Have you ever eaten too much of something you know is not good for you, then felt like absolute crap the next morning? Been there, done that. Most recently, I found myself at an East Side Mario’s (pretty much the only type of food in Niagara Falls) and happened to have some garlic bread and (very greasy) breaded fish and vegetables. All full of gluten, processed/cheap cooking oils, lots of fake ingredients and fillers, and all kinds of other stuff I don’t normally eat. The next morning I experienced brain fog, fatigue (even after a very long sleep), bloating/gassyness and just generally didn’t feel like my vibrant self. This is what I like to call the “food hangover”.
If you normally eat a diet that is well suited to your body and makes you feel good, having something processed or sugary can really make you feel the difference. If you’ve been exposing yourself to these types of foods often, even daily, then you won’t know how your body would feel while consistently eating whole foods (totally encourage giving that a go).
Here are some ways you can deal with that crappy next day feeling:
1. Don’t Guilt Trip Yourself
For reals, I mean it. Don’t keep saying “Ugh I’m such a fat pig, I’m going to do an hour on the treadmill and just do a juice cleanse the next day”. You don’t need a punishment. In fact, that will only make you feel worse about yourself in the end. If doing some activity or having some juice will genuinely make your body feel better and you can do it without judgmental thoughts, sure you can go for it. But guilty thoughts that are negative to how you feel about yourself are not cool. Please remember this step as you read the others, okay?
2. Get some Movement In
Like I said, this is not because you are feeling like a “fat pig” and want to work off whatever you ate. Some movement will actually help your digestion, give you a burst of energy and make you less likely to continue to eat/crave crappy stuff.
Go for a walk outside, cycle, do some yoga or even some stretching is good. Nothing too nuts, unless you feel good enough to go for a workout and wanna do it out of enjoyment and not guilt.
3. Drink Lots of Water
As soon as you wake up, have some warm water with lemon. Add some fresh ginger slices if your tummy is feeling extra achy, or just steep fresh ginger into a tea. Drink lots of filtered water throughout the day to help flush out toxins, keep the digestive system working, fight cravings and give you energy.
4. Eat when you Want to Eat, and Don’t when you Don’t
Your body is smart. It wants what is best for you. If you’re still super full and your digestion isn’t working at its best in the morning, don’t think you have to jump in and have a big breakfast. It’s fine to drink water and allow time for the digestive system to work its magic that it may not have gotten to do while you slept (especially if you went to bed full).
Conversely, if you’re ravenous, please don’t limit calories the following day, even if you’ve had a lot to eat the night before. Just start your day with a breakfast rich in protein, fat and fibre to keep the blood sugar stable and prevent more cravings. That brings me to my next point…
5. Steer Clear of Sugar
Sugar is addictive. If you haven’t had it in a while, your brain is like “oooohhh I like this! Give me more!”. This is where you gotta override those desires, because going down that rabbit hole will lead to more crappy days and I’m sure that’s not what you want. If you’re craving sweets, try and keep your distance from temptation. Take a walk, call a friend, go watch a movie (away from junkie snacks!). Keep lots of low GI snacks with healthy fats (stuff like raw nuts, kale chips, avocado on sprouted bread) to keep you full and not thinking about having more cake.
6. Supplements are your Friend
I like to load up on digestive enzymes if I know I’ve been unkind to my stomach. Having them between meals allows them to get at the circulating immune complexes, helping to get rid of those pesky food allergens that may have irritated your gut. Of course with food, it helps digest whatever you’re eating.
Other things I like to take the day after are extra probiotics, or foods containing probiotics. These will also help with digestion and keep the gut happy.
It’s important to remember we all have times when we “slip”. All you can do it move on. Did it make you feel crappy? Probably. Next time you have a chance to eat it, you may not chose to because you remember how bad it made you feel. The important thing is that you don’t make yourself feel guilty or create negative self talk around your eating choices. If you are genuinely having binges from being too restrictive for too long, that is another story, and I really encourage you to deal with the root cause of those issues.