Dealing with setbacks: 6 step recovery plan

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SetbacksExperiencing setbacks when it comes to eating well is part of life and should be expected.  Don’t think that you can go your whole life staying on track and only eating food that is good for you. There will be times when you are tempted to stray off your plan and indulge in something tasty and fattening. It’s okay to do that once in a while. Allow yourself one day a week where you can eat anything you want. That’s right – six days on, one day off. And on that day off, you are allowed to eat as much as you like. Line up those hot fudge sundaes! Go on … order two of them!

We’re human, remember? Even if you’ve experienced a major setback, don’t stress about it. You can get back on track if you do it right. Let’s say you go away to the beach for the weekend and, with the help of some well-meaning friends, fill up on the worst food imaginable, forgetting about your new healthy lifestyle. Sunday night you come home from the beach looking like a beach ball. Feeling like one, too. Don’t stress, and follow this plan:


1. Ditch the guilt. It won’t help much blaming yourself and regretting what you ate. What’s done is done and you can’t turn back time. Live in the present; deal with it and just move on. Stressing about what you ate will likely make you prone to going on a binge again. So clear your mind of thoughts about food and focus on something productive instead. Call a friend, read a book, or write in a diary to get your mind to focus on something else.

2. Ditch the scales, too. Weighing yourself the morning after is not a good idea. You don’t need me to tell you that you’re not going to like what you see. The weight gain your scale registers may be due to extra water your body is retaining from eating a lot of starchy and salty food. So it may not be extra fat you are noticing, just water weight.  Even if you did gain some pounds besides water, scaring yourself at this stage is not going to help you get back on track. Wait a few days before weighing yourself again.

3…. but don’t ditch breakfast. Although it may seem like a good idea to skip breakfast and cut some calories since you ate so much the last few days, do the opposite. Start your morning as you would before the setback, with a healthy big breakfast. Include all food groups and aim for about 500 calories. This will help control your appetite all day long.

4. Plan the rest of the week. Make sure you have plenty of healthy food at hand, so that when hunger strikes you are not tempted to make a run for take-out or grab a not-so-healthy snack. Stock up on fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks, to take them with you for the day to eat at lunch, or before a dinner party in case you don’t have time to sit down to a proper meal.

5. Up the water intake. In order to reduce the bloating caused by eating too much unhealthy food, drinking even more water than usual is the key. Go for more than two litres a day. The more water you drink, the more will be flushed out. And of course as always drinking lots of water will help curb your hunger.

6. Hit the gym. Nothing helps get rid of that bloated feeling better than doing some physical exercise. If you can’t get to a gym, go for a 30 minute brisk walk or do some crunches to help get rid of extra water in your body and burn off some calories.


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