid loss through sweating. If you can’t make it to the gym, try to walk for at least 30 minutes and do all that you can to move around as much as possible during the day. Movement stimulates the digestive tract to promote digestion, and it burns some of the extra calories you consumed.

Related: Can't Get Into the Exercise Habit? Try this Trick

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. is an award-winning writer, nutrition consultant, spokesperson, and the mother of three. Her most recent book is "MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better: Decoding the Dietary Guidelines for Your Real Life." Ward blogs at betteristhenewperfect.com.

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