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Recovering from a Cheat Day

Have you fallen into a cycle of eating healthy during the week and like crap on the weekends or have completely fallen off the bandwagon? Well, you are not alone.  I’ve put together a list of the do’s and don’ts to make recovering from a cheat day simple and get you back to feeling your best!

My Personal Struggle

First I would like to share my personal struggles with recovering from a cheat day. It can be so frustrating when we work hard all week just to binge on the weekends and feel like we have ruined all of our progress.  It’s a vicious cycle and it can really mess with your head. I know this because I do this almost every week. Am I proud of it? Hell no, but I have learned how to jump back quickly and start feeling great again.

Personally I tend to eat really good Monday through Friday.  Then on Saturday, I eat pretty good but maybe snack on some chips, popcorn, or candy.  Sunday I start off healthy with my shake for breakfast, a healthy lunch, followed by a super high carb dinner with all the dessert after!  I eat until I can’t eat anymore.  I struggle with controlling this and I’m currently working on a better balance for my physical and mental health. We all have our struggles right?

Let me just say that this cycle does not cause me to gain weight and I am fit and thin.  The main reason I want to change this behavior is for my mental health.  I am tired of obsessing over food and either feeling like I am depriving myself or “cheating”.   There is no happy medium.  Anyway, that is for another post on another day!

Recovery

That being said, after going through this for years I have figured out how to recover quickly from a cheat day and not gain weight and even lose weight in the process. I by no means recommend this cycle to anyone because it’s not healthy.  The reason I am writing this post is because I know others struggle with this and feel helpless the day after they binge or cheat.

I want to help you bounce back, feel your best, and get your head in the game as quickly as possible. No matter how well we eat there are going to be times when we fall off the bandwagon and there is a good and a bad way to handle it.  That’s why I want to share my do’s and don’ts of recovering from a cheat day!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Recovering From a Cheat Day

What You Should Do!

1. Wake Up Early the Next Morning

This is probably the hardest part of recovering from a cheat day!  It can be really hard to get out of bed when we go to sleep with a full stomach.  Especially when it’s full of carbs and sugar, but I promise this will set your whole day up for success. You probably won’t feel your best right away, but sleeping in will not make your day go any smoother.  Don’t hit the snooze button. Just get up and get moving!

2.  Get in a Good Sweat

If you are used to working out in the morning this is the last morning you want to skip.  It will seem tempting because you probably feel groggy and bloated, but there is nothing a good workout can’t fix. (Well maybe not “nothing” but you know what I mean)  I always get up and have my pre-workout snack (Spouted Grain Bread with PBFit Powder) and my Energize.  This gives me a burst of energy and once I hit play I don’t stop until my workout is over.

It doesn’t really matter what type of workout you do.  Just make sure to sweat and burn some calories.  This will change your entire attitude for the day and you will almost forget about all the crap you ate the day before.  If you need help picking a workout, check out my post on the Top 6 Beachbody On-Demand Programs for Beginners.

3. Have a Healthy Breakfast

There is nothing better after a workout than a healthy protein-filled breakfast. I always follow my workout with my favorite smoothie. You may be tempted to skip breakfast if you aren’t feeling all that hungry, but you really shouldn’t.  You don’t have to have a large breakfast, but at least a serving of protein and a fruit or vegetable.  This gets your metabolism going and will keep you full until lunchtime.  The last thing you want to do is wait until you are starving to eat.  This will lead you straight to the pantry!

4. Drink Lots of Water

It is very common to retain water after a cheat day, especially if there was alcohol involved.  Ironically, the best way to beat water retention is by drinking more water.  This will help to flush your system, give you more energy, and get rid of the bloating. Even though this may seem like an easy step, some people struggle on a good day to drink the appropriate amount of water.

On any given day we should be drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 140 pounds you should be drinking at least 70 oz of water a day. If you need help increasing your water intake check out my post on 10 Easy Ways to Drink More Water. 

5. Eat Lots of Veggies

After a day of eating junk food, it’s so important to fuel your body with nutritious foods.  The easiest way to do this is to eat veggies with every meal.  If you have a smoothie for breakfast you can add in spinach.  It does not change the flavor at all.  I typically add in a large handful to my breakfast smoothie.

