Confessions of a Sugar Addict: How to get back on track when the wheels fall off

The weekends are always so tough!”.  That sounds familiar, right?? From Monday through, let’s say Friday morning, maybe even Friday afternoon, things are moving along just fine.  Your nutrition has been on point and you’ve been to the gym 4 days this week.  Once the work week is over and the weekend officially begins, it’s ON!!  A 2 ½ day eat-fest is usually on tap until Monday morning, when we all start back on our ‘diets’.   A party here, a backyard barbeque there, a trip to the movies…oh and who can forget about Sunday brunch??  What’s a clean eater to do? I just had one of the tough weekends myself.  My niece just celebrated her second birthday and my sister had the bright idea of having a “Sweet Shoppe” theme, complete with candy stations, cake,  and more candy.  Every inch of the house was covered with some sugar-filled something that I couldn’t resist.  For those of you who know me, know that I am a BIG TIME sugar addict.  Even though my consistent clean eating has significantly decreased my cravings for the white stuff,  I’m not totally on the wagon.  My Saturday started off great with an intense workout followed by a good, filling breakfast.  I even came prepared to the party with a couple of my own clean meals and the best of intentions to actually eat them.  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Four pieces (I’m being conservative here) of confetti cake with butter cream icing, and several handfuls of M&Ms later, my teeth were aching from all the sugar.  But did that stop the debauchery?  NOPE!  I just kept eating until I felt a big sugar ball forming in the pit of my stomach.   One thing I know for sure is that sugar makes you crave more sugar.  The fact that it was readily available in large quantities didn’t help the situation.   By 7PM when everyone had left for the night, I felt like I had been tossing back a few shots of tequila…woozy, sleepy, disoriented.  Sugar intoxication is real, my friends!!  I was chugging glasses of water to “flush” it all out so that I could prevent a full-on coma.  The only way to shut this thing down was to  leave and head back to my sugar-free home.

How could I have prevented this debacle?  I know that sugar, especially in large, easily-accessible quantities is my biggest trigger… combine that with a celebratory atmosphere and it was downhill from the first M&M! Despite all my knowledge and wisdom, I didn’t do enough to stop the snowball effect.  Why couldn’t I have just stopped at the first set of stomach cramps, and then had a big bowl of fresh fruit to get my sugar fix??  My inability (and unwillingness) to get back on course early in the day is what sealed my fate…my head wasn’t in the game.

Even with your best plans in place, course-correction is ESSENTIAL in cases of overeating or binge eating.  The next time you find yourself in a trigger-filled situation like this, here are a few tips to get back on track:

1)   Know your triggers: Once you recognize and acknowledge the foods and the types of environments (celebration, stress) that cause you to go out of control, you can take action.

2)   Plan ahead: Make sure you’ve eaten properly throughout the day leading up to the trigger event.  Bring a couple of clean meals along with you, if the situation allows.

3)   Course-correct: I’m sure you’ve said to yourself at one time or another “Screw it, I’ve eaten these 5 slices of pizza, I may as well just keep going and have a few cupcakes to top it off!”.  In the moment, it sounds like a good idea, but  it really isn’t.  If you were driving down a dark country road and suddenly realized you were 20 miles out of the way, you wouldn’t say “Oh well, I’ve driven this far, let's just keep going!”  Same thing…don’t keep driving in the wrong direction.

4)   Eat a clean meal ASAP: Junk food makes you crave more junk food.  The best way to stop this vicious cycle is to eat something that is full of nutrients, like a lean protein (of grilled chicken or fish) with a side of veggies.

5)   Forgive yourself and move on: Wallowing in guilt over this error in judgement isn’t worth it.  You eat, you learn, you move on.  Period.

How do you get back on track after a weekend (or weekday) of overeating?  Visit me over on my Facebook page and share your personal tips.