It happens to the best of us. You ate too much sugar and then you felt horrible— physically horrible because sugar is pretty unkind to your body, and mentally horrible because you feel like you shouldn’t have made those choices.
It’s a common problem, especially during the latter part of the year with so many holidays and gatherings going on that it’s easy to forget about your nutrition goals.
If you find yourself on the other side of a sugar binge, there are a few simple steps you can take to deal with the aftermath.
First Things First— Don’t Beat Yourself Up
First and most important – don’t beat yourself up. It’s not worth it.
Life happens, and oopses are a part of the journey. Acknowledge that you took it too far and then move on to fixing the issue.
Weight Train to Make Room for Glycogen
Glucose is sugar in the bloodstream, and glycogen is the form of sugar that’s stored in the liver and the muscles.
Weight training is one of the best ways to burn through excess circulating glucose and stored glycogen. It’s so effective that doctors recommend weight training to help control diabetes. While it won’t eliminate the need for insulin, it may help keep glucose in check, especially when you lift soon after eating.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, weight training can help metabolize that excess sugar before it has the chance to do much damage.
As a bonus, working out can help reduce stress and ease the bad feelings you may have about the sugar binge.
Focus on Satiety from Meals
Instead of obsessing about the sugar you already consumed, focus on healthy foods going forward. Next time you eat, what can you give your body that will help you feel full and satisfied?
Every plate you make should contain protein and fiber. This will keep you full and stop you from giving in to temptations. When you’re full, you’re better able to focus your energies elsewhere and away from food.
Eat your meals slowly, focus on chewing and how satisfying the foods you’re eating are. Also, focus on how good you feel after you eat them, as opposed to how the sugar binge probably made you feel (not so good).
Drink a lot of Water
Hydration can help you get back to feeling like yourself. Drinking enough water (and maybe even a little more) can help your body stay full, and could help you feel less tempted.
A lot of times we think we are hungry when our body really just needs water. Give your body a big drink and notice how you feel.
Remove the Sugary Foods from your House
There are people who can portion control, and people who can’t have sweets on the premises because they’ll mow through them.
Some damage control may be in order. If you still have a ton of tempting sweets in your house, get rid of them.
Instead, fill your house with nutritious foods and make sure to drink plenty of water. If you have time, plan your meals and snacks and even portion out what you’ll eat for the next 24 to 48 hours so you aren’t tempted to reach for the sweet stuff.
If you play your cards right, you can still have no sugar versions of your favorite sweet treats. Pumpkin spice muffins, peanut butter cups, and double chocolate cookies can all be part of your world, even when sugar isn’t.
Explore Your Feelings
After a sugar binge, get honest with yourself. Why did it happen? How were you feeling?
If it was something more than just a good time with friends, dig deeper. Let yourself write and figure out what caused you to reach for the sugar versus dealing with the stress in other ways.
You may find you have other things to work on so that you can put your mind in a good place so it doesn’t happen again.
While sugar does cause trouble, overdoing it once isn’t likely to lead to long-term problems (unless you have metabolic conditions like diabetes). It happens to the best of us, especially around the holidays.
Instead, figure out what happened and think about how you can remove obstacles and set up systems to stay on track.
Chances are you’ll feel a little like you’re hungover after a sugar binge – that’s normal, so it’s important to be gentle with your body.
Ease back into your routine, eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and exercise. You’ll get your body back to feeling good and then make sure you address the reasons it happened so it doesn’t happen again. Keep journaling until you get yourself into a good spot where you’re making good food choices and not choosing sugar over healthy options.
To learn more about going sugar-free or to learn about Lakanto, click here.