How to Rebound From a Bad Day of Overeating | TMOHP Episode 105

I’m asked all the time about how to recover from a “bad day.” Meaning, how do you get back on track after overeating, or after a binge, or after a whole run of days of mindless or emotional eating? The tendency is to start with tough love. Or to avoid starting anything because that tough love feels so awful. In fact, NOT rebounding after something goes sideways is a big cause of additional overeating and the frustration that accompanies it.

Tough love and doing hard things have their places, but aren’t usually where you want to start after a hard day with overeating. Let’s talk about what works.

In this episode:

  • Practical tips that will help you recenter and recover from your very normal bad days with overeating
  • The mindset of rebounding and recovery
  • Timing
  • What IS rebounding or recovery from a bad overeating day anyway?
  • Your super do-able rebound plan

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Full episode transcript:

Hey everybody welcome back to the podcast. It is time to stop beating yourself up for having bad days. Today I want to talk with you about how to recover from a bad day, how to reset, how to move forward, how to keep going. Because here's the thing, bad days are a part of life. We all have them. No matter how many yoga classes you go to, no matter how carefully you plan, no matter how strong your willpower or how diligent you are with your perfect morning routine, perfect is in air quotes. No matter. There are always days that take us down or that take us sideways or that just throw us completely off track. And they're usually unexpected and they usually show up at the worst possible time. Right?

So when you have a bad day, what works, but doesn't always happen, whether we are talking about a bad day with food or with eating or stress or a bad day in your relationship or work or anything else, what works is learning how to move forward in a way that includes the reality of bad days. The reality that they happen, the reality of off days and really crappy days, really, really crappy days. That's what works.

What doesn't work is aiming to never have bad days and then blaming yourself when you do. That right there that is perfectionism. That's unreasonable. It is impossible. It's not human behavior. And it's a belief that will absolutely send you into the now I've blown it tailspin.

You know the now I've blown it tailspin. Right? The now it's all ruined so I might as well go eat all the cookies or finish that bag of chips because I'm going to have to throw it away and start over tomorrow. At least that's how it goes with overeating. Right? We all know how badly that can go.

So, I get these questions all the time after a bad day. I had a bad day or I had a bad week and how do I get started again? How do I get back on track? What happened? I don't know how to get it back. How do I get myself to start doing the things that were working before this thing happened?

When you're sitting there in the residue of that bad day or that bad weekend or that bad week, it can feel so stuck. It can feel so hard to figure out, okay, what do I do next? How do I get back to the place that I was? So, I have some tips for you that I think will help you re center and then recover from your very normal, very human, bad, and very bad days.

You know where I'm going to start. Right? Right? First, let's talk about your mindset. Ask yourself, let's like, what is your mindset about bad days? Do you have permission to have a bad day? You want to make sure that your inner perfectionist, that one who requires you to be either on or now you've blown it off. Right? You're either all or nothing. You want to make sure she isn't running this show.

So where are you right now after your bad day? Are you up to your neck in self blame or guilt for things that maybe contributed to the bad day or the way you reacted to it? As long as you're busy beating yourself up, you are not going to be able to move on. So take a deep breath and recalibrate yourself. Remind yourself of the very real fact that an occasional bad day, and sometimes more than an occasional bad day, is simply to be expected. A bad day doesn't mean you failed. It means it's time to implement your bad day plan. It's time to go into reset mode or recovery mode. So start with giving yourself permission to have a bad day.

And then it's important to be honest with yourself. Are you actually ready to move on and to reset from whatever it is that happened? And is there anything, and if there is, what is it? What do you need to let go of so that you can actually do this? So that you can actually move on and reset.

Are you ready? And what do you need to let go of or do so that you can actually move on? This is such an important question. Are you ready to move on from your bad day? Or do you need it to continue for a little while longer? And I say that without judgment. If you're busy beating yourself up, feeling miserable or drowning your sorrows, or if you're feeling indignant or victimized or angry… You might not be ready to stop having a bad day yet.

So what do you need to have compassion for? Or what do you need to let go of in order to start to shift into a different space? Maybe you need to have compassion for the anger that you're feeling, or the hurt that you're feeling, or the frustration that you're feeling. Sometimes after a really bad day, we just need to be seen. Even if we are the ones seeing ourselves. Sometimes we just need to acknowledge that something really sucked or was really awful or really hard, or it really hurt us.

Sometimes we just need to sit for some moments and sometimes longer than moments. Sometimes we just need to sit with the fact that it was a really bad day and it didn't feel good. So be honest with yourself. Are you ready to move on? Are you ready to reset or are you trying to push yourself to do that prematurely? Because that doesn't work.

And then, I want you to really consider what is it that you want to move on to. When you're saying it's time to move on or how do I get back to what I was doing before, what is it that you really want?

Because recovery from a bad day does not mean moving from the belief of here I am, I'm getting everything perfect, I'm in the groove, being perfect, to now I blew it, I've blown it, it's all my fault, to okay, now I'm ready to be perfect again. That, my friends, is a vicious cycle. That isn't real recovery. That is something that keeps you trapped in perfectionistic thinking, all or nothing thinking, and again, with food, that cycle of I'm either doing really well or I'm completely off the rails. And that whole yo-yo pattern that goes along with it.

So the question is, what do you want recovery from your bad day to look like and feel like? How do you want to be? How do you want to feel? What is the state that you are wanting to move into? What do you want to be thinking? What do you want your mental attitude to be? How's your posture when you're recovered? What are the facial expressions that you make? It may sound silly, but it isn't. Create a picture in your mind of what you want.

