When You Fall Off the Wagon

It's Sunday morning. You've ate like total crap all weekend. You promised yourself you were NOT going to repeat the same weekend patterns this time. But here you are. Stomach bloated, guilt ridden and craving sugar/carbs/fried stuff again.

The problem with falling off the wagon is that this junk is truly addictive! On top of that, you feel tired, possibly depressed and maybe even a little sick after eating enough of it. I am all too familiar with this feeling.

Fridays are my "cheat days". I never go crazy with them because I don't want to undo 6 days of hard work and dedication but, at the same time, I want to enjoy those yummy foods I've been craving all week.

Well, this Friday I ate my normal, healthy breakfast (because there's just something about starting my day with the proper fuel that's too important to me to start eating the yummy naughties that early in the day).

However, for lunch, I had a tamale and some chips and salsa. It was soooo good.

I got in a 2nd workout (because I like to do lower body in between two cheat meals for various reasons-extra fuel from carbs, to burn up some of those calories, to not feel like crap the next day), chugged a protein shake & ate an apple, then I headed out with my girls to a local bar for some karaoke and fried pickles. Two PBRs and more fried pickles than I care to admit later, I was feeling pretty nasty. I called it a night kind of early, guzzled a bunch of water on the way home and collapsed into bed a little after midnight.

I woke up the next morning feeling pretty rough. Honestly, a little too rough for what I had done the night before (by last night I realized it was because I was coming down with a cold). When I wake up feeling that way, the last thing I want to do is eat my egg whites and fruit. It makes my barfy just thinking about it.

So, instead, I drank some water, did some light yoga and waited for my belly to feel a little better. Now, a lot of people will argue that you should eat breakfast soon after waking. I somewhat agree with this notion but not always. I think it's more important to listen to your body. So I waited until my body told me it was hungry. When it finally did tell me it was hungry, it told me it wanted Mexican food again! Well, I knew that my body was in no condition to be making the decisions so I went on autopilot.

I still didn't want my egg whites so I thought, "what is the yummiest healthy food I can think of that would make me okay with not having Mexican right now?"....so, for my late breakfast, I had shrimp and strawberries. :)

This might seem random and pointless to share this but, trust me, little tricks like this have made all the difference in the world to me. Once you learn your own little tricks, a fall off the wagon is quick and relatively painless instead of a month-long span of struggling and weight gain before you finally, and half-heartedly, get back on the wagon.

So, here's my random list of ways I get back on the wagon:

After I've eaten too much, something I shouldn't, etc. I wait 10 minutes (so my food can begin to digest without diluting stomach acids) and I drink a butt load of water. This is not only physically cleansing but psychologically cleansing as well. It's almost like an internal baptism. It marks the end of my "mistake".

If I've eaten sugar and I'm craving it like crazy, I have just a little sugar in some kind of bulked up form. My personal favorite is low sugar oatmeal with natural peanut butter. I use one that has about 10g of sugar and  I eat half the packet. If I am not craving sugar enough to warrant this, I'll have a piece (or sometimes 2 pieces) of the sweetest fruit I can find, like a super sweet orange. These options never used to be satisfying enough for me and I started out eating a not so healthy protein bar (my faves are Cliff White Macadamia or Zone Perfect Fudge Graham). Again, these are not healthy choices (especially the Zone bars) but they at least have some protein in them which will slow the rate that the body absorbs the sugar.

I read or listen to something health related. This, without fail, gets me pumped up and back on track.

I force myself to have a good, hard, cleansing workout. When we work out, especially high intensity cardio, we stimulate our lymphatic systems which physically begins to push out all those yucky toxins we've been gorging on. Not to mention it elevates our moods and decreases our appetites.

Often, after eating junk and laying around for a while, the last thing you feel like doing is working out. Well, just as I chose shrimp and strawberries as my wagon-reboarding meal, I sometimes choose the funnest form of exercise I can to get me back on track. Whether it be Zumba, dancing around the house, a walk in the park on a beautiful day, something that doesn't make me turn my nose up at the thought of moving my butt off the couch and back into motion.
I do something that makes me feel in control. Something as simple as organizing my closet or making my meals for the week, puts me back in the driver's seat and makes me feel like I am in control of the situation.

Three Deep Breaths. This almost sounds too simple to work! But deep breathing produces feel good hormones that lowers your cortisol levels (which will, in turn, reduce belly fat storing capacity) and gives you a better sense of well-being. Smiling and laughing can also have the same effect. Fake it til you make.


Happy Music.

Protein. High enough levels of protein with your first post-binge meal, will help increase levels of satiety and regulate your blood sugar.

Bottom line, getting back on track is the hardest part. Once you do it, you create momentum and it becomes easier and easier to stick with it, especially when you really start feeling good again. And I'm happy to report that, after a day of dragging, a couple of weird meals, a super hard workout and a ton of water later, I bounced out of bed this morning re-energized and feeling great.

You really CAN do this forever! It's not as bleak and hard as it seems when you've backslid. So get on auto-pilot and back on the wagon today!

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