Saturday 3 December 2016

So, have you been eggs-tra naughty over Easter break?

Karen Coghlan will guide you back onto the right dietary road

Published 06/04/2015 | 09:55

chocolate woman
chocolate woman

The Easter Bunny has been and instead of eating just some of the chocolate egg, you ate all of the chocolate eggs.

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Your plan now is to start your strict new diet and to go the gym five times this week and burn off all the extra calories.

Monday you set your alarm for 6am, go to the gym, and stick rigidly to the plan.

You're still going strong on Tuesday. Wednesday, you hit the snooze button, skip the gym telling yourself you will go later (but you don't) and "I'll just have half of one of the kids small Easter eggs".

Thursday, "sure I may as well have the other half" and the gym bag never even got packed. Friday, "what diet?"

Saturday, feeling useless for not sticking to your new regime you tell yourself "I'll start again on Monday", and in the meantime polish off all the chocolate in the house so it's not there to tempt you when you start your rigid diet again next week.

This sort of all-or-nothing thinking needs to stop or else you'll end up in a vicious circle of yo-yo dieting for eternity. GET BACK TO NORMAL

This sort of punishing behaviour is an extreme attempt to rectify our indulgences and it's not healthy.

Indulging in some chocolate occasionally is perfectly normal and it's ok. If you're feeling bloated and a bit heavier on the scales, then so what.

Most of it will be water retention and unlikely that you gained fat over a few days.

You don't need to go on an elimination diet, detox, or juice cleanse. Restrictive diets are bad news. There is nothing to be gained from them except misery.

If you make drastic changes to your diet this week then it is only a matter of time before another binge occurs.

The more restrictive your diet then the worse the binge usually is.

It's a perpetual cycle of restriction and binging, losing weight and regaining weight. Not to mention the feeling of guilt and diminished self-worth that comes over time with unsuccessful dieting.

Break the cycle. Accept that you have indulged, but don't punish yourself for your food choices. Give the quackery diets a miss and instead get back to normal.

Nourish your body with plenty of water and quality food, exercise and sleep, and watch the body take care of itself all by itself.

YOUR VERY NEXT MEAL

If you are following a fat loss plan then hiccups along the way are perfectly normal. They happen. And so what if they do. The trick is to move on after and just get back on track.

There is always going to be little slip ups along the way, but we need to allow for it, accept it, and not feel bad for it.

Life happens, the Easter bunny brings chocolate, and we shouldn't feel guilty or bad about ourselves for it. Life is to be enjoyed after all.

They key is to not let the hiccup spiral out of control and turn into a full week of splurging. You do not have to wait for a Monday either. Every day is an opportunity to get right back on track. In fact, your next opportunity to get back on track is always your very next meal.

HAVE A PLAN TO GET BACK ON PLAN

Planning to go off-plan is always a good idea when following a calorie restricted diet. Not only it is good for us physically by resetting metabolism and hormones, but it is also good for our mental well-being as we get to loosen the reigns and enjoy some fun foods.

However, if you find that you have an unplanned binge, it is important to address why it happened and to put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.

Are you restricting your food intake too much? Don't cut back too severely or you'll only end up craving more of what you are cutting back on. Allow for treats from time to time. Give yourself the choice and feel the mental struggle disappear.

What set you off? Identify what food are "triggers" for you. What is your previous history with this food? Learning to eat and enjoy your trigger foods in small amounts is an important part of the process.

What mood were you in when it happened? Were you anxious, upset, bored? How did you feel after? Was it worth it? Remember this feeling for the next time when faced with the same circumstances and decide what is more important to you - your long-term goals or short-term gratification.

Don't dwell on it for too long though. If your overall eating behaviours have been positive, then just accept it as a little slip up and move on with a contingency plan in place.

Karen is a personal trainer and runs online nutrition and fat loss programmes. See www.thenutcoach.com or email karen@thenutcoach.com

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