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Binge Recovery

Friday, January 06, 2012

Okay, so you've done it- You ate way too much of the wrong stuff. And in the middle of kicking yourself and wishing you could go back in time, you are wondering "Is there anything I can do to help reduce the negative effects of this?' I have an answer for you, and that answer is "YES"! (And no, it does not involve the porcelain god and sticking a finger down your throat!)

This isn't going to be easy, no magic pill, but it will get most, if not all, of the garbage you just ate out of your system. There are basically three steps you will employ for the next 3 days:

1. Drink water like it's going out of style! This is NOT the time to shy away from water because you are afraid it will make you weigh even more in the morning. It's time to guzzle. It will give your cleansing organs a vehicle to carry all of that bad stuff (carbs, sodium, fat, chemicals) out of your body as fast as possible. The sooner they leave the body, the harder it is for your body to store them as fat. I'm not talking water toxicity levels, here, but make a concerted effort to drink more water than you normally would. And water- not diet soda or any other kind of beverage you would rather drink. Water. Water doesn't give your body one MORE factor to process and deal with.

2. Cardio like a mad person! If you have any extra time for additional cardio over the next 72 hours, just do it, no questions asked. I had a trainer friend of mine say that it takes the body 72 hours to turn unaccounted for carbs into fat. You are trying to get 'em accounted for with cardio! I have no idea if what he said was right or not, but putting as much time into cardio as possible for three days after a binge has helped me to keep the damage at bay. Cardio uses glycogen, which is what the body turns carbs into, for fuel. If glycogen doesn't get used for fuel, the body stores it as fat (future fuel). You want to try to stop that from happening

As an aside- Don't abandon your weight lifting routine, though! Lifting also uses glycogen, although not as much. Keep up the lifting routine the same, but raise your cardio level. Two or three 30 or 40-minute cardio sessions a day is not too much right now, if you can squeeze that much in!

Oh! And expect the next day to have kick-butt cardio and lifting sessions. With all of that glycogen now stored in your muscles you will be able to push harder than normal in your workouts. (Proving that every cloud truly does have a silver lining!)

3. Focus your diet for the next day on protein, with only veggies for carbs. It's Okay to have nonfat milk products. My guess is that after the binge you aren't going to be wanting too many carbs, anyhow. The next two days after that, go for small servings of things like oatmeal with breakfast and whole grains like 100% whole wheat or Ezekial breads and brown rice with lunch and dinner.

Why am I focusing on carbs? Because I am almost certain you didn't binge on turkey breast. You either binged on sweet carbs (cookies, ice cream, brownies), salty carbs (potato chips, crackers), or a combo (peanut butter, kettle corn). None of these combinations is scale-friendly when done in excess, and the only way to get rid of the weight gain is to get rid of the carbs floatin' around in your body.

And the next time, if you can think about it before you immerse your head into that vat of peanut butter again, remind yourself that a binge is 3 days of hard work to (hopefully) undo the damage. I've done this enough times that the thought of both the un-do process and the intestinal distress that is certain to arrive shortly after the binge has ended is almost always enough to stop me in my tracks. It's taken a couple of years to learn my lesson, but now I can almost always say to myself "Ugh! It's just not worth it!" and step away from the temptation.

Depending on your personality, when you get on the scale is up to you. I make myself get on the scale the next morning because I can't stay in denial if I'm looking at the (temporary) damage I've caused. Seeing a big jump motivates me to get right back on track! I also like watching the numbers come down over the next couple of days- It's interesting to me. But if you are the type it is just going to discouraged and want to dive into a bag of BBQ chips when the number is up, I'd advise waiting until after your 3-day recovery process is over.
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