You go all week (Monday-Friday) with perfect eating. You drink all your water, log all your meals, and never skip a workout. Oh, how accomplished you feel! Friday evening rolls around, and suddenly you have the urge to eat something unhealthy–or in most cases, everything in sight. Maybe it’s because you feel as if you deserve a treat for an accomplished week. Or maybe it’s the automatic bad habit of “eat clean all week and eat like crap all weekend” sneaking in again. Either way, the discipline you had during the week has quickly faded as you drive home from work with a large pizza or “insert unhealthy meal here” in the front seat.
We have all binged and had a cheat day unexpectedly. It’s normal, and in some cases, it’s good to have one of those days every so often. But what happens when it becomes more periodically? What things should you do the next day to recover and bounce back? These are all questions I will go more in depth below..
Realize you are human and mistakes happen
This is the first important step to recovering from a binge session or unplanned cheat day. Don’t wake up the next day and tear yourself down. Instead, remember that no one is perfect, and even the most fit person that you look up to for motivation has those days, too. So be quick to forgive yourself and don’t be your own Debbie Downer. Throw that self-pity out the door and get ready to get back on track.
2. Figure out what went wrong
Figuring out why you binged or ate crazy all day is crucial. Whether you realize it or not, there is always a reason behind overeating–you don’t do it just because. As much as you may not like to right now, think back to your binge session. How were you feeling hours before it happened? Overwhelmed? Bored? Depressed? Whatever the case, chances are you were feeling some sort of negative emotion which lead to you eating uncontrollably. So take a moment to yourself (without judgment) to figure out the reason behind your actions.
3. Drink plenty of water
Water will be your best friend all day! ☺ If your cravings are anything like mine, you probably binged or ate something filled with carbs, sugar, salt, or worse….alcohol (oops!) All of that good stuff makes you bloated like cray cray, so do your body a favor and drink up! To really cleanse your system and enhance those benefits, try adding half a lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tbsp only please) to your water. That duo does wonders! psst…strive to drink at least 1 gallon.
4. Don’t starve yourself as punishment
Starving yourself is the last thing your body needs. I know, I know…you’re probably thinking “If you knew how much I ate during my binge, you would tell me to starve too!”… But don’t do it to yourself! It will only make matters worse and may even lead to another binge session. It is easy to think you are doing your body a favor by cutting calories all day but what you’re actually doing is forcing your metabolism to slow down…yikes! Now, I’m not saying you should eat heavy meals all day, but what you can do is opt for smaller snacks every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism steady.
5. Eat in moderation
What you eat the next day after a binge/cheat day is another important factor and goes hand in hand with Step 4. Depending on what you put on your plate will either make you feel better or much worse…so be cautious of your food choices. Consuming food your body does not need or want, such as excess sugar and fat is definitely a no-go. Instead, fuel your body with lean protein (fish, ground turkey, baked chicken), lots and lots of veggies that are low in calories, high in fiber, and filled with water (green beans, collard greens, Brussels sprouts), and low sugar fruits (strawberries, grapefruit, apples, raspberries,etc.)
6. Exercise with “positive” intentions
Moving your body after a binge is a great way to help yourself feel better only if you are not doing it as punishment. You would be surprised if I told you the amount of times I made myself exercise twice as hard just to burn those extra calories. Of course, I got my heart rate up which was a good thing but that hour and a half felt like torture because of the mental abuse I put myself through. I had negative thoughts the entire time that went a little like this… “You’re pathetic..you don’t have enough discipline…you ate like a pig, so you need to sweat like one.” Yea, that process was pretty sad.
If that process sounds similar to what you do after a binge/cheat day–STOP! It is not worth it, nor will anything good come from it. Exercise because it will give you energy. Exercise to release those endorphin’s because it will help you feel better. Move that body because you are worthy and a work in progress! And while you are at it, whisper positive words to yourself the entire time–you deserve that.
Friendly reminder: You may have given in to temptation but you are not a failure. You only fail when you give up and throw in the towel. So keep striving to make better food choices one day at a time. The next time you get the urge to binge, ask yourself if it will make you feel better in the long-run. If the answer is no, then don’t do it to yourself again. Instead, do something that you enjoy to create a healthy distraction until the feeling to binge goes away. It may take a bit of practice until you can resist every urge to binge but always remember; with practice comes progress 🙂