The “Fix” for a Cheat Day Gone Bad

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We’ve all been there. You’ve just finished up your fourth plate of cobbler at the family picnic, and you wish you could travel back in time (DeLorean? Time Turner? Tardis?) to prevent the impending diet disaster.  

Take these crucial steps to cope with your food coma (and prevent the next one):

Take a deep breath, and step away from your computer – Well, don’t step away just yet. Finish reading this first.

No goji berries or detox plan are going to help you out of this situation. Googling fast diet fixes (or “time travel”) will only dredge up some of the worst advice the internet has to offer. Contrary to some popular listicles, no foods will magically reset your body after a “cheat day.”

You may be uncomfortably full now, but know that, just like fad diets, this too shall pass. 

Don’t do a shame detox – It can be tempting to beat yourself up for eating too much or eating the “wrong” thing. But being uncomfortably full is already bad enough, and shaming yourself will only make you feel worse.

When it comes to actually changing your behavior, shame and guilt are bad motivators. Instead of focusing on what not to do, it’s often more helpful to focus on what to do. Break the shame cycle by arming yourself with helpful strategies for next time. 

  • Listen to your body – Your body will let you know when you’re hungry, so pay attention to what it’s telling you. Before eating, check in with yourself to gauge your hunger, and check in again halfway through the meal. Do this each time you eat, even if you’re out at a restaurants or celebrating with friends.
  • Eat mindfully – Try to limit distractions while eating. Take time to learn what triggers you to overeat (being sleepy, coping with emotions, eating with friends, eating while watching TV), and be prepared to limit or avoid these triggers. Not all distractions can, or should, be eliminated. Eating with friends is a big part of many of our social lives. Just be prepared to check in more often while eating out with friends, and bring home leftovers when you need to. 

These tips will help the next time you feel compelled to eat a little too much. But remember, even if you do, don’t beat yourself up about it. Your goal is to have a healthy relationship with food, not for it to remind you of shame and guilt.

If you need more help to eat mindfully, our mindful eat-mojis infographic is a great visual that can help!