My father always says, “There’s two kinds of people in the world….the Irish…and those who wish they were Irish”. Which means my Dad’s a big fan of corned beef and cabbage, and a nice Irish Whiskey. If the restaurant I was in on St. Patrick’s Day Saturday was any indication…there’s a LOT of people wanting to be Irish—the Guiness couldn’t be poured fast enough! St. Pat’s may not be an “official” holiday, but for many, it was a day to overeat and drink. We all occasionally overindulge on weekends, but it’s really not the reward you need after watching what you eat all week long. Having a cheat meal now and then is actually a great way to stave off cravings and binge eating, but overindulging every weekend can lead to problematic, compulsive eating behaviors.
If you step on the scale Monday after two days of overeating, you may be shocked to see a three, four or even five pound gain! But did you REALLY gain that much in just two days? Probably not. Remember, one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. To gain five pounds, you would have had to eaten over 17-thousand calories, and even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps would find that challenging! Also, keep in mind that your scale weighs everything…. water, undigested food (even if it will all later be burned off), and waste your body hasn’t eliminated yet, as well as bone, fat and muscle. You likely ingested much more sodium than usual, which retains water. It’s probably why you feel “fat” and bloated.
It can be really hard to “start over” on Monday with healthy eating. Mondays are difficult enough, right? But if you begin with baby steps, you can quickly get back on track.
- Start by forgiving yourself. Don’t call yourself names, don’t beat yourself up. Today is a “do-over”, and your self talk will be “I can do this!”
- Drink more water. You need to flush out all that excess sodium.
- Get back to sensible eating. You may still feel full, and want to skip breakfast, but don’t. You’ll just end up hungry later–and likely to overeat again. Instead, try having just a small bowl of low-fat yogurt and berries. Eat several small meals throughout the day with plenty of protein and vegetables.
- Get your food journal out again. Whether you use my favorite smart phone app or just a notebook, logging what you eat is the easiest way to be accountable.
- MOVE. You may feel sluggish, or lazy after eating so much. You may have to do an easier workout, but that’s ok. Go for a walk, try a new class. But find a way to move your body.
Don’t get discouraged by a weekend setback. It may have been a step backward, but it’s NOT an excuse to give up.