Overindulged? Eaten more than you planned? Maybe you feel like you’ve completely blown your weight loss plan or come face to face with the fact that it just isn’t going to work for you.
When you’ve been eating too much, here are five steps to get back on track.
- Keep overeating in perspective. Eating too much, even a binge, is not going to make you instantly obese or permanently erase weight loss progress you’ve already made. What does have the ability to sink you is the way you think about what’s happened. You want to avoid the “now I’ve blown it, I might as well finish the whole bag” syndrome or the “I ate too much now I have to starve myself all day tomorrow” mindset (which just sets you up to get too hungry and “blow it” again at the end of the day). The smart, effective approach is to acknowledge that overeating happened, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward. Let yourself off the hook. Beating yourself up or laying on the guilt isn’t going to help you lose weight (and it may well trigger emotional eating).
- Drink a glass of water and squeeze in some exercise. Make your next step, your very next action, a smart one that you feel good about. Hydrate, go for a walk, dance around your living room or work up a sweat. Even ten minutes devoted to taking a positive step can help you reset and believe that you have course-corrected and are back on track. This will also help you start to cement in the habit of course-correcting after you encounter hiccups or get thrown off track in the future.
- Exchange guilt and self-blame for curiosity. Instead of feeling frustrated with yourself, treat a binge or a situation where you ate too much as a learning opportunity. You’ve got valuable data here and you can either learn and grow from it, or ignore it and probably end up in the same place again soon. Ask power questions – Why did I overeat? What triggered me? Why was this situation so difficult or challenging? Why was I eating on autopilot?
- Be proactive about what to do instead of eating (in the future). Often, overeating (especially emotional eating) is triggered by situations or feelings that really have nothing to do with food. When you feel like you’ve gone overboard or blown your food plan, it’s an important time to look at what you might need that you aren’t getting in the rest of your life. Could you really be craving rest or comfort or recognition or stress relief instead of chocolate? Spend the time considering how you can better feed your soul instead of your stomach in the future.
- Use what you don’t know about your overeating to win your weight loss battle. If stress eating got you again and you feel frustrated because you don’t know what to do instead of eating, you’ve just targeted a new path to peace with food. Instead of focusing on controlling what you eat and having the willpower not to stress eat, you will be more successful if you seek out new tools and strategies for addressing stress. A powerful tack for taking control of overeating is to ask yourself “What missing pieces could help me feel more powerful with food?” This question alone can be a game-changer.
How do you get back on track after overeating – whether it’s been a meal, a week, or even a year? Share the tricks, tips, and strategies that work for you in the comments below.
Take good care,