How to fix the damage from a cheat meal
Anyone who has ever been on a diet has also cheated on a diet. This is part of the process. We restrict our calories and in doing so, our body sends signals that “I want food!!” While we can stave off these urges for a while, ultimately, they are going to catch up with us and we are going to reach for that cake, that burger, that pizza, those cookies, or, often all of the above. The hours and days after a food binge are a critical time. BUT, if we do the right things afterwards to mitigate damage and take advantage of our freshly full gas tank, we may actually turn a negative into a positive. Here are five things to do after a cheat meal or binge eating session that are a must for every dieter:
#1: STOP! – First and foremost, just because you opened the flood gates doesn’t mean they need to stay open. The worst thing you can do is pile food on top of food. Since you have been on a restricted diet, your body is primed to store everything you eat. Luckily, your glycogen (energy) stores are also very low, so with eating just one calorie loaded meal, you aren’t TOO bad off as your body will first refill its glycogen stores before it starts to deposit everything as fat. However, once these energy stores are full from a cheat meal, then you keep piling it on by doing it again, you are sure to start packing on some serious fat.
#2: Drink lots of water – Lots of food requires lots of water to process correctly, so drink plenty in the hours after your cheat. This will ensure you stay hydrated and your body has all the fluids you need to keep things moving throughout your system and you don’t start to feel like crap.
#3: Take some r-ALA – r-ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) is a remarkable supplement that the body uses to break down the foods we eat into energy. It will help ensure that all the calories we eat are sent to the muscles and used to make energy as opposed to being stored as fat. Right after (or before if you can) take a good amount of r-ALA to help direct the calories to the right place
#4: Don’t skip your next protein meal – While you may be overly stuffed from a big binge, it’s important to keep getting protein. The body doesn’t have the ability to store protein (except in muscles) and we need it regularly or we will begin to catabolize muscle tissue to get it. It’s ok to leave the fat and/or carbs out of the next meal or two, but be sure to keep the protein flowing.
#5: Take advantage! – You just basically filled your gas tank, you should be energized for hours to come, so take advantage by killing a workout or two and help burn off all that extra energy. You will probably have one of the best workouts of your life and put yourself back into an energy depleted fat-burning state at the same time.
Done properly, binge eating session can often be turned from a negative into a positive. Following these five steps will ensure you keep right in line with your diet goals.