If you've gone all-out on some holiday feasts, don't feel guilty, this time of the year is tough to keep calories under control. You might feel uncomfortably bloated initially, but good news: Your body will right itself, and the overall impact isn't as big as you might think.
Image by USDAgov.
You've probably heard that to gain one pound of fat you need to eat in excess of 3,500 calories. Even if that were true (and it's not really,) occasionally letting yourself go and eat even 1,000 or 3,000 calories over that doesn't automatically equal body fat gain. Of course, this assumes you eat reasonably most other days of the year.
You'll probably feel "soft" for a few days, but that's to be expected after a super large meal. If you overate on carbohydrates and fats, the weight gain you do see is from water weight, carbohydrates that have been stored as glycogen, and waste. There's no need to starve yourself or do extra cardio or exercise. After all, punishing yourself for eating too much is a damaging feedback loop. As long as you return to eating sensibly again, your weight will return to normal after a few days.
Binging here and there isn't a big deal. It's the consistency of eating well and healthy foods that matters more in the long run. It's also worth noting that people who eat until they're sick tend to overeat and binge more often, not just during the holidays; and it's repeated binging that leads to weight gain. If that sounds like you, we have tips to stop yourself from binge eating.