You were on a diet – a strict diet. You needed to lose a lot of weight, and you were dead set on following this new routine to eat healthy, exercise, cut out junk food and all the rest that comes with it. Problem is, a craving struck…and you didn’t have any convenient healthy food in the fridge! Or, a family member left a slab of your favourite chocolate in the cupboard. You opened it, had a few blocks…but that lead to thinking “Okay, so now I’ve already cheated…might as well take the day off”. So you polished the entire slab of chocolate, which snowballed to eating everything in your fridge high in carbohydrates, fat and salt. Whatever the reason, you currently have a food baby and feel sick and depressed! You ate so much you want to throw up. Honestly, this has happened to me so many times! I binged, and then ended up wishing I could vomit out everything. Well, I’ve never had a gag reflex so luckily this was never an option. Also – people who know me will know that I have a teeth fetish…sooo the thought of yellowed teeth was never appealing. And even if you can make yourself vomit…DON’T DO IT!!! It might make you feel better in the moment, but it will turn into a habit. Next thing you know, you’re bingeing on a regular basis because you can eat whatever you want and just throw up the junk afterwards…and voila! – you have a full blown EATING DISORDER! Rather than add to a statistic and have an unhealthy relationship with food. Relax. Do some simple damage control. Nobody’s perfect. And you’re not the only one that breaks their diet. So just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on.
Here are some tips to get you back on track in a jiffy:
Remember the math!
First of all, just remember the math behind weight-gain. You have to consume an enormous 7000 calories over your daily calorie requirement to gain 2 pounds of fat – which equates to around 1 kilogram. That is one heck of a lot.
Take a walk or drink plenty of water to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream.
For the more instant approach: remove the sugar form your bloodstream. So instead of taking extreme measure (i.e. vomiting), do some exercise to remove some of the energy from your bloodstream. You might feel tired from all the food, but consider going for a nice long walk. This will prevent the excess energy from being stored as fat. Don’t overdo it though: if you go too hard you could injure yourself, and then you won’t be able to exercise tomorrow (or for weeks or months). You basically have a massive excess of energy, so best to use what you can and not let all of it go to waste. This will also make you feel a lot better, trust me (unless you go overboard and sprain something, or get a stitch). You could also try drinking a lot of water in a short time to flush out some of the extra sugar. But again – don’t overdo it (it can be dangerous to drink too much water).
Water retention! Don’t weigh yourself for the next day or two.
Next. Don’t weigh yourself after a binge…not even the next day. You might be quite a few kilograms heavier, but this will mostly be because of water retention. You probably binged on foods high in carbs, fat and salt (and not salad unfortunately), so the salt and carbs will make your body retain a lot more water – which could mean an increase of a number of kilos on the scale. Just seeing this increase on the scale will defeat your motivation and morale to stick to your diet. My advice is to weigh yourself when the number will be at it’s lowest: first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast, and after emptying your bladder. A good day will most likely be a Friday because people tend to have best diet compliance during the week than on the weekends – so less water retention from weekend treats.
Stay on track with your diet!
Worst-case scenario: Even if you DID eat the whopping 7000 calories extra (that could be up to 9000 calories on one day…so unlikely) – with healthy weight loss, you could easily shake it off in a week. That’s one week behind schedule – not a train-smash. Point is you just have to try and prevent these episodes from happening too often.
Avoid massive binges
Depending on your personality, consider including a treat every so often. This will prevent these MASSIVE binges we are talking about. And by treat, I mean one meal. And instead of calling it a CHEAT meal, rather refer to it as a REWARD meal for sticking to your diet. Also, remember that a food binge is likely the result of an emotional feeling (if not extreme calorie restriction). You may be TIRED, FRUSTRATED, LONELY, SAD or ANGRY. Therefore, consciously deal with the emotion first before it leads you to the fridge 🙁 If you’re frustrated or angry…some exercise could help. Tired? SLEEP!!!! Lonely? Call a friend. Maybe not as easy as it sounds, but try your best!
Don’t deprive yourself!
It is possible to be on a diet that fulfills you and doesn’t leave you feeling deprived (you won’t even WANT to cheat). The problem comes when you want to see results too quickly and cut your calories by too much. Preferably, your calories should never be under 1500 per day, because it could lead to metabolic problems and will increase the likelihood of enormous binge sessions. Above all, remember that your body needs fuel to function: metabolise food, repair and replace tissue, fight pathogens, and handle the challenges modern day life throws at it (i.e. perform perform perform and stress stress stress). And then I haven’t even touched on completing simple daily activities – not to mention a gym sesh! So make sure you calculate your daily requirements accurately! Just calculating your BMR (basic metabolic rate) is NOT an accurate representation! Daily tasks like brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, vacuuming the lounge etc, will make a BIG difference in itself. And if you have a taxing job, remember that your brain needs fuel to function. Your performance will take a dive if you neglect to fuel your body properly. Did you know that weight loss of 1kg per month is considered successful? SLOW AND STEADY FINISHES THE RACE! – remember that – but aim for 0,5 – max 1kg per week.
READ THIS POST TO CALCULATE YOUR CALORIE REQUIREMENTS:
Make healthy food convenient
Another preventative measure would be to avoid temptation altogether. If you are prone to having such cravings, have healthy options ready in the fridge. If you crave something crunchy – have some carrot and cucumber sticks ready in the fridge to have with some hummus or mashed avocado. If you crave chocolate – have a block of dark chocolate (the intensity is satisfying), or a bar of Caring Candies sugar-free chocolate. If you crave carbs – try zero calorie noodles with Bolognese sauce or a cauliflower pizza (some pizza places have great carb replacements!). There are endless options!! But remember convenience is king! Be aware of this, because many binges are caused by CONVENIENT junk food. So make healthy food more convenient!!
After all that, I’m sure I’ve made you feel better! — at least I HOPE so 🙂 Remember that one little binge isn’t the end of the world…you can recover like a BOSS 😉