I’m no stranger to the occasional binge – and almost everyone I know can relate.
Health and weight-loss journeys are full of ups and downs. (amiright?)
The key is to recover from mistakes made with a positive attitude instead of giving up.
I know that it’s easy to give up. But it’s also hard to be uncomfortable and unhealthy.
If you’re like me, you know just what I mean. I have a history of letting myself get discouraged when I’ve made a health “mistake.” In the past, if I did something that wasn’t conducive to my goals, I’d let that get in my head. I’d say, “What’s the point?” And then I’d give up for a few weeks (sometimes even months) and really backtrack.
Lately I’ve decided that I wasn’t going to let that happen anymore. Each day is a new opportunity. Even if you eat poorly, there are ways to recover and push away the temptation to throw in the towel. Here’s what I’ve learned to do to help me stay on track (even after a minor detour).
10 Ways to Get Back on Track After a Binge
Please note: I am not a doctor! These are my personal tips on how to deal with occasional overeating. Please see a doctor if you need more help.
1. Chug that water.
You need to cleanse your body from the toxins your unhealthy eating or binge caused. Drink water until your urine runs clear to help filter out the bad stuff. This is especially important if you’ve consumed a lot of sodium.
2. Crush a workout.
Just because you ate poorly doesn’t mean you can’t workout. If you went on a large binge, start with easy cardio – a nice walk outside or 20 minutes walking on the treadmill. This will help your belly feel less full by helping your digestion along. Then you’ll be ready to crush a great workout – and potentially burn off a large portion of what you just ate.
3. Reset with a hot bath.
After your workout, help your body relax with a hot bath. You want to prepare your body for the next day so that you can feel great and crush your goals with a great workout. Use this time to relax and visualize a successful fresh start. I like to plan my next workout so that I don’t show up to the gym and sell myself short.
4. Get your fiber.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. After a binge, you run the risk of clogging up your system. Be sure to help your body cleanse itself by getting in your fruit and vegetables – you’ll get the vitamins your body craves and help your bowel movements along. This will help you get rid of that heavy feeling you sometimes get after a binge or unhealthy easting sesh.
5. Remove the temptation.
I used to think that throwing things out was wasteful – but isn’t it just as wasteful to overeat? If your binges are becoming a regular thing, take your moment of clarity and use it for good. Clean out your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Dump out the things that are really tempting to you (for me it’s Ranch Doritos) so that you’ll be less likely to repeat. (Out of sight, out of mind, right?) Pro Tip: Never grocery shop when hungry. Make smarter choices by planning your grocery trips with a list and avoid the inner aisles, which tend to be mostly processed foods.
6. Meal prep.
Sometimes if I choose to eat something unhealthy, it’s because I didn’t prepare anything healthy. Then I find myself in a hurry or famished and don’t make good choices. Because I know that happens all too often, I keep healthy snacks handy. If you want to take it a step further, plan out each of your meals for three days and prep them as much as possible. This will take the guesswork out of your meals when you’re on the go or on a tight schedule. It will help you stay full and your food decisions will be premeditated. I like to have some lean meat cooked up and some fruit and veggies chopped at all times.
Firstly, this will help with fiber. But this will also help you get a blast of vitamins and minerals and help you fight the sluggishness that usually comes with a binge. Just because you’ve had enough calories doesn’t mean you’ve had enough nourishment.
8. Go light for dinner.
If you’ve binged in the morning or midday, you need to go light for dinner. I don’t recommend skipping an entire meal or not eating for the rest of the day. You want your metabolism to burn up what you’ve binged, and if you stop eating, your body may hold onto the bad stuff longer. Reset with a light dinner like a high-protein salad (with grilled chicken, black beans, cottage cheese, etc.) and/or plenty of vegetables.
9. Get some accountability.
Scientific studies tell us that people who belong to fitness apps and communities online are more likely to stick to a health and fitness plan. They also say that if you partner up for a workout or go to a group fitness class, you’re more likely to keep showing up. Some even show that keeping a food journal helps, too. The moral of the story is: find someone or someplace to talk about your goals and stay accountable and inspired. I like the BodyBoard app for a virtual community, but I also like to participate in group personal training. For food tracking, I use MyFitnessPal. Pro Tip: If you’re keeping a journal, write down how your binge or cheat made you feel physically and emotionally.
10. Get a good night’s sleep.
If you want to get back on track, sleep on it. A good night’s sleep will help you wake up with energy and a clear mind – two things you definitely need to make healthy food choices and kill a workout. Reset by hitting the hay relatively early and minimizing your chances of interrupted sleep. Pro Tip: Put your screens away early and darken your room to help your mind and body shut down effectively.
Good luck! I hope that you can use these tips to help yourself break the cycle of self-destruction. Trust the process.
Need more tips? Read this post about how to rock your first group fitness class.