Whether you had a lapse in willpower or you simply splurged, what do you do? Most of us would throw in the towel and just chalk the whole day off... But that's not the best way.
Indulging in foods that you love is okay, the problem comes when we don't account for those calories.
Related - 6 Strategies to Help the Binge Eater
Before you beat yourself up for "breaking your diet" (we'll get to that later), take a step back and get back on track.
Some days are bad and we want to indulge in our favorite foods. While doing so isn't necessarily bad, having an all-you-can-eat free-for-all the whole day is.
So What Should You Do If You Overate?
Once you've made note that you've screwed up, I want you to forget about it. Clean slate, just like that plate you licked clean.
The next 6 steps are important to follow - they will push you back on track and they will keep you from spiraling or ruining your chances of making progress.
6 Steps to Take After You Blow Your Calorie Budget
First thing's first, you should be logging your food intake. Whether you are using an app, a paper journal, or simply taking a picture of your food will help you refocus on your goals.
You see what's working, what's not working, and what you need to improve on.
#1 - Increase Your Calorie Budget
If you're asking how you can increase your calorie budget, would you believe me if I said exercise?
Planning on having a piece of cheesecake for dinner? Instead of eating your usual highly-processed fast food lunch and candy for breakfast, plan your day around the cheesecake.
That means you should strive to get some extra steps in, go harder during your workout, and eating lighter throughout the day. These extra calories you've managed to add to your budget will keep that cheesecake from ruining your progress.
Moderation and planning your meals and when you indulge in tasty treats is important for long-term health.
#2 - Make Your Next Meal Healthy
Having a day that you've indulged in something doesn't have a huge impact on your progress. It will, however, if you make this indulging a habit.
Instead of "starting over tomorrow," start eating right your next meal. You don't have to chalk a whole day off if you jump back on track.
You'll feel good that you did and it won't cause any of those feelings of wanting to quit.
#3 - Don't Starve Yourself
The best thing to do after we just binged on some food is to skip the next meal, right? Wrong.
Skipping the next meal or severely restricting your calories the following day to make up for that splurge only will backfire and will set you up on a vicious cycle. Overeat, starve, overeat, starve.
Instead of skipping a meal, chalk it off as a splurge and continue with your plan.
#4 - Keep a Positive Mindset
Regain your focus if you've fallen off the wagon. Remember why you started.
Are you training for a marathon? Do you want to look good at your wedding? Whatever it is, keep a positive outlook and focus on your goals - not your mistakes.
#5 - Assess Your Barriers and Make a Plan
So that box of Thin Mints you just ate wasn't the best idea. You forgot to say no to that pint of ice cream, and you definitely didn't mean to eat that bag of chips.
Before being hard on yourself, assess your environment. Do you have a lot of external pressures to blame? Maybe it's the friends that like to push us to "just have a little" or the pesky co-worker that doesn't understand what you mean when you say "no I don't want Burger King."
If you find yourself eating poorly during social situations, it's time to stand up and embrace saying no.
#6 - Find a Support Group
If you deal with emotional eating or have barriers you need to change, talking to a professional to address these habits is an option.
Confide in your best friend that you trust, and let them know your goals. If your friend cares about you, they will stop trying to split that banana split or ask if you want to buy pizza.
Engaging in online communities and helping others overcome their fears and obstacles will motivate you and help you stay on track.
Wrapping It Up
Splurges are a normal part of life. We are supposed to live a little and enjoy as much as possible.
Being mindful of what you eat and eat those foods in moderation if you want a long-lasting healthy life that you enjoy living.