What to do when you’ve cheated on your diet

I blew the sugar detox BIG TIME today. It was the perfect storm of bad circumstances. I didn’t eat much breakfast this morning because I forgot about a doctor’s appointment. The appointment was one of those really unpleasant ones. Then I got stressed out about a scheduling mishap with a cooking demo I’m doing this Wesnesday. Finally, I spotted my kryptonite at work: shortbread cookies from Scotland. Tired, hungry, and PMS-y, I had one… And another… And when I was counting the wrappers in my trash can after this disaster, I counted 19. Eeek!!

I’m sure this has happened before to even the most motivated dieters and detoxers. Here’s how you can recover quickly and be back on track in no time:

1. Forgive yourself. Be kind! Don’t beat yourself up about this. Even a BIG slip up (like mine) doesn’t have to derail you for good! You’re human- you can’t be perfect all the time.

2. Think about how you feel physically. Are you bloated? Jittery? Distended? Sleepy? Nauseous? Take note of how you feel and use it as a reminder that the temporary pleasure of eating the junk food you’re craving comes with some unpleasant side effects.

3. Drink tons of water. Think about how the water is going to help clean you out! The more water you drink, the better. Give yourself credit for doing this. Try some mental praise like, “good, drinking water shows that I am capable of making good decisions!”

4. Reflect on what caused you to make the bad food decision you made. Was it a circumstance? A tempting food you shouldn’t keep around? Were you thinking too much about something that’s not part of your food plan? Identify the trigger and come up with a game plan for similar situations in the future. For example, if browsing the Pinterest dessert boards makes you crave unhealthy treats, make the decision to stop looking at “food porn!” If you know Cheetos are too much of a temptation, don’t keep them in your house.

5. Don’t skip your next meal! You may be tempted to, but skipping dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow can cause you to slip up again and send you on a roller coaster of out of control hunger. At the very least, have a green juice for some refreshing nutrition you can feel good about!

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6. Do something to concretely determine that you are back on track now. Don’t wait till tomorrow! One bad choice won’t take you very far off the path to better health. In fact, the ONLY healthy choice you have to make is your very next one! Take it one step at a time.
Sometimes it’s nice to paint your nails as a symbolic way of drawing a clear line to remind yourself that now you’re going to be back on track with making good decisions.

7. Have some fun to cheer up! Dance, listen to your favorite song, go window shopping, or take a fun fitness class. That’s what I decided to do tonight! After my stomach settled, I drove to Elevé for a workout I hadn’t tried before.

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Elevé offers different types of trampoline fitness classes, including HIIT training, flexibility, dance, and core. Tonight’s class was a combination of plyometrics and strength training with free weights. What a pretty studio!

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The instructor, Alejandro, had a great teaching style and lots of energy! I loved his music, creative exercises, and the the burn I felt afterward. He was kind enough to let me take the class barefoot… I had left my sneakers at work.

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I’ll be sure to tell you about the other classes at the studio as I try them, but so far I can definitely recommend checking Elevé out for a free class!

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Can’t wait to bounce around on one of these next time!

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So the moral of the story is that you don’t have to hate yourself for messing up your healthy eating plan. It won’t matter in the long run! Just stay positive by following the tips I mentioned. If you have any ideas to add, I’d love to hear them!

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21 Day Sugar Detox

A few of my coworkers and I have decided to take a 21 day sugar detox challenge to crush intense cravings and start eating more cleanly.

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The manual is huge, but the whole thing is really pretty simple. I can eat lots of vegetables, animal and plant proteins (but nothing too processed), and full fat dairy (to prevent blood sugar spikes from low fat dairy). There are no sugars or sweeteners allowed, with the exception of one green apple or one green tipped banana per day. No fruit!?

