We have ALL been there.
Maybe it was date night. A wedding weekend. Maybe it was a rough day where you dove head first into the fridge and ate all of the things. Or, you went away on vacation and overate every. single. day. because it was VACATION and you deserved it.
We have all had those times where we didn’t eat according to our plan. Perhaps you chose different foods than what you planned, or you simply ate a whole lot more of what you planned than you meant to.
You may have even tried SO HARD to set yourself up for success by looking at the menu in advance. Then when you got to the restaurant you decided you wanted to “treat yourself” and get something that’s actually GOOD.
Note: Don’t do this. Pick something you actually want to eat in the first place and give yourself permission to have foods you love so you don’t feel like you NEED to overeat them every time you get them….but I digress…
Maybe you started thinking “well I never get to have this” or “I have already blown it so I might as well eat it all.”
Now, there are so many ways we can interrupt ourselves, put the fork down, and take a physical or mental step back from the food and make a different choice.
But, what if you didn’t do any of that? What if you said eff it and ate everything?
Are you now a failure? Is there no way that you are going to ever lose weight if you keep doing this sort of thing?
These thoughts, my friend, are not helpful or useful. So, what SHOULD you do? In this article I am going to give you a simple, five step process to run yourself through AFTER you overate.
Step #1: Take a Big, Deep Breath, and Refrain from Beating Yourself Up
It would be one thing if talking to yourself like a jerk after an overeat actually worked, but it doesn’t. All it does is make you feel worse.
If your brian starts telling you how disgusting you are, how much you screwed up, how you are never going to lose weight if you keep overeating, you need to interrupt that nonsense.
When we let our brains spiral all we do is create more of the same…it’s just not helpful!
Instead, try saying, I overate, I am not happy about it, and I am going to do something different next time.
I like to say something like, “I overate. That’s OK! I am human. Next time I will try something different.”
Even if you can’t get to THOSE thoughts it’s imperative to interrupt the super negative ones so that you can move on to step 2 which is…
Step #2: Get Curious and Reflect
The idea here is to ask yourself what the hell happened.
Why did you overeat?
What were you thinking? “This tastes so good.” or “I never get this.” or “I deserve this.” or “I just want a freaking break from thinking about food all the time.”
Maybe you weren’t really even thinking and didn’t even notice until you felt so full of food and wine that you wanted to unbutton your pants right there in the restaurant.
You want to get curious. Ask yourself why you overate. What were the emotions behind your choices? What were you thinking and feeling?
Be honest. Because once you actually know what it is you were thinking you can move onto Step 3 which is…
Step #3: Brainstorm Strategies for Next Time
Having a plan for the next time will go a long way towards helping you stop when you are satisfied the next time you are in a similar situation.
Remember, we are overweight because we overeat. We aren’t overweight because we eat “bad” food, we are overweight because we eat too much food whether it’s healthy or not.
If you go into a situation where there are a bunch of foods you love and tell yourself you are going to just eat off the raw vegetable platter you are making life SO hard on yourself.
Now you will have to willpower your way through the whole event. Who the hell wants to do that? That SUCKS.
Instead, what if next time you say, “I am going to plan to eat the foods on the menu that I like. I am going to eat until I am satisfied and then stop.”
I know that I absolutely love a burger and fries when I go out, but I fill up REALLY quick. So I usually get my burger without the bun so I can enjoy what I really want, which is the burger and fries, without feeling like I need to be rolled out of the restaurant.
Sometimes there are way too many fries. I mean, there are almost always way too many fries. Old Stacy would say “there’s no such thing as too many fries! Eat all the fries!”
Today I eat my burger, then eat my fries till I am satisfied. Sometimes I only get a few before I have had enough, and that’s OK.
It’s OK because I have given myself permission to eat fries and get them again another time. I can lose weight eating french fries. I can’t lose weight eating a plateful with every meal. Plus I realized I feel gross after too.
Step #4: Make Like Elsa and Let. It. Go.
Once you are on the other side of an overeat and you have checked in with yourself you NEED to let it go.
I can’t emphasize this enough.
This is different than not beating yourself up, you need to move on. You need to put this behind you and realize that it’s just one small moment in your weight loss journey.
It is exactly that, a journey. You don’t want to dwell on things that you literally have zero control over. They already happened. Move on. The goal is be thinking about food less, and enjoying life more.
You can’t do that if you are still thinking about last weekend’s overeat and being terrified it’s going to happen again.
Step #5: Get Back on Track
After an overeat it is so important to get back on track. Now this does NOT mean tracking your food (you know how I feel about tracking).
It means sitting down in the morning and planning out your food for the day.
Running to the grocery store after you get home from vacation and stocking up on your normal foods.
You recognize the overeat for what it was, a moment (or several moments) in the past that you have put behind you. I know, it seems very easy for me to say that you should just get back on track like nothing happened, but that’s not what we are doing!
We are getting back on track like something happened. It happened, we learned from it, and we are getting back to using our thinking and planning part of our brain to make choices that bring us closer to our goals.
A Final Note…
It’s so important to remember that we think weight loss should happen in a straight line. That we should just consistently do all of the right things all of the time and watch the scale go down accordingly.
Life happens, though. Fluctuations in your body happen. Fluctuations in your decisions happen. Remember that even super healthy people that make great food choices don’t actually do it ALL of the time.
Everyone overeats. Even people who lose weight. The idea is to start overeating less than you used to.
Every single time you don’t overeat you are putting yourself on the path to weight loss. Don’t let one overeat, or even several derail all of this great progress you are making.
Remember, you are amazing. You are here, reading this article, and doing the work. You’ve absolutely got this, my friend.