I did something bad. There’s even an Instagram picture to prove it. We were on our way home from a wonderful dinner with friends and needed gas for the car. I ever-so-innocently walked into Sheetz and came out with a bag . As I walked to the car in a mixture of shame and anticipation, I felt much like Adam and the forbidden fruit. I was about to do something really bad. I hadn’t been inside of a convenient store since early spring. The temptation became overwhelming and I was consumed by impulse. Clearly, I am not ready to be around mountains of junk food. BTW, don’t try the Mike’s. At least, I threw that away! The cookie was to-die-for, but I would have been better to have thrown it in the trash after eating a few bites!
There are times that these things happen, whether it be overeating on a special occasion, or a binge guided by sheer impulse and bad judgement. We are all human. We can only try to learn from our mistakes. As you can imagine, I woke up the next morning with a food hangover. If you are generally a healthy eater, you can relate to the situation in which I’m speaking. The symptoms of a food hangover include bloating, sluggishness, and extreme regret and grumpiness.
Most likely, my binge that night was due to my not being present while I was eating. My body was there, but my mind was not. I was so busy engaging in conversation that I forgot to really taste and appreciate my food. I think I must have gulped it down entirely too quickly! I don’t even remember the taste of my meal, other than it was good. Probably, if I’d put my fork down every now and then while eating, I would have fared much better. (Do you hear my frustration with myself?) Lesson learned. I must eat more slowly and I will remember to taste and appreciate my food.
Just in case this situation were to happen to you, these are the ways to bounce back from a binge….
- DON’T make yourself feel worse. It’s not the end of the world! We have all overindulged at at some point, and survived. No one has ever gained ten pounds from a single binge.
- DON’T overly restrict your diet over the next few days to “make up for being bad.” This will make you more likely to continue the cycle of deprivation dieting. Deprivation definitely leads to binges.
- DON’T punish yourself at the gym after a binge. Go for an extra walk or do some other light activity in addition to your usual workouts, but try to avoid the mindset of “working off” the calories you consumed. This,too, can lead to an unhealthy cycle of binging and over-exercising. If you feel sluggish after a binge, exercise will boost your mood and your metabolism.
- DO make your next snack or meal a healthy portion-controlled choice. One bad choice doesn’t have to become a day’s worth of bad choices. Since I was still full the morning after, I ate a small snack and then returned to my normal eating schedule at lunchtime.
- DO try to learn from your binge. Check in with yourself. Were you present when you ate your last meal? Was your binge caused from feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or weakness? From my binge, I learned that I definitely need to avoid the inside of convenient stores!
In hind sight, the junk food was a disappointment. It didn’t taste nearly as great I remembered from the past. It definitely didn’t bring me feelings of happiness. Really, it didn’t compare to the healthy, satisfying dinner of salmon and brussel sprouts I cooked for dinner the next night.
Remember, the overall goal is to seek balance. A healthy lifestyle is not defined by one single meal. Even the healthiest eaters in the world aren’t “perfect” all the time. In fact,a healthy-eating lifestyle includes small amounts of treats. It’s the combination of your choices over time that will create an overall healthy lifestyle!