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Believe me, I’m questioning this food list like crazy. For example, why can I have apples and bananas when other fruits, like raspberries, cranberries, and papaya are lower in sugar?? And why can I have almonds but not cashews or peanuts? I think if it was just me doing this challenge alone, I would tweak it a bit. For the sake of fairness to my coworkers, I’ll just stick to the list. It’s only 21 days after all!

I’ll be posting recipes and food prep tips- feel free to jump in with us on this challenge! I’m starting my morning with some unsweetened coffee and organic whole milk. Yuck! Hopefully my taste buds will adapt.

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Mindful Restaurant Eating

Lately I’ve been eating out a lot more frequently than usual. Maybe it’s because I’ve cleaned all the snack foods out of my pantry. It’s left mostly bare- save canned black beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, bread, cereal, and uncooked grains. No treats in sight, and I crave treats a lot. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have any snacks around the house to munch on, but sometimes the cravings hit hard! I know a situation is dire when I’m ready to mindlessly munch on toast or cereal since there’s nothing around for me to really enjoy. In these situations, I’ve decided it’s best to go out and have a reasonable and delicious meal than to binge on something as unsatisfying and nutrient poor as a bowl of Sugar Puffs. God made food to be enjoyed, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips for enjoying good food! Ultimately, people who eat out often have a harder time losing weight than those who usually prepare their meals at home. It’s true, but a life without going out to eat seems sad. And a protein shake with fruit or scrambled eggs at home won’t always make the cut.  So before you grab your keys and head out the door, consider these ways to stay in the moment and be a mindful eater at the restaurant! I hope that the following ideas will help you make the most of your dining experience without blowing your healthy eating plan.

Think twice before ordering

People can fall into a rut of eating the same dishes at the same restaurant, or they may say yes without thinking if a waitress suggests an appetizer. Mindful eating involves breaking those autopilot habits that we have around eating. *Bonus* Stick with an appetizer, a drink other than water, OR dessert instead of getting all the extras.
 
Make each calorie count

Think about what you really love to eat, and save your calorie budget to spend on those foods. Does that cheese on the burger really make it for you? If not, that’s about a hundred calories. *Bonus* Enjoy what you’re having, but eat less. Consider splitting a dish with a friend, or ordering a side of fruit instead of potato chips if you wouldn’t really enjoy them anyway.
 
On the side, please

Gravy, salad dressing, butter — if you can ask for something on the side, do it. Then you have control of how much you really need or want on there. *Bonus* Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want- if you’re concerned that your willpower may fail when the waitress busts out the bread basket or chips and dip, it’s ok to ask her not to bring them out.
 
Think before you eat

Before you dig in, take a moment to ask yourself how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 10, and how that hunger matches up with what you’ve got in front of you. Remember, you don’t have to clear your plate. *Bonus* If you tend to clean your plate, consider asking the waiter to box up half your meal before it gets to you.
 
Pay attention

When you’re eating, really be aware of the sight and the texture and the taste of food. We go out to eat because it’s enjoyable, it’s pleasurable, it tastes good — all of that. If you’re really paying attention, maybe you don’t have to eat the whole basket of fries; you can eat just a handful. *Bonus* Enjoy everything about the dining experience! Get dressed up, have a great conversation, check out the décor of the restaurant, and have fun with whoever is keeping you company.
 
Slow down

It can take our bodies up to 20 minutes to register the fact that we’re full — and during that time we’re often continuing to stuff ourselves. Take your time, chew your food carefully, and treat a meal as a leisurely stroll rather than a race. *Bonus* Did you drink your water? Try drinking a whole glass of water before your food comes out and remember to take sips between bites. Ask for extra lemons to give your water more flavor.
 
Drop the fork

While you’re eating, put your fork down for a moment and assess how you’re feeling. We get into such a habit of picking up the fork and putting food in our mouths, without even checking in with ourselves to see, ‘Am I still hungry, or am I full?’ *Bonus* If all else fails, try eating with your non-dominant hand to slow your roll.

 

What do you do to ensure your restaurant meal is as enjoyable as possible?