How to Stick to a Diet - After You Blow It!
You woke up today and the cravings you've had are finally too much. Whatever your go-to food is, you have it today... And a lot of it.
Since you already blew your diet, you should probably enjoy the rest of the day, right? Or you feel like why should you even try anymore, you can't even control what you eat.
Related - Calorie Cycling for Faster Fat Loss
While I've tried both of those situations, I'll tell you that before you beat yourself up, you should take a step back from your goals and get back on track instead of calling it quits.
I've been there, done that for everything. Hell, I'm still fat to prove it.
But there are a few things you can do to change everything up and get back on track.
How to Stick to a Diet
First thing's first... You've eaten too much of something or you've eaten some "forbidden food." I guess that means you should stop trying to lose weight, right?
As dumb as that sounds, that's what we tell ourselves. We realize what we've done and we may as well just stop trying to lose weight and eat right.
Staying positive is going to help keep your fitness journey on track. You set these goals for a reason, so stick to them.
Whether you have a wedding coming up or you are trying to get healthy for your grandchildren, we all have a reason to get in shape and get healthy.
Keeping a positive outlook on life, in general, will help you when you slip up. Remember, this is a life-long race, not a sprint - People take breaks during a marathon and still place high. The trick is to stick with it and not abandon ship after one slip up.
Make Your Next Meal Healthier
One meal that you've eaten more than you should have is alright. Overeating one meal is different than a whole day, week, or month.
If you've planned out your meals but decided to binge out with the guys for lunch, stick to the same meal you were going to eat for dinner.
Skipping or starving yourself the next meal doesn't work. Trust me, I've tried it and it only makes things worse.
Enjoy whatever you overate, know that you need to watch how much you eat, and keep on going.
If you have trigger foods, don't keep them in the house.
Every once in a while I want some mac and cheese. Now, if you're like me, a box is your "serving" and that's just how it is. Sure, cooking a well-balanced meal where you have some chicken, green beans, and some mac and cheese is all fine and dandy, but I still eat the whole box.
Knowing this, I keep those foods away from my pantry until I have allotted the calories to do so.
Building up willpower is similar to muscles; you have to work it to maintain it. My willpower is like the calves on a bench bro, they only exist if I really dig deep down.
So learn what your trigger foods are and get rid of them. You can enjoy them in moderation throughout the week, but if you simply can't control yourself, remove it from your pantry.
Increase Your Budget
Increasing how many calories you can eat is a great way to incorporate foods you love.
Are you going out to The Cheesecake Factory tonight for dinner? Try walking more at work, parking at the back of the parking lot, and even spending an extra 10 to 20 minutes on the treadmill.
While it doesn't seem like much, the extra sweat session is great for your heart, and you'll equate the more calorically dense foods with needing to exercise more.
You'll either quit craving them as often or you'll start finding that healthy balance.
Don't Starve Yourself
Skipping your next meal after you've gone overboard doesn't really help as much as you think.
Instead of restriction, go right back to what you were supposed to be eating.
You definitely didn't need those extra calories, but an extra 30 minutes walking around your neighborhood will be more beneficial to you than cutting out your next meal.
Chalk up your splurge as a splurge and continue on your weight loss journey. Knowing when, where, and how many calories you are going to be eating so that you can plan accordingly.
We are in the shape we are because of our lifestyle.
Changing our lifestyle that we've spent years and decades "perfecting" is a hard thing to do. Creating a lasting change is the goal, not a simple diet.
I invite you to write a food log that includes how you feel, your goals, and anything else you feel is important to get out. Addressing your emotional eating, your trigger foods, and how you feel before, during, and after you give in will give you insight on what you need to change.
Confide in a friend or find a counselor that can help you with these issues.
Find a community of helpful and uplifting people who will help push you along your fitness journey - there are plenty of them out there.
Splurging is a part of life. Enjoy your foods in moderation and keep them from hindering your progress.
Wrapping It Up
Look, I still occasionally binge eat. I sometimes may spend $20 at Taco Bell, and I sometimes may eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's (last night).
Your splurges are part of life and instead of thinking restriction, think moderation. In fact, I wrote an article on 5 reasons you should lose weight eating what you love.
It works, you just have to have control. Instead of buying a combo meal and an additional side dish or sandwich, order a water and keep the combo small. I've lost a significant amount of weight doing this due to not having a refrigerator, and it's worked great.
The key to losing weight is moderation, not restriction. Eating a cheeseburger and fries is great, but you should plan when that happens so you can eat lighter the rest of the day.
Stick with this, it'll be worth it in the end. It sucks making the first few habitual changes but once the train is rolling, there's no stopping it.