At lunch, you can have a large salad and then 3/4 of your plate should be veggies at dinner. Check out my post on The Best Salad for Weight Loss. This will give you a base to go off of when making a healthy salad.  Far too often, we tend to overload our salads with way too many calories. Eating a nutritious salad and lots of other veggies throughout the day will help to keep you full and will give you added fiber to keep your digestive system moving.  Veggies are the best way to fill up without the chance of overeating.

6. Get Good Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is so important, especially when we are trying to recover from a cheat day.  We need to let our bodies rest and recover.  You may feel extra tired or sluggish, so it’s important that you get the rest you need.  That being said, it’s still necessary to get your body moving in the morning and throughout the day.  After you have done everything listed above, get ready for bed early if possible, and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep.

I know how hard it can be to avoid late-night snacking or to stop eating at dinner time.  After you eat a healthy dinner, get out of the kitchen, and go brush your teeth.  Then try to get into bed earlier than normal and think about how great you will feel the next morning!  When I am struggling to resist the junk in the evening I always think about my next morning.  I know that if I go to bed feeling good I will wake up feeling even better and be much more likely to get up early and reach my goals for the day.

What You Should Not Do!

1. Don’t Feel Guilty

This might be the hardest rule to follow, but it’s so important to not let the guilt from your past behaviors take over.  It’s completely useless and will lead to negative self-talk, which will lead to stress, which will lead to more overeating.  Just come to terms with it and get over it!

Today is a new day and gives you a new opportunity to make good choices, so you can lead a healthy and balanced life.  Look at falling off the bandwagon as part of the process.  Everyone does it!  It’s a part of life and we all have to indulge once in a while.  Like I said, feeling guilty about it is only going to lead to more negative thoughts and actions.

Think of today as hitting the reset button and acknowledge that it is part of the process of a healthy life, not a setback.  Get up, get moving, and get on with your day!

2. Don’t Restrict or Starve Yourself

After overindulging, sometimes the natural thing to do is restrict ourselves the next day.  I’ve done it so many times, but it just leads to more overeating by the end of the day.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten way too much and then said: “I swear I’m eating nothing but lettuce tomorrow”.  And I have never actually made it through a day or even a meal with only lettuce.

You will probably not be feeling very hungry when you wake up, but I still recommend eating something small, getting in a workout, and then a healthy breakfast. If you really aren’t feeling hungry you can have smaller meals, but don’t restrict yourself until the end of the day.  This is setting yourself up for failure.

When we go hours and hours without eating our bodies tend to hang on to our extra fat, because it feels starved.  Then when we eventually eat, it again wants to hold on to all that extra fat, because it doesn’t know when it will eat again.  Not to mention, when you do this you are probably overeating at that one meal.  It’s best to still have several small meals throughout the day and then I promise you will wake up feeling better tomorrow.

3. Don’t Weigh Yourself

It may be tempting to weigh yourself the day after your cheat day to see how much “damage” you have done, but trust me, this is a terrible idea.  I know, because I do it all the time. I still struggle with this myself, even though I know it’s a bad idea and inaccurate.  I will sometimes see the scale go up 4-5 pounds after a day of eating like crap, especially when I have been drinking alcohol along with it.

I now know this is only water retention.  It’s not possible to gain 4-5 pounds of fat overnight, no matter how much you have eaten the day before. Weighing yourself will just lead to the guilt and negative thoughts, which will then lead to…..yes more overeating!  Stay away from the scale for at least a day or two, follow my steps above and you will feel back to normal in no time! Check out my post on Why I Ditched the Scale for more info!

In Conclusion

I hope this post helps you recover quickly from a cheat day, week, month, whatever it may be.  My main point is, you need to let go of the guilt, get your body moving, fuel your body with nutritious foods, and move on!

I wanted to share these things with you because I have struggled so much with this in the past and I still do at times.  These were also a great reminder to myself because sometimes even when we know what the right thing to do is, we forget and get caught up in our old ways.

If you tried any of these things, or have any questions or comments, please comment below or email me. I would love to hear from you and help you any way I can!

<3 Katie

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Hello! I'm Katie. I'm here to share my easy plant-based and vegan recipes with you. I want to show you that eating a plant-based diet and reaching and maintaining your optimal health does not have to be complicated or expensive.

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