When it comes to diet and nutrition, there aren’t many quick fixes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to ease the physical discomfort that comes as an after-effect of a binge. In fact if you’re consciously cheating on your diet, you can do a serious amount of damage control by following Tim Feriss’ The 4-Hour Body cheat day plan, which is designed to optimize the amount of food that goes to either muscle tissue or out of the body unabsorbed versus being stored as fat. Even if you haven’t taken proper precautions, however, there’s still plenty that can be done post-binge. Here’s what to do if you’ve overindulged.
Drink plenty of water
It might be the last thing you want to do when you feel like you’re pregnant with a food baby, but water is imperative to help flush out your system. Excess sugar, salt, and alcohol can also very easily dehydrate your body. Ideally you should start your day with hot water or tea with a squeeze of lemon to wake up your digestive system.
Focus on fiber-rich healthy foods
Men need about 38 grams of fiber a day, but the average person gets just 15. Make a conscious effort to eat a clean diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds while avoiding high-sodium foods, sparkling beverages, and other foods commonly associated with a ballooning belly. You’ll also want to focus on eating smaller meals throughout the day versus three big meals as bloating often comes with large meals, and smaller meals have also been shown to help control blood sugar while managing hunger.
Don’t skip breakfast
After opting for warm water with lemon reach for a portion-controlled healthy breakfast. This will help get you into the right mindset to keep up with a healthy diet for the rest of the day.
Don’t eat and drink
Drink before you eat; drinking large amounts of liquids — even water — while eating dilutes gastric juices which impedes the digestive process from functioning optimally.
When you eat quickly, you tend to swallow air, which will cause further physical discomfort (this is the same reason you should avoid chewing gum).
Move your body
It might be the last thing you want to do, but it’s important to do some kind of physical activity. Ideally, opt for a mix of cardio and weight training for at least 30 minutes. If you’re at the point where you feel like you might throw up if you move, do something very light like walking around your block a few times. Getting your body moving again is important to help speed up digestion and clear glucose out of your bloodstream.
Don’t lay down
Not only is it important to do something physical, but it’s very important not to lay down right after a binge. Lying down can cause heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues.
Get enough sleep
While you shouldn’t lay down immediately after overindulging, getting enough sleep in the subsequent night is important for regulating your metabolism.
Most of us think that our occasional binges are doing more harm than they actually are (turns out if you have an otherwise “clean” diet they may actually be critical to achieving your wellness goals). Don’t beat yourself up over a momentary lapse in your diet; odds are that if you simply return to following a healthy diet and exercise plan, the weight you gained will be dropped over the course of the following week.