Ask the Expert: I Went on an Unhealthy Food Binge Last Night. How do I Hit Reset?
Q: I went on a (totally unhealthy, rich, sugar-filled) spree last night and basically ate my weight in junk food. What can I do to cleanse my body and get back on track—and hit reset quickly?
A: Let’s start by erasing the word ‘cleanse’ from your vocabulary. Your body isn’t “dirty” after a night of indulgent eating, and it certainly doesn’t need a cleanse. I’m a registered dietitian, so I want you to make healthy food choices whenever possible, but here’s a little secret—one night of unhealthy eating isn’t going to harm you. As a matter of fact, it probably won’t even cause weight gain. But food does affect how you feel and eating “totally unhealthy, rich, sugar-filled” food will probably make you feel bloated or lethargic. While you don’t need to follow an extreme diet or cleanse to undo unhealthy eating, there are a few things you can do to feel better.
First, your body is probably in need of some nutrients, and the best way to get those is through eating good old fruits and vegetables. In other words, you don’t need to spend $20 on a fancy juice cleanse. Have a salad or whip up a veggie stir fry. Not only does the fiber in fruits and veggies help you digest all the stuff in your system, the vitamins and minerals can boost energy levels, while the water in the plants promotes hydration.
Speaking of hydration, drink some water, please! Rich foods generally have more salt than you’re probably used to eating, and that can cause bloating and water retention. The simplest way to de-bloat is to drink plenty of water. You’ve likely heard that you should drink eight glasses of water each day, but that’s actually a myth. Believe it or not, there isn’t one standard fluid recommendation for all adults, since everyone varies greatly in their body size, activity level and medical history. But don’t worry, it’s easy to know if you’re drinking enough by looking at the color of your urine. If it’s a pale yellow color, you’re adequately hydrated. If it’s dark (like the color of apple cider vinegar), you need to drink more water.