What do you do after you’ve gorged yourself with all the wrong foods and you feel like a balloon about to burst with guilt and frustration? You may want to read and apply this after Christmas, New Year’s Eve or any other meal that makes you feel guilty :).
Before you start feeling bad about yourself or taking laxatives or swearing that you’ll never eat again, just because this one time you ate more cakes than you know it’s right for you, read on. These pieces of advice will help you react more calmly and effectively, and will guide you in repairing some of the damage of unhealthy eating.
It’s normal to eat junk
We’re not robots, we all have days when we just don’t care, or when we just want to eat all sorts of stuff – and that’s okay. Every once in a while, everybody does it and there’s nothing wrong about it.
The emotional work of maintaining a specific weight is not simple but you can find long term solutions for a tasty food alternative.
Never weigh yourself right after eating unhealthy
Because a change in eating habits causes water retention, bloating and inflammation – so your scales will show much more than reality and that will get you down.
Here’s the strategy: decide when you can return to a balanced diet and do it without useless remorse. Have the right mindset. Guilt only amplifies your bad mood and focuses on the effect, not on the cause.
Get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality, it is a false problem
If you just think about one week, 3 days of bad eating seem bad. But, if you assess your behavior in the context of one month, you might turn out fine, after all.
10-15-20% of one month’s calories may come from junk food/sweets/inappropriate meals in your diet, without any long-term problem.
Assuming weight loss diets should have about 1,600 kcal, and that you exercise 3-5 hours per week (and spend an hour every day on non-fitness physical activity), you can eat up to 7,200 kcal per month from foods that you really, actually like, and still lose some weight.
By the way, this means 1.2 kg of black chocolate :).
Don’t analyze why you ate – that matters very little. Analyze what you can optimize in the future.
Maybe you can eat healthily before the kids’ party/company party/Christmas feast/birthday party, so that the temptation is easier to manage; you may take snacks with you, if the food at the office comes from coworkers; and so on.
Analyze and look for solutions for the future. If you can’t find them, go back to Item 1 and move on.
Sticking to a diet takes time
Diet, healthy eating, peace of mind, a fulfilling career, building healthy habits are all long-term processes, based on repeated failures.
Us adults only learn from mistakes, which we repeat as many times as we need in order to build our own response mechanism, that matches our long-term goals and tries not to disturb too much our short-term goals.
Because, more often than not, what we want now, right this second, is not good for us in the long run.
After you return to a healthy diet, drink lots of water, eat more lean protein (I know that seems counterintuitive, but they help you evade water retention), have a massage and go to moderate cardio sessions.
You won’t “burn off” what you ate in excess, but moderate exercise helps you feel good, adjusts the digestion, and, at the very least, you’ll feel you’ll have completed a training session with energy and joy – which is a win in and of itself.
Anticipate and accept junk food pleasures from time to time
Enjoy, relax, and next time I hope you choose absolutely delicious junk, which you actually like – at least make it worth your while, you’ll do it again anyway, and that is not a tragedy. 🙂
In the future, it’s better to plan than to react: so, create a “map” of the things that can prevent your craving for junk food.
You can reduce your cravings by anticipating – for example, eat healthily before going to a party or to the movies, so that you may better keep your temptations in check.
This way, you have more chances to stop excess eating after you’ve satisfied your craving (no, there’s no drama in a handful of popcorn, in most diets with a moderate glucide intake).
Focus on long term balance
After each episode when you seriously lost control, it’s good to analyze the matter objectively and to focus on solutions for a better balance in the future.
Although nothing is fundamentally wrong in eating junk from time to time, the feeling of loss of control over your own body/reason and the need to eat much more than your body needs may be rooted in unsolved emotional issues, difficulties in managing satisfaction mechanisms, or severe eating habit disorders (for example, binge-eating episodes are more frequent with people who usually starve themselves for several days in a row, or those who keep strict low-carb diets).
Keep addictions to a minimum
Give up substances :). Alcohol and marijuana are known to increase appetite for unhealthy food, and, sadly, they also fry your braincells. 🙂
And, if you feel you need help, I am waiting for you in my weight loss community. There you’ll find useful info, personalized diets, and a group of motivating, well-meaning people, who will help you lose weight and gain a healthy lifestyle.
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