Bounce Back From a Bad Eating Day

If your commitment to healthful eating is derailed for a day (or two or three), don't give up. Eating well is not an all-or-nothing proposition, and you can bounce back from some less than optimal indulgences with a little forethought and resolve. Remember that it isn't one day of bad eating that will harm you, but rather habitual bad eating.

Get back on track quickly with the following tips:

Toss the junk.
Is your home is full of fattening snacks and leftovers? Steel yourself and simply throw them away. Forget feeling guilty about this—you'll feel worse if you allow yourself to mindlessly eat the junk food. Stock up on some healthy substitutes so you won't feel deprived.

Eat breakfast.
After overindulging, you may be tempted to skip the morning meal—but don't. Breakfast fuels you with important nutrients that will help you feel satisfied and ready to make better choices throughout the day. Try an egg-white omelet loaded with fresh spinach and other veggies or oatmeal with berries and almonds. Greek yogurt is also a great choice.

Stay hydrated, but drink wisely.
"Avoid drinking your calories after you've been off-track with your diet," recommends Alison Massey, a registered dietitian at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. "Choose seltzer water with lime or lemon or unsweetened black or green tea."

Go lean and green.
Lunch and dinner should be power-packed affairs featuring plenty of lean meat like poultry and fish as well as a cornucopia of colorful produce. Aim to fill half of your plate with veggies, one quarter with protein, and one quarter with whole grains for a balanced meal.

Work out.
Exercise can help balance out any dietary damages committed as well as refocus you on your goals. Simply going for a walk can help you stick with the program. Mike Levinson, a Los Angeles-based dietitian and author of Buff Dad, recommends investing in new workout clothes and shoes if you need an extra motivation boost.

Earn a reward.
Promise yourself a non-edible treat for each day or week that you stick to healthful habits. It might be a mani-pedi, mini-massage, or new item of clothing. A walking date with a friend makes for a low-cost option.

Finally, keep an eye on your long-term goal of staying healthy and forgive yourself for the occasional slip-up.

Alison, Massey, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, reviewed this article.


Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore

Mike Levinson, registered dietitian and author of Buff Dad