It’s Monday and you’re running late. After an hour long battle, you’re ready to go to work; but not after you completely destroyed your bedroom and closet just to put on that old pair of pants and that black sweater outfit you’ve affectionally named Old Reliable. You feel like crying. We’ve all been there.
Maybe you are just having an off day, maybe you had three too many pieces of your coworker’s birthday cake at the office on Friday or maybe it was the leftover pizza and beer you had for breakfast but you are just not feeling too great about the choices you have made the past few days when it comes to food. You’re upset. You’re resentful. You feel sick & you are still hungry.
Reactions to overeating & drinking is very normal. For some people over-eating can be as non-invasive as a belly ache or a two-day bloat; but for others, over-indulgence can cause some major anxiety, guilt and even depression that can really effect their day-to-day lives. And as a lot of my clients have reported, the effort needed to deal with these emotions seriously affects your motivation to keep pursuing your fitness goals and dreams. We call this falling off the wagon.
Contrary to common belief, it’s not wrong to associate food with feelings, it’s a very natural part of life. As humans, we are designed to have our basic urges work in conjunction with our elevated since of feeling to make us experience intense relationships and connections with the activities that provide us pleasure such as hanging out with your family and friends around a huge thanksgiving dinner, eating your favorite dessert with a boyfriend/girlfriend or celebrating over drinks and appetizers with co-workers. We are social beings and food and drinks play a major role when creating an atmosphere to inspire certain feelings with-in us, there is no denying that. It’s a very powerful thing that all humans deal with. Still, we all have the capacity to observe this relationship with food and apply appropriate actions in conjunction with our goals in our lives. We all have a choice.
It’s easier said than done, I know. But the advice I give every one is always the same on how to deal with over-eating.
1. Remove Guilt!
It’s important to realize that over-eating happens, even to the strictest of dieters. We can’t control our diet 100% of the time and live a mentally healthy lifestyle or even a rigid one. There will always be a breaking point, a slip up, a trip: it’s in our DNA. Thankfully, living a successfully balance life comes from the capacity to be flexible. Realize that sometimes, it’s completely okay to go out and have an extra large sundae on a date night with your boyfriend and it’s also okay if you ate way too many hot dogs at the Ranger’s game. Part of making a life style change instead of being on a diet is understanding that we make mistakes in our daily diet/food choices and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with not choosing the healthy option 100% of the time. If you can look at yourself objectively, learn from your choices and apply them to the future - there is value and knowledge gained from making that choice. Every experience, good and bad, can be used to better yourself as an athlete and as a person, so don’t sweat it - let it roll off your shoulders.
2. Eat Normally
Often when my clients come to me after over-eating, they all have the same game-plan. It’s always along the lines of this:
Hey Brittany! Sorry I’ve missed my check-in. I’ve a bad weekend and Monday, I totally fell off on my macros and training, but I am back at the gym hard this morning. I decided to cut down my macros pretty significantly for the next few days so that I can make-up for the extra food I have ate over the weekend. I am already starving, but I am determined.
Let me be clear, you should never “make-up” for over eating by under eating. Your body needs food to fuel its functions through-out the day as well as provide the building block to sculpt your body of your dreams. This does not mean you can eat whatever you want or continue on your weekend long feast. Get back to your macros - those are the numbers you need to be reaching to be successful, and that alone. Diet makes up 80% of your physical progress, so it’s not something to play with. Yo-yo dieting, also known as restricting and binging, can severely damage your metabolism and over-time can cause long-term damage that may not be able to be reversed through good diet practices. To stay on track, you have to just get back to normal. Simple as that!
3. Get Back in the Gym & Train it out!
Get in the gym and train it out! It’s amazing what some physical activity will do for you! With almost all of my client, there is a cheat meal or a re-feed day in their diet scheduled weekly. This is because a surplus of food under the right physical conditions can shock the system resulting in significant gains. The best thing you can do is create the ultimate atmosphere for your body to use the surplus of macros to it’s advantage. Getting in the gym, increasing your weight/lowering your reps for a few days after and getting back to your macros can seriously wipe your body clean of any diet set back. So get in the gym, get back to your macro and you could actually flip this “negative” into a positive and see some major gains!
Now this won’t always be the case everyone, it’s important to talk to your trainer before you implement an increase in weight to your program, but progress also comes from being consistent. No one ever saw adverse effects from being more physically active after they have fallen off, so get back out there and show them what you got!
4. Tomorrow is a New Day!
So I know this sounds cheesy but this is an importing step and it shouldn’t be skipped. “Tomorrow is a New Day!” If you are one of my clients, you know this is one of my favorite super generic things to say, haha. But it’s really true!
You always have the power to change your life. Take a moment and reflect on why I started this journey in the first place. This mental exercise is something that I personally always draw strength from when I feel like giving up and something I always tell my clients to do. Go out to a place alone, where you feel calm/pressure and can still be active: like a hike up a mountain, on a trail, even a football stadium. It really doesn’t matter where, just get out of the house/your gym/comfort zone. Fine a nice spot to sit down, take a minuet to sit in silence, and then pull out your phone. Look at some old photos, check out your old blog post or social media feeds and see where you were mentally when you started your journey. For me, it’s always a series of Facebook photos that show my barely-there self on the beach, smiling wide. For the people who saw that post, maybe that’s all the photo was, a smile. But for me, I know the pain I felt inside; it wasn’t a smile. It was a starting off point. When you find the photos, reflect on why you started being curious in a healthier lifestyle. When you take a moment to stop and really think about it, you will know why you started. There is always an opportunity to be successful, to change, to be the best you. But you have to seize it, just as you did before, and then you will have successfully beat any funk you have been going through. If you have the mindset that you will never give up, despite the set backs, you will always achieve your goals. So pick-yourself up, tomorrow is a new day!
Till next time,