The 3 best things to do when you've "messed up" your diet.

Did you just binge on a whole load of crap? Have you indulged in something (or many things) way outside your ideal "healthy eating plan" and totally out of alignment with your diet goals and ideals?

Don't worry, I'm about to share the answers below that will help to reverse the damage caused (and possibly still being caused), and also provide tips as to how to prevent those "occurrences" from happening again in the future.

Lately, I've been inundated with questions and essentially cries for help from friends, family, and followers of Mindfully Edible; ranging from "getting back on track" a healthy diet, in need of an "extreme" meal plan to drop 'X' pounds by 'X' date, all the way to "I just binged, what should I do?".

When I get these messages, I feel 2 main things:

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  • Genuinely saddened for the person reaching out. Not the "Oh, that's sad and pathetic" kind of feeling. Rather, the heart-wrenching empathic "Oh god, I've been there" type.
  • Like a phoney. Because guess what? I'm far from perfect myself. Sometimes I over-indulge, feel like I've 'screwed up', or have the intense desire to lose weight, "detox", etc.

Instead of hiding in those less-than-ideal feelings I've outlined above, and instead of pretending like I'm Heaven's gift to the "Wellness" World and preaching some nutrition bullshit we've all heard before: I'm going to get real...

 


Here's what you need to do when you've "MESSED up":

1. Quit the mental torture.

You haven't "messed up". There are no 'good foods' and 'bad foods'. Take the conscious effort to separate yourself from the food - turns out, your diet is not your identity. You're not a bad person if you eat McDonald's fries. You're no less of a person if you decide on an ice-cream instead of a green smoothie. This is the hardest but most crucial step. Once you let go of the mental anguish you're putting on yourself, everything that follows is a whole lot easier, and you'll start feeling better (including physically) faster.

2. Take a second to reflect on WHY that "occurrence" happened.

No judgement, just reflect. Was I hungry and there was literally no other option available? Was I feeling depressed and looking for comfort? Was I in a social engagement that encouraged this 'indulgence'? Either way: totally cool. It's just helpful to notice the 'why' behind it, so that maybe you can prevent it in the future - if turns out that it's something that doesn't serve you. For instance, if it's simply a matter of no "healthy" options being available to you at the time, perhaps next time you'll know to pack some of your own food. On the other hand, maybe it was a way to soothe an underlying emotion: hurt, loneliness, anxiety, etc. In that case, it's worth noting if and how the food helped - if not (usually not), what else could you do next time that might better aid the real circumstances? On another note, maybe you were just having a good time with friends and decided 'F-it', I'm just going to enjoy' - and maybe that's exactly what you needed to do. Great, be proud - own it!

3. Assist your digestion.

Now on to more the more logistical "fix-it" protocol I know you're all still dying to hear (ugh, please read the above two points AGAIN!). Look, I get it - I've been there. And without meaning to sound like some annoying Detox Health Nut princess on her high horse, here's what I've learned that's proven to be helpful and effective to 'cleanse it out' so to speak:

The beauty that is whipped up caffiene. 

The beauty that is whipped up caffiene. 

I'm tempted to add fasting to the above list, which is a great way to "reset" your digestive system and give your colon a little break. BUT being mindful that most likely the people reading this are struggling with some sort of disordered eating (and for that matter, I actually think we're all on a 'spectrum' of sorts - how can we not be in today's media world?!), I'm going to leave fasting out of the picture for now. Until you reach a healthy relationship with food and yourself, you probably aren't emotionally well-equipped to use fasting in your dietary regime. It can easily turn into an unhealthy binge-fast cycle, which, if you're not following safely (i.e. truly feasting on the right high-quality high-fat foods when you are eating) - can be dangerous both physically and emotionally.

Instead, I'm going to date to give what I believe to be the most perfect advice for exactly what to do moving forward, after a MAJOR "F-up": just go on with your life. No "major overhaul" is really needed, trust me. Your body is a naturally detoxing, powerful, and extremely resilient force of being - it can handle it! The more important thing to get a handle on is your mind, and there's nothing better for recovering from a "mistake" than with kindness, consciousness, and a whole lot of love! Go about the rest of your day/evening, and the days that follow with a greater sense of awareness. Get in tune with how you're feeling and what your body is asking for. Give it that. And keep going.

So, what's the main take-away? In 10 words or less?

Forgive. Reflect. Use a few supplemental/dietary "hacks" if you feel so called. And then: RETURN TO LIVING YOUR NORMAL LIFE BECAUSE YOU'RE ALREADY GREAT!

We're all in this together, I promise.