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!)