What To Do After You’ve Blown Your Calorie Budget…

Relax:

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, experts say.  “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.”

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

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