When you fall off the Diet Wagon. Why we Binge Eat. Body Image
I recently fell off my “usual unprocessed abundant in fresh fruits and veggies diet wagon” which doesn’t happen often because I am always stashing great food in the house. And that is what I am always in the mood for. Anyways, sometimes when we are busy and in a time crunch, under stress, jet lagged, under slept and so forth we are all susceptible to diet mistakes. Mine was not that bad- soy chocolate cherry ice cream with peanut butter 🙂 and a lot of it! Worse things have happened on earth including child hunger, war, natural disasters, family tragedies, etc… Just putting things in perspective….and all I am saying is we actually don’t have the moral right to obsess over our diets, body image, looks, even health; or obsess over our perfection. We have a world that needs our positive input, service, help and dedication. The world doesn’t care for another female or male with self esteem problems that is too busy hating her/himself to have any spare time for improving the planet. The reason why we are after supreme health is so that we can offer a strong, healthy, balanced, clear headed individual to the rest of humanity. It is not a self serving desire. The desire to be healthy is essentially a desire to function optimally so that we are able to make a difference in however small or big way that we can.
So my diet mistake was definitely processed foods and higher fat than my body enjoys (although ever so often a hiccup on your clean eating journey can greatly boost certain growth hormone production and it can be a mood booster for the same reasons)
I happen to have a perfect strategy for recovering from a diet offense.
Most people think to themselves “OK, I was bad today; tomorrow I will eat only salads and I will have only 1000 calories to pay for my mistakes” For me and most people I know guilt only feeds more of the same behavior. You can never guilt yourself into doing anything genuinely. It has to come from a place of freedom and joy.
So here’s me diet recovery strategy in only a few steps.
1. Next day drink a lot of water, tea, lemonade, tea with honey (do not heat the honey at all. The precious enzymes in the raw honey get destroyed easily)
2. Grab your car, bicycle or better yet walk to a few stores and get the best veggies and fruits that you can find. As many as you can!
3. Do a short but intense exercise routine. Do not go for calorie melt off sessions. This type of fitness is a form of self abuse that can only lead to behavioral and self image problems down the road. I am adamantly against insanity style workouts and I do not view them as a healthy fitness behavior. You DO NOT need to break yourself down in order to be strong. When you break yourself down you DO break yourself down on every level. Short burst of intensity is all your body needs in order to be exposed to enough “stress” to build power and strength. Training for failure all the time cultivates a subconscious attachment to failure.
3. Eat today as if yesterday was perfect which of course it was… we all know everything is exactly where it needs to be. No need to be guilty or self punishing.
Generally eating foods you don’t normally eat can mean one out of a few things.
First and most importantly – low carb dieting!- these diets always lead to carb bingeing sooner or later (and usually all the time). And not the healthy carbs binge. It leads to overindulging in cakes and cookies full of rancid fats that are also cancer causing.
Second- skipped meals! By the time you get to eat you are too hungry and going for the heavy foods loaded with calories. Now you can skip meals and it will not slow your metabolism down. It’s all a balance of eating and resting from eat. We only appreciate food when we are hungry. By skipping meals I mean that sometimes by the time you get to eat you are ravishing and you don’t care for broccoli, instead you are thinking pizza. So learn to know your body and how you react to workouts, meal times, skipping meals etc. We all have certain particularities.
Third – a deficiency due to a limited diet (this can be under the first point or it can genuinely mean you need certain amino acids, minerals, vitamins)- so either a macro or a micro nutrient deficiency.
Fourth you are not realizing how much you are working out which leads to increased hunger and caloric needs.. and therefore restricting calories only leads to the yo-yo effect. The body will want what it needs.
OK so back to my strategy:
4. When you are hungry (not before you are hungry) start your day with juicy fruits. Huge crunchy apples are perfect. Then later on have sweet sweet fruits such as bananas and persimmons, dates; or better yet chocolate bananas :). Have some celebratory coconut “lattes” with roasted dandelion which is great for your liver. Make sure to have a lot of calories from fruit which is going to be detoxing, yet nourishing; satisfying and filling. You are less likely to eat poorly once you fill up on carbohydrate rich healing foods full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and overall nutrition.
