When it comes to managing weight, it’s not possible (or sane) to be at 100% all the time. It’s normal and healthy to include fun foods. However, when too much fun food is included too often, it can sometimes cause some weight to creep on. What should you do when your weight starts to creep up after too much indulging?
I’ve been noticing a pattern that emerges when a person starts to see some weight sneaking back on. Oftentimes, they’ll be motivated to do a little renewed dieting. They drop their calorie goal down a little bit, or they devote even more time to exercise. In more severe circumstances, they may skip or strictly limit meals during the next few days to compensate for their overeating.
When I notice this pattern, I encourage the client to stop and think about what behavior changes may have contributed to the weight creep in the first place, rather than changing the habits that were already working just fine. If they were rolling along on an 1800 calorie diet, steadily losing weight, before overindulging in fun foods for a few weeks, it’s not the 1800 calorie diet that’s the problem.
Too often I see individuals try to compensate for including too much fun food by undereating. If an 1800 calorie diet was working for you until you took some time off for a booze-and-buffet-filled vacation, don’t punish yourself with a 1400 calorie diet just because some weight may have crept back on. Stick to reducing the behavior that contributed to the weight creep – limit alcoholic beverages, choose smaller portions of desserts and fun foods, get back on the exercise plan that was working for you.
This topic is important to me because it’s a pattern I see so often – and I have been there! Having gained and then lost 20 pounds, only to regain it and finally lose it again, I recognize a lot of my old habits in this pattern. Sustainable weight loss was finally achievable once I realized I just needed to cut back on habits that weren’t as healthy rather than stay on a strict low-calorie diet to “atone” for too many pizza-and-beer nights. If you’re struggling to stay on the healthy eating wagon, make sure that you are fueling your body the way it deserves rather than punishing yourself for including fun foods. Find an eating style that’s sustainable for you – hopefully one that includes a little pizza and beer without guilt, because you allow yourself flexibility. When it comes to your nutrition and active lifestyle, don’t fix what ain’t broke!