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FALLING OFF THE WAGON…AND THEN GETTING BACK ON AGAIN.

August 13th, 2009 No Comments

— By Nutritionista

A few weeks ago, I got a question from awesome reader Emily:

I had a horrible weekend of eating… I woke up this morning with a stomach ache, a sense of disappointment over my nutrition-less choices and a overwhelming desire to clean-up my act.  Do you have any tips on how to make amends for a weekend of binge eating?  Should I juice for a day or two?  Turn to fruits/veggies or would lean protein be better? Perhaps, I should just stop eating all-together?  What is best practice for undoing a weekend of food-sin?

  • First of all, don’t worry!

Weekends like this happen to the best of us. Even if you’ve been eating healthy for ages, falling off the wagon at some point is inevitable. Nobody has perfect willpower! They say that willpower is like a muscle that can get fatigued after frequent use, so it’s bound to weaken at some point. When it does, follow the DOs and DON’Ts of getting back on the wagon after a weekend (or week!) of disastrous eating:


Not only is that unproductive, it’s COUNTER-productive. Making yourself feel bad is never the road to anything helpful. Know that this happens to everyone and a few days of less-than-great eating is NOT going to make or break your health or your body. It’s what you do consistently (about 80% of the time) that counts in the long run.

  • DON’T starve yourself.

That will just keep you firmly on the rollercoaster of binging and then trying to compensate by not eating the proper amount. Eat a normal amount of calories when you’re ready to get back on track. I like to apply the saying, “If you splurge one day, spend wisely the next.” It applies just as much to diet as it does to finances. It doesn’t mean don’t spend anything at all, it just means spend smarter.

  • DON’T slash all your tires.

In one of her podcasts, Jillian Michaels (trainer from Biggest Loser) talks about how it’s common for people to eat one cookie and then think, “Well, I’ve already messed up, might as well eat the whole box.” She points out that’s basically equivalent to getting a flat tire and thinking, “Well, I already have one flat tire, might as well slash them all.” If you go overboard for a meal, or a day, or a week, you can stop at ANY TIME. You don’t need to wait until tomorrow, or Monday, or next month.

  • DO eat cleanly.

When I talk about clean eating, that just means eating as much unprocessed food as possible. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, etc. The closer the food is to its natural state, the better! I find that after a couple days of overdoing it, eating a ton of raw fruits and veggies helps my system get back on track (though I wouldn’t suggest eating those foods exclusively). Raw produce has tons of nutrients and fiber, which can help move all that salty, bad-fatty, and sugary stuff out.

  • DO move.

There’s nothing like getting sweaty to get over a food hangover! Don’t overdo it in the gym, but do stick to your normal exercise regime, even though you might be feeling extra sluggish. The day after a weekend of indulgence, I like to do a longer period of steady exercise rather than a shorter, more-intense session, but really, it’s whatever feels good to you.

  • DO hydrate.

Being low on fluids will only make you feel worse. Try to counteract the bloat you may be feeling with plenty of H2O (and definitely avoid any heavy or caloric drinks!).