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Catastrophe! How to get back on the horse after binge eating over the weekend

We all do it once in awhile.

We go away on vacation, often for Thanksgiving, Christmas or some similar family or friends oriented event, and we end up eating too much.

So what do you do about it and how do you recover from it?

#1. Moderation is Key.

Sometimes overeating is unavoidable, but if you know you are going to be overeating because Grandma keeps pushing cake at you and you are trying to avoid a third helping here is a handy thing to say:

"I already ate two. If I have any more I might burst."

At which point grandma will leave you alone and focus her attentions on fattening up the younglings.

Having the willpower to lie to your grandmother may take some effort, but your quest for moderation will not be stopped after the second helping. The cascade of sweets will wear down your willpower, so each time you sit down and eat your goal should be to limit yourself to no more than two helpings.

Two helping of Aunt Marjorie's pie. Two helpings of Grandma's cake. Two cookies from the tray of cookies your mother brought with her to the event. You get the idea.

And at some point you should start to fill full, at which point you should reach for the water - drink your fill of water, and pronounce yourself full.

When amongst friends it may be an even more glorious smorgasbord of junk food. Chips, pizza, chocolates, candies - like a junk food filled Halloween party. Your goal here will be to avoid becoming the Cookie Monster, crumbs flying in every direction, shovelling it in two hands at a time.

Same deal as before, eat your fair amount - then drink a large glass of water and then you should feel full.

#2. Plan Ahead to Prevent Over Eating.
There are ways that you can prevent the junk food from storing as long-term fat. Amongst the best preventative measures are...

-Eat a solid meal before going out.
-Eat a good sized portion of only what you have been craving...OR
-Try a *little* bit of everything.
-Avoid excess alcohol. It will just make you more hungry. Focus on water instead and stay hydrated.

#3. Don't Repeat Binge.

Okay, so you tried moderation and prevention, and possibly failed miserably. Or maybe you were successful. Even if you were not, no biggie.

What you need to do is don't do it again the following day (eg. The Sunday after the Saturday Pie Eating Contest). Your body stores extra fat over longer periods. If you only slip once in a while, it will be burned off easily with exercise because the blood sugar will still be in your blood system for 24 hours, and balanced by good nutrition and exercise you will be fine. However if you binge again a 2nd day then your body will start reducing your blood sugar levels by storing it as fat instead. So the trick on the 2nd day is to continue moderation as much as you can. Hopefully you are still full from the first day and this won't be too hard.

Honestly, there is also a psychological benefit to this too. If you're eating really healthy 90% of the time, eating "bad" food is psychologically GOOD for you. Why work out so hard, and monitor food intake, if you can't let loose once in a while and enjoy having a sweet tooth once in awhile? As long as your calorie input is less or equal to the output, you will continue to lose/maintain weight. Falling off the wagon (or horse) is a minor setback. It's only when you are eating more than you burn on average, over the course of the week, that you should be worried about losing results.

#4. Post Catastrophe Clean Up, aka Getting Back On The Horse!

Exercise. Burn fat the next morning. You will feel better about yourself in a hurry.

Drink lots of water and herbal tea. Give your body a flush. Liquids are your friend. Staying hydrated will keep the metabolism revved, and will reduce bloating. You may end up needing to urinate a lot, but every time you do your body will be ridding yourself of excess chemicals.

Calorie cycling. Calorie cycling is just a theory, it has yet to be proven, but it is a sound theory that involves tricking your metabolism into changing itself. The technique is very simple: If you have a heavy calorie day, cycle with lower calories on the following day. Basically, just eat lighter the day after you binged. (I do a similar thing whereby I have a high calorie day every Friday, and the rest of the week is low calorie days. This way I maintain higher energy levels, but only eat excessively on Fridays when I hang out with friends.)

Eat lots of fruit and veggies. Your body needs a dose of nutrients. Fruits especially, and vegetables have a high water content, and both contain: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Fill up on good stuff.


One or two days of eating badly isn't that big of a deal. You don't need to be alarmist about it. Just get right back on the horse and don't worry about it. Stuff happens and you can't let the small stuff get in the way of your big picture.

So if you eat a whole chocolate rabbit once a year during Easter, no biggie. You will make it up through smart diet and exercise during the weeks and months and years after the fact.

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