DON’T go on another diet before reading this!
So you’ve blown your low-fat, no carb, ultra-lean concoction you’ve been calling a diet for the past 10 days. Devastation. Nothing hit you this hard since the demise of Han Solo in The Force Awakens (too soon?). What do you do now? What could possibly be done to rectify this tragedy? Well, sit tight and I’ll tell you.
To start with, the only way to truly succeed at a diet is to stop dieting. How counter-intuitive…but it’s true. Eating well is a lifestyle change, not a ’90 day 10% body-fat reduction plan’ that probably has you on a regimen of half a chicken breast and 2 lettuce leaves a day. No wonder the people who go on these fads end up gaining even more weight than they were carrying beforehand, they’re practically malnourished by the end of it! A healthy balanced diet is not a fad and definitely doesn’t prohibit any food groups – we need them all to function properly both mentally and physically.
Take that on board before you go any further.
So what’s the first step to getting back on track after a pig out? Well, like any setback, you have to accept it before you go any further. Accept that it happened and forgive yourself because what’s the point in berating yourself over something you can’t change? It happened and there’s no changing it, no going back, so beating yourself up won’t do jack shit besides make you feel even worse and sap your motivation. Frittering that away is a terrible method of self-sabotage – you’ll get nothing done!
So you’re sat down feeling bloated and sorry for yourself with a belly full of food; go get some water. Although it feels like it, you have not gained 50 pounds. That’s impossible – I’m pretty sure you’d have to have died at least a couple of times before that happens. Most of the weight you’ve suddenly gained is water retention. The consumption of carbohydrates and salt causes this, so splurging on food high in both of these will cause you to gain water weight – this is what makes us bloated after a lot of food. If you start drinking more and more water, it’ll flow straight through you and naturally the body will have no choice but to excrete out the excess water retention.
The next step is to get some exercise; wait until the next day for this because all that food sloshing around with you will only make matters worse, I promise. Exercising makes us sweat and sweat is almost completely made up of water, so you’ll not only be improving yourself overall, but getting rid of more of that false water weight. Your mindset here is quite crucial because if you go and work out thinking about how much fat and calories you need to burn, then your workout won’t be great. Try taking a different approach; focusing solely on what your body can do. I’d recommend this to anyone regardless of their fitness goals – you’ll naturally make more gains/lose more weight/perform better because you’re pushing your body towards it’s potential, not to achieve a certain look.
When it comes to what to eat the next day, go with exactly what your body is telling you. This is difficult because many of us eat out of habit regardless of whether we’re actually hungry or not. An example of this would be mealtimes; many of us see the time and realise it’s time for some food so we just mindlessly go and eat regardless of how we feel. Classic case of conditioning that. But yeah, if you’re not hungry then don’t eat and if you are, tuck in. Don’t starve yourself at all; if you need food, you need food. If you start down that path then you could find yourself in a vicious cycle of starving yourself for a time and then going overboard – something you DO NOT want.
I think the most crucial thing to do is to go back to normal eating as quickly as possible. ‘Normal’ means a balanced diet consisting of all food groups without depraving yourself of any of your favourite things to eat. Give it a few days of being back on your usual badass routine and it’ll be like it never happened.