You have been hitting the gym on a regular basis, you’ve been eating 100% clean, and then BOOM! It happens. You binge on your favorite foods. Hit the panic button!!!! Well, actually don’t. Really, I mean it, it’s OK. Let me talk you through how to get over a binge. I’m not talking about the eating disorder, but about those situations where you just go way overboard and stuff your face when you didn’t intend to.
Step 1 – Acceptance
The first step is acceptance. Don’t dwell on it — just accept that it happened and move on. Don’t waste energy stressing over things that happened in the past. Remember:
“One binge won’t make you unhealthy, just as one workout won’t make you fit”
However, continued binging cycles can be a serious problem, so it’s important to realize what’s going on before it turns into something you can’t control and completely derails your health goals.
Step 2 – Assessment
The second step is to be real with yourself. Ask yourself, “Why did this happen?” Have you been starving yourself or working out excessively for an extended period of time? Have you been depriving yourself of all the foods that you love? If either of these scenarios are true, then it’s not really surprising that you ended up binging.
If you have over-worked and under-fed yourself, you need a refeed and this is your body’s way of letting you know. I’m not saying that you have to devour a dozen donuts every week, but if you start planning your refeeds, they can be “clean” (if you want them to be) and they can help you prevent future binges. A planned refeed could be that slice of cake you’ve been dreaming of, a burger with fries, or just a few extra servings of fruit and oats. Whatever satisfies you while helping you stick to your health goals.
Another significant point is that a planned refeed can actually help you reach your health goals faster and more efficiently. By adding a scheduled refeed day with higher calorie and carbohydrate intake occasionally, you help keep your metabolism running in high gear. If you never have a refeed, your metabolism will decrease to match your lower calorie intake, making it harder to reach your fitness goals.
Step 3 – Follow the plan
The day after your binge, don’t starve yourself or try to make up for it on the treadmill. Just go back to your plan and eat a normal clean diet. If you don’t have a plan, maybe that’s the issue. You don’t have to write your plan down (although I recommend it), but at least think through what you’re trying to achieve and how to do it.
The reason why I don’t recommend that you crash diet or increase your exercise the day after a binge is that you’ll most likely just be setting yourself up for another binge. You want to create healthy, sustainable habits, not set up a vicious circle of binging and then starving or/and exhausting yourself.
Finally, be proud of the fact that you decided to make a change in the first place and start focusing on your successes rather than your setbacks. Nobody is perfect and nobody will get it right every time. As long as you learn from your missteps and work towards correcting them, it’s a success and not a failure.
Suggested next posts: Habits That Lead to Emotional Eating & Over-Eating and Toss Away the Temptations!