6 Ways to Bounce Back From a Binge

A wedding or a night out on the town—there are plenty of reasons we overeat. But if you have diabetes, it can affect more than your waistline. Here’s how to get over the overeating guilt and back to healthy eating.

Diana Bierman

If you have diabetes, you already know that keeping a healthy weight is crucial. But it’s not always easy to stick to a healthy diet. We’ve all been there: A slice of cake at an office birthday party turns into a few scoops of ice cream after a long day at work.

While it’s okay to indulge every now and then, repeatedly doing so can cause unhealthy blood sugar levels, weight gain and a greater risk of diabetes-related complications. So whatever the reason you fell off the healthy-eating wagon, don’t fret! Follow these getting-back-on-track secrets.

1. Resist the urge to skip meals. Passing on breakfast or lunch the day after a pig-out will not offset the extra calories you took in the days before. What it can do, however, is cause your blood sugar levels to dip. Plus, skipping a meal may actually make you crave more junk food, according to a Cornell study. Two groups were sent to go food shopping; but just one ate crackers beforehand. The group that went on an empty stomach bought almost 19% more food, including 31% more high-calorie fare!

2. Get moving. Hitting the gym or going for a run is a good way to begin your bounce back. And exercise can actually promote healthier choices, according to researchers. Why? Right after you work out, blood flow delivers extra oxygen to the part of your brain that controls impulses. So you’ll be better able to tap into your self-control, opting for the banana over a donut. What’s more, scientists at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, say a brisk 45-minute AM workout can curb your appetite and decrease cravings!

3. Forgive yourself. One of the first things people tend to do after overdoing it on the junk food is beat themselves up. However, “if what you’re doing doesn’t greatly disturb your blood glucose measurements, there’s no reason to be self-critical,” says Arlan Rosenbloom, MD, adjunct distinguished service professor emeritus, Division of Endocrinology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville. So instead of feeling defeated, make a pledge with yourself to move forward from your old ways.

4. Start a food diary. Simply jotting down what you eat has near-magical pound-paring powers. The proof: A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that dieters who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t—even if they did nothing else, like exercise, to lose weight. Seems keeping a diary helps keep calorie intake in check while building awareness of eating patterns. Tip: If you’re a techie, you might like keeping an online diary or downloading a journaling app to your smart phone.

5. Get your zzzs. Sleep-deprived people are more likely to crave high-calorie fare than those who get a full eight hours, according to a Columbia University study. The reason? Lack of shut-eye may stimulate the pleasure-seeking part of your brain and adversely affect the part of your brain that rationalizes whether you’re hungry. So tonight, why not tuck in an hour or two earlier than usual?

6. Figure out why you slipped up. Were you not eating often enough or allowing yourself to get too hungry? Were you eating out of boredom or due to stress? Did you feel pressure to finish what was on your plate? Once you learn the motives behind your overindulging, you’ll be better equipped to stay in control.

August 2013