What does recovery from a bad day look like? What does it feel like? What are the kinds of things that you are doing and thinking when you are recovered? And then take some big, deep breaths into that vision. Breathe into what you want. Make sure that the idea that you have of quote unquote recovery isn't somehow I'm going to be super hard on myself and super strict for my, with myself and as a way of, making up for or punishing yourself for this bad day that happened for whatever reason that it happened.

Take a look in the mirror and make sure you aren't still carrying your bad day with you. Or you're not trying to cope again by punishing yourself being super hard on yourself. I'm going to get back to perfect behavior. Right? I'm going to be really, really tough. And make sure you're not trying to cope by stuffing things down or numbing out.

It's a, it's amazing how often we do this. What does recovery really look like and feel like? What is your energy like when you have recovered from a bad day? What is it that you're aiming for? When I talk to clients about this, I hear things like, I want to feel rested. I want to not be bloated anymore. I want my, I want to feel energetic. I want to feel excited about what I'm doing. Okay, have that vision and then move in that direction. That's what you're aiming for.

I am a woman who likes to ask questions. And here is another question that I think is really helpful to ask when you are recovering from a bad day. Ask yourself if you haven't already, if you don't know the answer, what helps you feel grounded? What helps you feel anchored? This is important because an important step in moving on from a bad day is connecting with the present and letting go of the past.

And what helps you be really present in this moment, those are the things you want to do. That's a part of recovery. So, what helps you be really present in this moment, completely here? What makes you feel alive in this moment? Your answer is going to be your answer. It's going to be individual.

I can give you some examples. For some people, it is taking some deep breaths. That gets me present. For some people, it's physical activity, being in their bodies. Some people like to journal. Some people really don't like to journal. Some people like to just spend some quiet time alone. Maybe you go for a walk outside. Sometimes it's being in nature.

But this, this idea of what helps me feel grounded, what helps me feel anchored, what helps me feel like myself again? Take the time to do these things, take some time to get centered. And then set your intention for how you want to be in the present moment.

Again, what does recovery look like and feel like? What is it that I'm aiming for? How do I want my energy to be? What are the thoughts I want to reinforce or remind myself of? Take some time to get centered and set your intention for how you want to be in this present moment and into the near future, over the next few hours. Over the next 24 hours, into the next day. How do you want to be tomorrow morning? Play with these ideas a little bit.

Another thing, when you're recovering from a bad day, kindness really helps. And kindness may not be intuitive if you are somebody who has spent a lot of time in deprivation mentality and feeling frustrated with yourself and layering on the self blame because you aren't really having permission to have bad days. When you're recovering from a bad day, Kindness is what helps.

So ask yourself, what kind thing can you do for yourself? That's what we do for others who are having a bad day. Right? So what could you do for yourself? And know a pint of ice cream doesn't count because in the big picture, the pint of ice cream and how you feel after and where it takes you compared to where you want to go, it isn't a good match for where you are right now.

So what kind of thing can you do for yourself? Again, this is an individual thing. This is, this is one of the reasons side note here or sidebar in the Missing Peace program, the, the program takes people all in their own unique directions because your answers to all of these questions to the self-care dilemmas, to how do I recover after a bad day to what's the right way of eating that works for me? All of these questions are so individual.

So I can give you ideas or examples of things that have been helpful for other people. But you are going to want to find your own. You are going to know what feels like kindness for you.

Examples, little acts that can be kind might be calling a friend or somebody who really cares about you. Giving yourself the gift of time to watch a movie or dive into a really good book. Maybe you buy yourself some flowers or you wander out into your backyard and you cut yourself some flowers and you put them on your desk. Maybe you schedule a massage or you take a long bath.

Whatever it is that feels good bad day recovery days are prime times for self-care and acts of kindness. And even the simplest acts that feel kind and loving and compassionate, they help. So don't worry if you don't have a lot of time. Don't worry if you don't have a big budget. Something simple, something that feels kind is an essential part of recovering from a bad day.

Okay, last thing I want you to do, last tip that I have for you. Is to pick one thing that you can commit to that feels like a positive action. That feels like it is taking a step into a good day. This positive proactive action does not need to be big. In fact, if we were working together, which I guess we kind of are right now, I would tell you to make sure that your one positive action needs to be exquisitely doable. Absolutely doable.

Pick one small step, one small action that is doable. And that signifies to you that you're moving in a positive direction. It does not need to be world changing. So do a kindness for somebody else, or drink a glass of water, or go take your supplements. Do a short workout. Clean out one drawer. Something that helps you feel like you are moving onto a positive path. That you are moving into recovery.

I have a client who takes 10 deep breaths and she listens to a short visualization that's a part of the Missing Peace program and she considers herself reset. I have another client who decides that her next meal is going to be fish and vegetables, two things she really likes, by the way, and that is her reset.

I have somebody else that I work with who she goes to bed early and she has a going to bed routine that she does and that is her reset. One doable, exquisitely doable action. You will know the action that it fits if it makes you feel tired or, it feels a little overwhelming, make it smaller. That's too big.

Your goal is to take the first step toward getting on a more positive track, and when that's done, all you need to do is take the next one. And that, my friends... Is how you recover from a bad day.

Play with these steps. And when you've had some time to experiment with them, I would love to hear your thoughts about them. So hop on over to the Freedom from Emotional Eating and Overeating private group on Facebook and become a part of the discussion. Let me know what your thoughts are about this episode. Let me know what has worked for you in recovering from a bad day.

I'll talk to you soon.


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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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