Went a little overboard going out to eat this past weekend? Maybe the pizza so good you needed an extra slice. Couldn’t forego the honey BBQ boneless wings either right? But wait, wings need ranch, a Pepsi, and some cookies for dessert. We’ve already thrown the macros out the window, so why stop there? You just remembered about the ice cream hiding in the back of the freezer!
Before you know it, an extra slice of pizza soon became an all-you-can-eat buffet. Just hit the “reset” button and start over on your diet tomorrow, right?
Maybe your friends or family told you “one bite won’t hurt.” They’re right. The one bite won’t hurt, but it’s bite number 2, 3, and 20 that do. The feeling of satisfaction you got was temporary. Maybe it was accompanied by feelings of shame or guilt, which last much longer. What do we do now?
Don’t panic, it happens to even the most strong-willed. One day of “damage” is not going to suddenly make you gain 20 lbs over night. The good news is, what is done IS DONE. The is no need to dwell on what you “could've or should've” done different. Turn those shameful and guilty feelings into action. The most important thing now is to get back on track; that does not mean starving yourself or spending 4+ hours at the gym either!
These 6 helpful tips will allow you to overcome the after-effects and negative feelings from overeating. Remember, weight loss and reaching your goals happen over a period of time where you make conscious positive choices. A one-time binge fest should not get in your way as long as it does not become a habit, and you take the proper steps to recover from it.
Getting back on track does not “start on Monday”, so jump right back on it the very next day. The body may have an internal clock, but not an internal calendar. Don’t put it off and make excuses. The longer you wait, the further you’ll be set back. Start now.
One of the worst things you can do after overindulging is skip out on breakfast the next day and throw your metabolism a curve-ball. The last thing you want to do is starve yourself or skip meals to “make up” for your binge, it will just leave you even hungrier. It might even set you up for another moment of overeating.
Instead, throughout the day eat a series of smaller meals packed with fruits and vegetables. A day full of real foods with plenty of fiber will support healthy digestion and keep your stomach full and satisfied throughout the day.
Get up the next morning and eat breakfast and drink a lot of water. You’re probably thinking, “I’ll skip breakfast to compensate because I ate way too much the night before”. Eating breakfast may sound counterintuitive, but there’s a good chance you got a metabolic boost from last night’s calorie overload. Don’t lose the metabolic momentum you gained by skipping breakfast! Why drink water? You likely consumed a lot of sodium with your big meal and will need to balance out the salt with plenty of water (more on that later).
You probably woke up feeling sluggish and lethargic, but by making yourself a nice balanced and healthy breakfast, you set the tone for a normal day of eating. Breakfast will prevent a major hunger onset that happens quicker than you might think. The quick metabolism boost you got from last night means you’ll get hungrier quicker in the short-term. The longer you try and resist that hunger, the more likely you’ll be to overindulge yet again.
Basically, the body is smart, and adapts to your eating patterns. If you skip breakfast, the body expects another high calorie meal, just like the one you had last night. Eventually it releases hormones to make you hungry enough to eat one.
So you've finished your delicious breakfast. It’s time to put all those extra calories from last night to work. The last think you are thinking about is probably going to the gym, but push yourself to go, you’ll be really glad you did.
You might still feel a bit lethargic at first, but once you get started you’ll notice how much better you feel, and how much easier the exercises seem!
During the major calorie overload you had last night, your body replenished your glycogen stores and the high amount of sodium filled your muscles with water. You’ll likely experience a rush of strength accompanied by an amazing pump. This will allow you to push harder and longer than you’re used to. You'll be burning off most of the extra calories you consumed. A better workout, means greater gains!
One of the biggest reasons for the post binge “hangover” that many people report (even without alcohol consumption) is dehydration as a result of a huge influx of sodium you consume with your big meal. This is especially true if you did have a few (or many) alcoholic drinks with your feast.
Most people don’t drink enough water in general. With the large amount of sodium that you consumed, make sure to balance it out with plenty of water. As discussed before, the workout you get the next day will be that much more enhanced as a result any temporary water retention you experience.
Be sure to get in a few full glasses of water before bed that night and first thing the following morning. At this point, you need to replenish your body and drink at least 8-12 glasses of water throughout the day.
Many times when I found myself in a binge, it was because I ate randomly and sporadically. I found myself binge-free when I had scheduled meal times and already had prepared meals to eat. Throughout the day, just knowing that the next meal is coming soon helps fight off major bouts of hunger that tend to cause overeating.
Keep busy between meals with work or other responsibilities. If you find yourself getting hungry, drink tea or coffee. You can even snack on something with a negligible amount of calories like calorie-free gum, celery, bell peppers, or cucumber (my favorite being pickles).
As always, plan ahead. If you know you associate watching TV with eating, make sure to plan out food to eat during that activity in your macros. If you know you’re headed out to eat with friends or family, find out what food is available that fits into your macros ahead of time. If you wait until that day to plan out your food, you’ll wing it and end up with macros that are really hard to hit with sensible food combinations at the end of the day. If you end up needing to make a change during the day for whatever reason, you can easily amend your daily macro plan on your phone
Like I said earlier, what is done IS DONE. You can’t reverse the calories you ate. You can’t go back and switch those slices of pizza for a salad, and that’s okay. Stop beating yourself up. Most of the post binge suffering comes from regret, so take a deep breath and dust it off. You enjoyed your meal(s) and the celebrations are over, so let’s move forward. We’re human and we live a little and indulge sometimes. Let it go. Too many people throw in the towel after a splurge, but NOT YOU!
Remember, one meal won’t ruin your healthy eating goals so long as you dust yourself off and get back up on that horse. Don’t let a day or weekend knock you completely off track and stop you from getting to your goals. You have the power to change how you respond to the negative feelings you experience.
Was this just a weak moment, or is it a regular occurrence? Everyone has weak moments, but if you are constantly having weak moments there might be another problem. Did you hire a coach or nutrition specialist that gave you a restricted and bland diet plan? Is this person blaming your lack of willpower, and pointing to other clients as examples of what happens when you “just follow the diet”? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your program is holding you back. You probably keep bingeing because your diet or nutrition program is unrealistic, and doesn’t offer you any flexible or long-term solutions.
Can you see yourself following this diet plan for longer than 12 weeks? If the answer is no, you need to consider that you are engaging in unsustainable and unrealistic nutrition practices. Ask yourself, “Am I more interested in short-term, or long-term fitness goals?” The truth is that you don’t have to be on a diet year-round to maintain a healthy, fit physique.
I know how it is. I’ve been there, done that. At FitBody Fusion, we have coaches that understand how to create sustainable, realistic, and results-driven programs. I now follow the EPAT methodology, allowing me to practice balance without unrealistic restrictions.
Whether you are a beginner that’s just trying to get fit and lose/gain weight, or an advanced athlete who competes, you should not be in a constant yo-yo with your diet. If you are a competitor that believes that the constant hardcore dieting/rebound cycle is just part of the game, you couldn’t be more wrong. It might work for you at first, but without taking the proper steps to get your metabolism back on track post-show, you are slowing your metabolism each time you diet down. Some athletes have to spend years slowly rebuilding their metabolism after they abused it from doing show after show.
FitBody Fusion coaches know the difference between a client failing their program, and a program that is failing their client. They are professional, reliable, and committed to getting you to your fitness goals, taking everything into consideration. One size does not fit all and no two clients are the same. They are experienced enough to know the difference between a lack of willpower, or a program that just isn’t optimized to you.
To learn more about living a balanced and more sustainable lifestyle in fitness, book a free consultation with one of our expert coaches today!