Buffets, weddings, holidays or food festivals are celebratory times when you get to shrug off your health and fitness persona to embrace life’s joys: a full plate of your favorite foods and overflowing glasses.
However, the food hangover can make it feel as though the previous night’s indulgences have unraveled months of hard work. Binge eating, even infrequently, can lead to health risks in men, found research in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.
We’re not suggesting you abstain – hell, life’s too short. Instead, we encourage you to embrace this kind of micro-break from your usually healthy routine, but adopt these strategies that’ll minimize the backlash these indulgences will have on your physique.
Have a pre-dinner dinner
Rope in the services of your protein shaker to help you eat less by having a shake before the feasting commences. Research in the Nutrition Journal found that casein and pea protein helped people feel fullest longest, so try one of these proteins and you’ll be less likely to fill up on the nasty stuff.
Snack on pistachios
On the eve of the big pig-out, snack on a few of these nuts. Research in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when eaten with high-carb foods such as pasta or rice, they decrease your blood sugar response in the body, protecting you against heart disease and diabetes. This makes them a great warm-up food before the big meal.
Rest up before the buffet
Late nights make you hungrier. Research in The American Journal of Human Biology found that your brain signals you to eat more, the less sleep you’ve had. Rather, get the full eight hours because you’ll gain more bulk if you’re well rested as you’ll be able to train at a higher intensity.
Take a sip of water and two breaths between bites
This meal is about enjoyment so drag it on. Research in the British Medical Journal found that fast eating makes you eat more. Quick-to-eat high-carb foods, such as fried chicken, can be inhaled so force yourself to slow down by adding protein. A quick game is not a good game so try and savor, not devour.
Don’t take a cab home
Even though you may not feel like peeling yourself off the couch, or from the bar stool, it is a very smart idea. Eating a big meal and then doing some light exercise can prevent fat from getting stored, found research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. So go for a walk even if it’s just a stroll home.
Find more health advice and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.