How to Bounce Back After a Bad Eating Day

August 21, 2012 · 4 comments


Bad eating days that leave me feeling guilt-stricken are very few and far between these days. I have worked hard to conquer my emotional eating demons and learn how to become a more mindful eater, and I also have vowed to stop beating myself up when I fall off track. I’m hard on myself as it is, and living in a city that constantly reminds me that there is always someone better doesn’t exactly do nice things for my self-esteem. So why add to the negative self-talk by giving myself a slap on the hand every time a piece of chocolate passes my lips? No thank you. So let me just cut to the chase and confess my sins before I conveniently let the opportunity pass me by: On Sunday night I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Milk & Cookies ice cream. The entire pint. Within an hour. Yes, it’s true. I (sometimes) binge on ice cream and I’m a Health Coach.

Honestly, I thought I was past my ice cream issues and binging all together. I can’t even remember the last time I ate to this much excess. But there’s nothing like a setback to snap me back to my reality: I will always have to be conscious about what I eat and what I’m feeling when a craving strikes. Usually I am able to talk myself down from the ledge, if you will, but not this time. I didn’t even try.

I think there were a few things that triggered my binge: eating an unhealthy dinner (Mexican), combined with a case of the Sunday blues and my imminent “girl time” of the month. But, I have since dusted myself off and moved on. How did I do it?

So, this ice cream mishap occurred on Sunday and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still thinking about it. Clearly, I am. But every time negative dialogue enters my brain, I force myself to push it out of my mind. I think some people believe that being strict and hard on themselves will help prevent them from making the same mistake again, but honestly I think it does the exact opposite. Negative feelings are very detrimental to making healthy choices, especially if you are someone with an emotional eating background.

And so my bounce-back plan usually is to eat a healthy-ish meal the next chance I get. What do I mean? Well, if I go crazy, diet-strict on myself and eat like a bird the day after a binge, the chances of me binging again (and sooner) are a lot higher. So I ease back into healthy eating. Yesterday for breakfast I fixed myself a bowl of oatmeal topped with a banana and blueberries and a generous scoop of almond butter. I didn’t count the calories in my head or measure out my portions. And then, still feeling a bit down about what happened on my way to work, I consciously allowed myself to get my favorite Starbucks treat: Grande Soy Misto. I just wasn’t quite ready to deprive myself of anything at that moment—within reason, of course.

Once I got to work, I drank cup after cup of water as I usually do and slowly I started to feel better. By the time lunch rolled around, I was actually craving greens again. Phew! I went to the cafeteria and fixed this salad. Normally, I don’t add two proteins (salmon and eggs, here), but again…baby steps. I also added a few potato wedges on the side, but I consciously skipped the feta cheese I usually have, and I didn’t even miss it.

That evening, I had a graduation picnic with my IIN study group in the park. I filled up on veggies, two bite-sized tortilla wraps, quinoa and fruit, and I had a small sliver of Tyler’s I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Cheesecake for dessert. (I’m posting the recipe soon!) Oh, and a handful of popcorn was consumed, too. Again, I let myself indulge perhaps more than I usually would, but I reigned it in just when I started to feel full—and tempted to reach for the chocolate Vegan cupcakes!

I apply the same “rule” for exercise, too. Yesterday I did 20 minutes of my Body by Bethenny yoga DVD, a series of pushups and glute exercises and that was it. Nice and easy, slowly getting back into my routine. This morning, I was feeling (almost) back to my old self again and went out for an interval run on the track in my ‘hood, followed by an Ellen-designed heart pumping, boot camp series. It felt great!

See? Baby steps. Easy transitions. No diet tricks or shame-talking required.

Tell me: How do you bounce back after a bad eating day? And does anyone else have a food confession to share? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

lizac August 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I love that we both had ice cream on Sunday after our Mexican feast! HA! What can I say, Greeks love to eat!  I worked out pretty hard yesterday and this morning and plan to be psycho and go to spin tonight.  Lately, I have been working out more simply bc it makes me feel better and helps my stress…I feel lucky to be able to do whatever I want, when I want, whether it be something healthy or not.


Wannabe Health Nut August 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

 @lizac Indeed, they do! Great job on the workouts!!!


beccab August 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Good for you! I will have to say most of my weekends involve some kind of splurge (or two or three!), but I try to get back on track by Monday for the week. This weekend I had two smores over a campfire, yum!


Wannabe Health Nut August 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm

 @beccab Campfire S’mores ALWAYS seem worth it, don’t they?! Yum!


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