After the Cheat Meal - Coming Down from the Sugar Spike
If you've been eating pretty well, balanced, sugar free, etc. and indulge, how do you handle getting back on track after it all goes down? Maybe it’s post-holiday or maybe even just after a serious indulgence, and some of us may have gone a little overboard, or maybe not. Maybe you just dabbled in a little bit of sugar or alcohol, but it’s all just enough to make you feel kind of icky.
Here’s What’s Happening If you had some sugar, one too many drinks, or even if you had a full blown cheat day - regardless of how minor or major it was, you’ve sent your body into a series of insulin spikes and drops, among other metabolic shifts. When we get off track even for just one meal, and especially for a full day, our body responds and it might not feel great.
Insulin Roller Coaster Cheat meals and out of balance meals can cause our bodies to produce more insulin, and possibly even drive more storage. You might be experiencing some of the following post-cheat affects: headache, achy joints/swelling, bloating, fatigue, stomach and bowel discomfort, and most notably, intense cravings for more of that sweet, carby stuff. No one likes to feel any of those things. If you've not had foods like those for a while, you’ve basically removed a drug from your body, and then when you indulge, you just introduce it back in, and your body wants more. Don’t give in, you already know that it only takes a few days to get back on track, normalize again, and start feeling better.
So, How Do We Get Back On Track? Have a plan for the day following the indulgence...and the coming days after. Here are some tools to help you get back on track:
Record What You Eat and Balance Your Meals - Have Protein, Fat and Carbs at each sitting. That means, grab some leftover turkey and some veggies after Thanksgiving perhaps, and maybe add some olives or avocado. This will start to level out those spikes of insulin and as a result minimize your cravings and crashing.
Plan and Prep - Create your meal plan for this next day and week ahead so you have guidelines to get back on track.
Make Something New - Even using the healthy part of leftovers, create an additional dish that is balanced and healthy. This might help you over the mental hurdle of having something similar to what you had but stripping out the bad stuff. Share your idea or meal with a friend, which might also help you and them stay on track!
Exercise! - Working out will definitely help flush some of the toxins out. Get into the gym, go for a walk or a jog, get on your bike, workout with friends!
Good luck coming back to your solid nutritional habits and normal.