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Friday, January 10, 2014

DIET 911: AFTER YOU OVEREAT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Holiday parties, gourmet meals, and celebratory dinners can easily get a little (or a lot) more decadent than you expected. Let’s face it: Everyone blows his or her calorie budget every now and then.

Do you need to worry? Is that old dieter’s saying, “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” really true? And what should you do next?

Here’s what medical experts, registered dietitians, and weight management specialists say about the damage done by one-time splurges and their tips for getting back on track.

Relax (For a Moment)
The good news is, one meal is not going to ruin you if you eat sensibly and exercise regularly the rest of the time and get back to your routine, experts say. You need to eat 3,500 calories to gain one pound of body fat, so it’s unlikely that a single overindulgence will show up on the scale.

“We call these ‘taking time-outs,’ and we all take them,” says Rebecca S. Reeves, DrPH, RD, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “No one is perfect in their eating habits. What we have to learn is that we are giving ourselves permission to do this, and as soon as it’s over, we should go back to the eating plan we normally follow. This does not give us permission to continue to overeat and binge.”

The problem is, overeating is not a one-time affair for most Americans, says cardiologist Allen Dollar, MD, chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“Most people overeat somewhere between 500 and 1,500 calories every single day,” Dollar says. “If they don’t consciously think about their dietary intake every day, they will be overweight.”

Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Too many dieters throw in the towel after a splurge, says Kathleen M. Laquale, PhD, a licensed nutritionist, athletic trainer, and associate professor at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

“You may feel defeated and say, ‘Oh I blew my diet, and I’ll just eat the whole Christmas season and the heck with it,” Laquale says. “When you do overindulge, don’t be self-deprecating. You overeat for one day; let’s get back on track again. Let’s be more conscious of our portion sizes the next day.”

Think of Your Diet Over the Course of Several Days
It’s typical to eat more sensibly during the week and take in more calories on the weekend, says Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University.

So if you eat more calories than you should at a party on a weeknight, consider that one of your “weekend” days and compensate for it accordingly.

“In other words, you had a party on a Tuesday, and that party was quite fun and it almost became like a Saturday,” Salge Blake says. “Just make sure that the days that come after that festive occasion reflect more of the structured Monday-through-Thursday eating pattern, rather than the weekend.”

Resume Sensible Eating
You may be tempted to compensate for the extra calories by skipping meals the next day. But skipping breakfast or lunch will only leave you hungry and at risk for pigging out later.

Salge Blake recommends cutting back throughout the day with a series of small meals packed with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables:
·       Wait until you’re hungry. Then have a light breakfast such as a bowl of low-fat yogurt and berries.
·       Mid-morning snack: A piece of fruit and an ounce of low-fat cheese
·       Lunch: A big salad with lean protein such as fish or chicken, or a whole-wheat pita pocket with lettuce and tuna or turkey
·       Afternoon snack: A cup of vegetable soup and an orange
·       Dinner: A piece of fish and plenty of vegetables

Skip the Scale
After a feast, your weight is bound to be inflated. That’s not because of an increase in body fat, but because of water retention brought on by the excess salt you likely ate. 

Weighing yourself will only make you feel defeated. Salge Blake tells clients to weigh themselves on Fridays, when they’re likely to weigh their lowest.

Stick to Your Normal Exercise Routine
Compensating for the extra calories by over-exercising will leave you burned out or worse, Laquale says.

“If you overload and do more than your regular routine, you could strain a muscle, you could hurt a joint. So muscle soreness may set in. Then you can’t exercise,” she says. “So now we’re into your third day, and you’re tight all over and you’re still feeling down because you overate, so it creates a vicious cycle.”

Track What You Eat
Setting a caloric goal for the day and recording what you eat keeps you conscious of what you’re eating, Dollar says. There are many calorie-counting web sites and mobile applications to choose from, including WebMD’s Food & Fitness Planner


The only way to win the game “is to be meticulous about your total calories for the week,” Dollar says. “If you don’t stay on top of things, you’ll slowly and subtly lose the battle. You have to be conscious every time your hand goes from a plate to your mouth.”

SOURCE: WEDMD

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