Just look at you, you otherwise well-balanced young professional (YP) who keeps fit and eats clean, sitting there with Cheetoh-orange fingers, gut rot, and guilt. That’s right, you succumbed to temptation and impulse and pigged out like nobody’s business. But hey, it happens to the best of us and what’s done is done right? So, what are you going to do about it?
We talked with not one but two pros in the field of fitness and nutrition to find out what can be done after the chips have been chomped and the pie has been plowed. Both YEDaily alum, Adele Tevlin, executive weight loss coach and nutritionist to the stars (featured on Etalk and The Social), and Ainsley McSorley, certified personal trainer, studio owner, and fitness magazine cover model, have offered us some very notable tips on how to recover from those inevitable pig-out sessions. Here’s your next move:
Go easy on yourself
First off, both ladies insist that a dip into indulgence every once in a while is really not that detrimental to an otherwise healthy YP. And feeling guilty about it, says Adele, is a serious waste of time that only “adds more negative energy to the event.” Further, she notes, “research actually shows that sometimes the body needs extra calories, or an over-feeding day, to fill up on glycogen stores and keep us from hitting plateaus. It also helps us psychologically, because after a pig-out day often the last thing you want is unhealthy food, so it can really help get cravings out of the system.” Sweet, we’re feeling better already.
But, as Ainsley cautions, we must also be mindful of just how often those over-feeding days occur. “If done too regularly, pigging out can become a vicious cycle: eat well, binge, feel like garbage for 2-3 days, barely recover, and boom, you’re drawn to binging again. This can leave you feeling like trash, can lead to weight gain, and can contribute to other health problems such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.” OK, not so sweet.
So for those of us looking to get right back on that healthy horse post-pig-out, what’s the next step?
Both ladies believe that a hard workout on a fully belly is not advisable. “You can’t undue the binge with more exercise,” explains Adele. “If anything, it adds more stress to the body and can create obsessive behavior.” Instead, suggests Ainsley, spend that time making a plan. “Prep some meals and stock your fridge. Make a plan of attack, and follow it. Drink lots (3-4L) of water to help your body and mind recover.”
The morning after
As for the next day, that’s when it’s time to pay. “Work out bright and early, and hard,” says Ainsley, “and be sure to stick with clean eats for the rest of the day.” If you’re still feeling the awful effects of your post-binge bloat, Adele says try a sauna to get rid of some of the toxins, as well as dandelion leaf tea, which is a natural diuretic that will take down some of the inflammation.
In the long run
To help prevent future pig-outs, Ainsley has a few quick tricks: “Take a post pig-out selfie, and write down how you feel, to use as a friendly reminder for the next time you have a simple craving. Also, make sure not to have too many pig-out foods in your house. And when going to a restaurant, plan what you will eat before getting there. Be pro-active!”
On a deeper level, Adele suggests, “Ask yourself why you are indulging. Is it to numb some other stress or pain? Are you missing nutrients or starving yourself at other times? What is off balance? Seek the help and advice of a professional if you find the bad habits happening often.”
When it comes to impetuous pig-out sessions, both Adele and Ainsley want us all to realize that we always have a choice. As Adele puts it, “You can chose to indulge or not. Know that you have the power over your health and food choices. Don’t feel guilty, just learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and what foods are better as a cheat versus others.” On a more practical side, Ainsley strongly believes that planning is everything, and everything in moderation. “Creating new habits is the hard part, but once new lifestyle habits are formed they will help you stay in control,” she says.
Cover Image: Dalhousie University