We have all been there: eaten a ton, drank a ton, enjoying life a ton… and maybe a bit too much. We lay on the couch in a heap cursing and angry that a whole day turned into a whole weekend of excess. And maybe it turned into a whole MONTH or YEAR. I am here to tell you that it’s okay and that this happens to most normal human beings.
We have such a set idea of what is right and wrong to eat and do with our bodies. Society dictates that veering off course means you should punish yourself. I prefer not to live with such strict rules and self-hatred. I have goals for my body and self. But when I get off track, I just acknowledge that I have and get back to living my life intuitively and in line with what my goals are.
I see and hear lots of women and men that will starve themselves after a weekend of drinking or eating. They think they are resetting their health and then punish themselves for living normally. I want this cycle to STOP.
How do we make it stop? First, don’t beat yourself up. There is no use in punishing yourself for things that have happened. Getting upset or angry can actually make the situation worse. If you are an emotional eater, it can make you delve into a longer cycle of unhealthy behavior. There actually is a scientific explanation for why we start to crave fatty and sweet foods after a a time of deprivation. It all comes down to dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” neurotransmitter in our body. See here. Simplified, when we eat certain foods, our happy center triggers a response for us to seek more of what made us happy in the first place. The more we deny ourselves or deprive our bodies of certain foods the more this cycle becomes harder to stop.
Second, hop back on the intuitive eating bandwagon. Here are some great suggestions for doing just that:
- Recommitting is important. Instead of saying “I shouldn’t have eaten ______” or “I am super disappointed that I had ______,” say “I need to recommit to my lifestyle.”
- Drinking water will help with any cravings but also, after a long weekend of excess I find that I am super thirsty!
- Planning your meals will reinforce the commitment and will ensure that you get eating back to normal. Failure to plan is planning to fail.
- EAT. This is probably the hardest thing to rationalize. “But I should starve myself to make up/balance what damage I incurred this weekend!” While it makes sense to our minds, it doesn’t quite work this way biologically. Your body needs fuel and denying it that will just make things worse.
- I don’t keep a food journal but I just like the idea of repeating a week of good meals that make me feel normal again.
- Reminding yourself of the positive will change your perspective and make it easier to get back on track.
- MOVE! I know that my body was craving some good cardio after this weekend so I honored my body and moved it in a way that made me happy.
- The spiral is REAL, people. Don’t just say “F^&* it! I already had a horrible weekend, let’s turn that into a MONTH!” The only thing you should have a month of is your birthday!
- Veggies. I love veggies and they are full of fiber and vitamins that will help refuel your body and assist you on getting back on track.
- Rinse and repeat. The more habitual and intuitive these things become, the easier it gets. At first these steps will feel like a ton of work. I promise it gets easier!
Are you surprised that this list doesn’t say anything about starvation or juice cleanses? Remember, it is about honoring your body and not hating it.
Question of the Day:
- How do you get back on track after a time of excess? Any tips?