Simple Strategies to Bounce Back After Cheating

Feeling guilty about that giant bowl of ice cream that seemed to disappear? It’s not the end of the world! Don’t get consumed by guilt but rather figure out how to rectify the situation. While considering going on the keto diet understand that by eating more fat and fewer carbohydrates, many of these cravings will dissipate. That’s good news considering cheating is more likely while on a non-high-fat diet. On the keto diet cheating is less likely, but it’s still essential to prepare for those temptation-filled days. We offer advice on the subject in the Body Reboot book, so be sure to check it out. Here are some tips to consider next time you feel like overindulging. 

NBC News interviewed a few health professionals, and in particular, nurse Patricia Bannan said it’s not helpful to beat yourself up after cheating. Instead, ignore those voices in your head and decide to let it go and move forward. 

Like most of the dietitians I spoke to, Patricia Bannan, RDN, a nutrition expert in Los Angeles isn’t fond of the term ‘cheat.’ According to Bannan, “It feeds into the concept of foods being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or worse, relates your food choices to you as a person being ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”

People often tell me about that critical voice in their head that judges them for overeating. I always advise them to dial that voice down. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: When you take a wrong turn, your GPS doesn’t judge you. Instead, she gently reminds you to take the next U-turn. Bannan offers this gentle reminder: “There are certainly times when people overeat unhealthy foods and feel emotionally and/or physically bad afterwards. The other extreme can be when people deprive themselves completely of all foods they consider ‘bad,’ like ice cream, French fries or chocolate, and then unnecessarily lack enjoyment in their diet or eventually overindulge. It’s really your total diet and total lifestyle that matters.”

In other words, let go of the guilt and return to healthier choices at your next eating occasion. One indulgence won’t make or break a mostly healthy menu.

Since going on the keto diet is all about avoiding carbs and eating foods high in fat, you should do your best to avoid eating refined carbs. Why? Not only do refined carbs cause significant weight gain, but they will also kick you out of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body is burning fat and not carbohydrates. Keep your body burning fat by cutting back on the carbs after you eat too many of them. 

I may be a fitness coach and my life may revolve around helping people get healthier, but you’d be crazy to assume I don’t figure out ways to enjoy delicious foods. Those foods have no place during a diet reset, though.

I use this day to make sure I keep those foods at a bare minimum. No breads, pastas, rice or donuts. It’s not that I hate these foods or think they’re bad for me — I actually love carbs.

I just know eating fewer of them will help me drop some waterweight, get rid of the bloated feeling and my calorie intake lower.

Remember, this isn’t a weeklong thing, either. It’s a one-day process.

If 50 percent of your plate is filled with leafy greens and you’re not eating your first meal until lunchtime, you’ll find it’s hard to fit in rice or bread anyway.

NBC News says that cheating on your diet is one thing, but permitting yourself to continue to eat bad from here on out is giving up on yourself. Even if you made a mistake, it's not the end of the world. Push forward and eat things you love in moderation. And, find foods that fulfill your cravings. For example, on the keto diet, you can have some dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

“While I’m not a fan of the word ‘cheat,’ I think it’s perfectly fine to occasionally indulge. Just do it smartly. Choose one thing you really want, whether it’s ice cream or a pina colada, but don’t give yourself excuses to turn the one indulgence into a whole day or week of overindulging!” advises Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ.

Another way to look at this: Have the French toast at brunch, but then steer yourself toward a luscious seasonal salad at your next meal. After all, when you drop your smart phone and crack the screen, you don’t take the next chance to hurl it across the room. Apply that thinking to your menu. Have what you want, but don’t turn it into all-day cheat fest.

Fat-Burning Man says that no one cares that you slipped up and ate a cupcake except for you. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes (as we’ve emphasized throughout this article), here are a few ways to overcome those feelings of disappointment: 

#1 – Manage your false hunger: During the 24 hours following a binge, your blood sugar will fluctuate wildly. This will cause false hunger and a powerful desire to eat more sugar and/or carbs. Don’t. Sip on some black coffee or herbal tea. Go for a walk. Do meaningful work. Just keep yourself busy and forget about food.

#2 – Fast: If fasting is in your wheelhouse, do it. And it’s also a super effective way to negate any extra caloric effects from the overeating as well as shed the extra water weight (and bloating) that accompanies a carb-fest. It doesn’t need to be an extended fast, either – a skipped meal or compressed eating window might just do the trick.

#3 – Engage in high-intensity exercise: Get out to a field or track and do some wind sprints. Hop in the weight room and lift like a maniac. Jump into a vigorous game of pickup basketball. Do anything to get your heart rate up and have fun. You’ll have a ton of energy to put in a solid workout. Use all that glycogen to your advantage!

#4 – Resume normal eating habits: This is the fastest way to get back to a ‘happy place’ and leave the binge in the rearview. Don’t sweat it. Just move on. And if inspecting yourself in the mirror causes issues, don’t look in the mirror. It’s simple. As long as your long-term habits are dialed-in, you’ll be back in action in no time.

Elite Daily recommends fasting for part of the day, and we happen to agree that this is a smart way to put eating too many carbs behind you. Plus, fasting has several health benefits!

We’re not talking about a 48-hour fast here, nothing extreme. Instead, the diet reset involves using intermittent fasting, or just an extended period of not eating.

Instead of having a normal breakfast, skip it and don’t eat until lunchtime.

Fasting has a scary connotation to it. In reality, it offers a ton of health benefits, from positive hormonal effects, a possible increase in life span and an increase in metabolism.

Fasting means no eating. Getting over the mental hurdle is the hardest part for a lot of people. You should be drinking plenty of water during your fast.

Coffee and tea are okay, too. If you’re someone who uses a lot of cream and sugar though, try and cut back on those.

Combine an increased metabolism, no food in the morning and plenty of water. What do you get? Feeling much less like a beached whale, and more like yourself again.

Before we end this article, once again we’d like to remind you how important it is to set the reset button. says cutting yourself some slack is vital if you want to move forward and continue to succeed in your diet. Remember, you’ve got this! 

Cheat foods do more than fill up your belly—they mess up your mood, your energy levels, and your hormones. This is why bouncing back after a cheat day is so difficult: Your body and your mind both take a hit.

The first thing to do when you pull yourself out of a food tailspin is to drink water. Water is essential for proper digestion, and no matter what you put in your body, you'll need water to help flush it out. Water is also hydrating, which helps boost your energy and clear your mind so you can feel better and refocus right away.

After water, think about what your body needs to reset healthfully. Stayed out too late on an all-night bender? Take an afternoon nap. Ate too much in one sitting? Give your stomach a full five hours to empty before eating again. You can't do anything about the cheat foods you already ate, but you can take steps to help your body and mind reset.

We wrote the Body Reboot book to help people like yourself to overcome diet hurdles and find something that works! Visit this page to get a free copy of our book before they’re all gone!

Sources: NBC News, Fat-Burning Man, Elite Daily, Body Building

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