What to do when you overeat? 🍔
You have a meal/day/weekend of overeating and you think you’ve stuffed up. It’s tempting to react by writing yourself off, feeling guilty, or starving yourself or to try to exercise it off. But none of this actually works, so what should you do?
Don’t starve yourself but listen to your hunger and fullness signals. One day of overeating doesn’t mean you should starve yourself; this has negative emotional and physical impacts and leads to binge-restrict-binge eating. Listen to your body; you may not feel like breakfast or you may feel fuller on less food. This is your your body auto-regulating.
Rate your hunger and if you’re hungry then eat. Don’t deliberately skip meals or cut out food groups. Rate your hunger from 1-10 and try waiting until you’re around 7/10 to eat. Start to identify physical and emotional cues of true hunger such as feeling weak, dizzy, light-headed, moody, HANGRY – you don’t want to get that far.
Don’t try to earn/burn off the food you ate. It’s a vicious cycle and an unhealthy, ultimately fruitless path to follow by “earning or burning” food e.g “I’m going to workout extra hard so I can eat a Pizza”. Food is linked to social and emotional health and trying to ‘earn’ it creates an unhealthy relationship. You can’t out exercise food; it’s easy to overeat by 1000s cals but very hard to work that off! Just stay active and move as you usually would.
Don’t write yourself off or feel guilty. You can’t change the past, there’s no point dwelling on it. What you can do is reflect on it. Firstly what were the positives from overeating- emotional benefits, social benefits, taste, satisfaction etc. What could you learn from it and do differently? Could you eat more slowly? Could you have chosen a lower cal option that still gave you the enjoyment? Etc.
In the grand scheme of things overeating for a whole week is only 2% of your potential yearly meals. So don’t write yourself off for the next few weeks/months because of it.
Have a plan to get back on track with the habits you were building. Set a date, write out a plan, find someone to keep you accountable. We all deviate from the plan sometimes but it’s how you react to it that matters and determines whether it’s just a temporary lapse or a total relapse.