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#HealthyHappyBody: How to Bounce Back After a Cheat Day (or Two or Three)

You promised yourself you’d only enjoy one glass of Pinot on the patio with your girlfriend, but somehow, by the end of the night, you’ve knocked back two bottles plus a platter of nachos plus fries plus that slice of pizza on your way home. Whoops!

Between summer vacay and work obligations, not to mention birthdays, anniversaries and Bachelorette viewing parties, it’s super easy to fall off the wagon from healthy eating.

The important thing to remember, especially if you’ve recently embarked on a new fitness and nutrition lifestyle, is that a cheat day (or two) isn’t the end of the world. Really. Despite what your inner critic is saying to you (mine likes to recite Beck’s “Loser” to me whenever I “mess up”), it’s totally fine. You’re not bad or lazy, and you certainly are NOT a loser. You’re human. And it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself – in fact, I demand it from my clients.

It’s important to not waste time feeling guilty and, instead, concentrate on moving forward. Tomorrow really is a new day. Getting back on track is easy with these tips below.

Hydrate yo’self

Chances are your cheat meals were filled with tons of sugar and salt, so you literally need to flush that gunk out of your system. Water not only stimulates the digestive system, but it is also the BEST detoxifier. Try to drink at least 2L of water the day after your cheat day, and 3L if you’re exercising.

Get Moving

After you’ve over-eaten a ton of carbs, fried foods and booze, the last thing you probably want to do is move. But if you want to feel better – both physically and mentally – moving is the next best thing you can do. Push yourself to take your fave boxing or spin class. Sweating will make you feel soooo much better, trust. Even taking a thirty-minute walk is a good start. Just move your bod!

Eat Your Veggies and Protein

Time to refuel your body with the good stuff. Veggies, which are full of fibre, paired with protein will help you feel fuller, longer, and it’s a great low-calorie, nutritious reprieve after your high-cal night. Try a vegetarian omelette, or a veggie stir-fry with beans, quinoa and tofu.

Don’t Skip Meals or Starve!

Cutting your meals the next day – or living on water and soup only – sounds tempting after a huge binge, but don’t do it. Starving yourself is never, ever the answer. In addition to screwing with your metabolism, starving yourself will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, causing you to toss and turn at night (‘cause your body is like, “Gimme food!!!”), as well as impede your ability to think clearly (‘cause your brain is like, “Gimme food!!!”). Not to mention restricting your caloric intake is basically predicting another binge moment to happen because you’ve been depriving yourself all day. It’s a vicious cycle. You’re better off not to start it.

Tell Your Ego to Chill the Eff Out

Beating yourself up for overindulging will not serve you. In fact, it will only hinder your weight loss journey. Why? Because when you play the blame and shame game, your brain/ego gets all puffed up and defensive and will make up all kinds of excuses in the name of self-protection. It won’t allow you to change old patterns and move forward because, truthfully, it’s kind of an asshole.

Instead, shower yourself with compassion and self-love. Comforting your brain with kind thoughts like, “It’s okay. You’re doing fine. Everything is working out, and you’re safe to move forward” allows your brain/ego to feel protected to allow future growth. Remind yourself that you are still loveable even if you don’t feel that way. Bingeing brings up all sorts of emotions, so it’s important to remember you are so much more powerful than your thoughts, emotions and behaviours – including bingeing.

After a cheat day or week, remember to keep it simple when getting back on track with good nutrition, fitness and a ton of self-love. You got this!

Brianne Hogan is a contributing writer for She Does the City and a personal trainer and healthy eating coach in the GTA. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook, and you can check out her free Beginner’s 4 Week At-Home Workout series here. Check out the rest of her series here.

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