In the beginning, there was your lofty expectations of how your life would be once you started being healthier. You'd workout most days. You'd get enough sleep. You'd be calmer and focussed. And, of course, you'd eat a balanced diet. Sure, there'd be the odd treat here and there, but mostly, lots of whole foods. Lots of healthy meal prep.
In this dreamy vision for your #FitLife, you probably didn't see yourself scarfing back Girl Scout cookies with a whipped cream chaser. You probably didn't see yourself, exhausted and zombie-eyed, ordering a large pizza at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night and devouring the whole wheel yourself, feeling both incredibly relieved and unbearably guilty. You probably didn't think that your physically healthier self would still be susceptible to extreme acts of indulgence.
Let's just get this out of the way: everyone eats to much at some point. Our trainers do it. Your super fit keto-vegan-wheat-grass-eating coworker does it. Buddhist monks do it. Eating too much happens. The reasons it happens vary. It can happen because you haven't been eating enough and your body craves a good ol' feed up. It can happen because you're tired and your willpower is shot. (There is a strong correlation between willpower and exhaustion.) It can happen because you are emotionally distraught: bad news, a bad break-up bad day at work. Regardless, it happens because you are mentally depleted, physically depleted or both. While the easy advice to give here would be to tell you not let your body/mind get that exhausted — to practice relentless self-care at all times — that's not the way life works. Best made plans get laid to waste. Shit happens.
We should always to our best to get the sleep, activity and proper nutrition we need to ensure we can operate at peak, but sometimes, the best we can do that day is not the best we ideally want for ourselves. And really, that's okay.
This Post-Binge Bible is here to help you navigate the guilt and shame that often accompanies a food binge. It's here to guide you through negative feelings so that they don't cripple you. In short, it's here to give you a loving kick in the ass and a huge hug.
Keep reading. Here are your post-binge lessons.
The Post-Binge Bible: Getting Over Overeating
- One binge will not undo your hard work.
Here's a little equation. It will help put things in perspective.
____________ = RESULTS
Simple, right? Just like you did not lose a bunch of fat after a single day of clean eating and exercise, you will not gain a bunch of fat after a single binge session. Sure, the scale may go up the next day, but this is most likely the result of bloating —not actual fat. Here's the deal: sugar is a carb and excessive consumption of any carb can cause fluid retention thanks of a higher insulin level that causes your kidneys to hold water. This phenomenon is also called false fat, and will go away if you return to your healthy eating.
So, if you've just had a heroic binge, for the love of mini-powdered donuts, don't weigh yourself for at least of couple days. What you see on the scale is not an accurate reflection of where you're at. Pound back some water, and pound out your next workout.
- You shouldn’t try to compensate.
You're thinking about it, but don't do it. If you've just binged, don't over-exercise and/or undereat the next day. Just get back to eating clean and exercise as usual. There's nothing wrong with pushing a little harder during your sweat 'sesh, maybe upping your weights (if you're ready to and can lift safely) or adding on a killer two minute finishing move like bear tricep push-ups with a weighted vest, but there's absolutely NO needs to double or triple up on your workouts.
Bear Tricep Push-Up — try it!
The reason for this is two-fold: first, remember, a single binge will not have really set you back. Second, well....keep reading.
- NEVER punish yourself.
Punishing yourself for a binge is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, mentally. It reinforces your belief that you've done something wrong...and you haven't. Have you noticed that not once has this article mentioned anything about "getting you back on track?"
There's a reason for that. Binging is NOT off-track. Eating too much, as already stated, is human. The occasional binge falls completely within the realm of normal behaviour, and will not negatively impact your hardwon gains.
The cavet: occasional has been the operative word here. You can't overeat on the regular and expect it not to show after a while. Sure, you can go on vacation and load up on gelato and fresh baguettes for a few days with no weighty repercussions, but do that everyday for a couple weeks and you shouldn't be surprised if you have to shoehorn yourself into your skinny jeans.
____________ = RESULTS
So what if you binged? Learn from it: did you not eat enough during the day? If so, then try to make sure you meal plan and have healthy food with you to munch on so you don't get to the point of wanting to eat everything and anything.
If you chronically binge eat, it is worth your while to consider intermittent fasting (IF). You can learn more about IF here, but the point is this: IF requires that you eat everything you need to eat in a day within 8 hours. Then, you fast for 16 — nothing can pass your lips but water, black tea or black coffee.
The no-nonsense structure of IF often appeals to people who thrive on clear limits. It also allows you to eat a lot for 8 hours of the day, and while most of it should be clean, whole, healthy food, because your body is burning more fat through an extended fasting period, this food lifestyle is way less restrictive than others. Unlike keto or paleo or Atkins, with IF there is absolutely nothing off the table.
What's more, IF has been shown to balance hormones and help you sleep better: two causes of binge eating.
If you want to try IF and get the best start possible, grab our new ShredFast Intermittent Fasting Guide. It has all the intel you need to get started, including our two-phase approach for optimal results — as well as 40+ meals, snacks and desserts to keep you happily and healthily enjoying the process.
Even when you IF, however, and even if you do everything right to the best of your ability everyday, overeating will still happen. But if you use these strategies and remember not to beat yourself up over it, it will happen less. Binges will be a blip on the radar of your healthy, beautiful life.