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4 Ways to Prevent Post-Workout Binges

We're going to go ahead and guess that there's a 99.99999 percent chance you've been in this situation before: You finish a workout, you're starving, and somehow before you know it you end up eating two bagels. After all, you tell yourself, you earned it—you just worked out! But au contraire. "Many people rationalize pigging out on unhealthy food after a workout by telling themselves that they deserve it," says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. But while refueling after you sweat is a good idea, it's easy to undo all of your hard work if you overdo it. Luckily, Gans says there are ways to prevent these binges:

Plan Ahead
If you know you're meeting your friends for brunch after your workout, pick out what you're going to have ahead of time, says Gans. That way, you won't be choosing with your exercise goggles on—and you'll be more likely to order healthy food for yourself. "If you psych yourself up for what can be a delicious and healthy meal before you even start working out, you're more likely to stick to your plan afterward because you’ve already committed to it," says Gans.

Have a Snack Before You Sweat
If you go to the gym or on a run when you're already hungry, then you’ll be even hungrier once you finish. That, coupled with your potential to rationalize a double-bagel situation, will make you way more likely to binge. Gans' suggestion: Have a snack with healthy fat, protein, and carbs to keep you satisfied post-sweat session. "I tell my patients to have either a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds or a KIND dark chocolate nuts and sea salt bar," she says. "You can also try baked black bean chips and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese for a healthy combo of protein and fiber."

MORE: 9 Healthy Foods That Are Super-Portable

Talk Yourself Out of It
This one is fairly simple: All you have to do is think back to your time at the gym and remember how hard you worked. "Then, ask yourself: 'Why would I want to blow all of that hard work?'" suggests Gans. "You just spent time doing something good for your body. Why sabotage it?" Sounds almost too easy, but sometimes, all it takes is a bit of self-talk to conquer your inner over-snacker.

Choose Healthier Versions of Whatever You're Craving
There's nothing wrong with wanting to house a bagel or a piece of pizza after your workout. And if you just can't not indulge, order wisely, suggests Gans. Ask for your bagel scooped out if you really, really, really want one, and add smoked salmon or reduced-fat cream cheese for a healthy filler. Or if you want fries, get sweet potato fries to pack in more fiber and decrease your serving size. Craving pizza? Order a whole-wheat slice with veggies to make it worth your while. You get the idea.

MORE: 10 Healthy Foods That Boost Energy AND Weight Loss

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