Brew herbs, smell them while you are preparing them, admire and adore herbs and fruits. It’s Nature reminding you about its abundance and profound wisdom. Wisdom so deep most scientists miss to realize the connectivity between all things.
Then adore your body. Yes! Not in a vein, self obsessed way… not at all. In a grateful, mindful, respectful way.
Think about each part of your body, each organ with gratitude for all the hard and quiet work it has been putting in for you. Now think about the body parts you like the least in your body….. and send them the most amount of grateful love your heart is capable of generating.
Sometimes we think our legs are chubby, short, a weird shape, with cellulite and so forth. But how often do we wake up in the morning and our heart is expanded with gratefulness and realizations about all the awesome places they have taken us to, the opportunities they’ve given us to run, dance, walk and … yeah do yoga. Sometimes we dislike our bellies- but think about all the nourishment your precious belly has provided for you or even more it has blessed you with the gifts of bearing your children… and so forth. This is an almost overly simple and almost naive type of meditation but most of us overcomplicate life and forget to be grateful about the simplest yet most important things.
… and back to our diet fail recovery strategy:
5. Make one of my beloved dips for dinner and serve yourself a few huge platters of veggies and dips. Feel nourished, satisfied and grateful for the opportunity to have great food and for the ability to nourish your body and soul <3
And after all this if you are still craving junk have instead an extra tea with almond milk; agar agar jelly dessert which is easy to prepare and very good for detox, a raw apple pie covered with a banana, persimmon, cocoa cream on top (but don’t mix that with veggies- it will give you indigestion), spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and so forth. Healthy, water rich snacks.
You make no mistakes. It is all a string of events provided to you to steer you in the right direction. All you need is an open heart, a quiet mind and a desire to learn and grow and serve.
Do NOT exercise to burn off the extra calories. Thats how the problem started most likely. Food is nourishment and appreciation of nature’s abundant glory. Exercise is a tool for getting stronger and more connected with your body. Not a way to abuse it!!!!
Do not restrict fresh fruits and veggies.
So to recap- my strategy is contrary to what your first instinct after a binge day is. I make sure to eat a lot. Not necessarily more calories than my typical diet but a lot of fresh fruits and veggies that are satisfying and healthy. So I am not having dense food cravings (such as processed ice creams and such) and I am getting excellent nutrition.
And I certainly don’t try to go burn it off with crazy exercise. This type of behavior leads to a host of conditions down the road- such as adrenal burn out, thyroid disfunction, injuries, anxiety, stress related disorders, autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia and so on.
Most people that severely restrict calories end up either being anorexic or yo-yo dieters that are overweight both of which can cause havoc on your digestion, metabolism and overall health.
So relax, forgive yourself and move on 🙂
Life is too beautiful and too short to waste it on vague anxieties and worries.
P.S. an interesting observation I had is that the evening I overindulged it seems like everyone in my household got sick with a stomach bug and I didn’t get it!!! although I think I contracted it; I ran a quick fever for 2 hours and fought it off during the night. So it is possible sometimes to have a craving for a reason. Maybe I killed the bacteria instinctively with my dietary choices/”mistakes”. That is the beauty of a high in veggies and fruits diet. I avoid flus, colds, stomach flus and such 😀
Some of my veggie shopping beauties 🙂
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Ali. This was the very most profound, enlightening and inspiring post I think I’ve ever read! Thank you
Did you read my mind?
And all I am saying is we actually don’t have the moral right to obsess over our diets, body image, looks, even health; or obsess over our diets body image, looks or health
I agree with everything you said, Ali. I can stop thanking you for writing posts like this. About life style and not diets that have to be accomplished. Incredible mind with more beautiful and amazing thoughts, keep writing.
I was searching for some help in regards to “how to recuperate after being stagnant and eating crap food”. The past few days i’ve literally just layed in bed and watched TV (and eaten lots of junk food)
I love the idea of being gentle with yourself. I have a kapha dosha type so i’ll never be super skinny, and I have been there with trying to starve myself and just ending up binge eating to the point of self hatred. And, as we all know, it doesnt work.
Today I did like, four of your “Love Yoga” classes. And I think that was enough, just getting back into an easy flow.
I know this is an older post, but there is much valuable information and help! Thank you!