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You’ve made a plan to follow a weight loss diet and you’ve been disciplined to stick with that plan, but what happens if you fall off the wagon for a day? Whether it’s a holiday or a day of stress-induced binge eating, can one day of eating junk food completely wreck your diet? Here’s where you can breathe a sigh of relief. While a day of binging can certainly leave you feeling miserably bloated, one day of bad eating probably has more of an effect on your mental state and motivation to lose weight than it does on your weight loss itself. Here’s why. In the simplest of terms, it all comes down to simple math. One pound equals 3,500 calories. That means to gain even a pound of fat in a single day, you’d have to consume 3,500 calories more than you typically eat and burn off in a day. That’s quite a few extra tacos! That said, everyone’s body is different, and everyone’s caloric needs are different. Weight, height, gender, and level of physical activity all impact whether or not you gain weight or lose it. And if you continue your gorging habits daily, or even weekly, you could undo and progress you’ve made toward weight loss.
What About the Scale?It is completely normal to see the scale fluctuate from one day to the next. Keep in mind that the number you see on the scale not only reflects the amount of fat on your body, but bone, organ mass, water, and bodily fluids should also be taken into account. Eating a meal that is high in carbs or sodium could cause you to retain more water for a few days, but after a few days of eating balanced diets for weight loss, most people see the number on the scale drop back down again. What’s even more important than if you binged for a day is why you binged. Take some time to evaluate the reasons behind your day of binge eating. Is your weight loss diet too restrictive, making you more likely to overeat in a moment of weakness? A balanced diet for weight loss should not leave you absolutely starving, but giving yourself too many restrictions at once may require more willpower than you’ve got. Are you experiencing an unusual amount of stress? Is it emotional eating? Did you spend the day veged out on the couch, mindlessly snacking? If you can pinpoint the reason you fell off the wagon for a day, you’ll be better equipped to overcome the temptation and stick to your weight loss diet in the future. While a single day of poor diet choices probably won’t ruin your progress, there are simple changes you can make in your diet today to help you lose weight even faster. These tips go hand in hand with weight loss diets to deliver results.
- Make protein the star of your breakfast. A high-protein breakfast can help reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day.
- Skip sugary drinks and juices and stick to water, unsweet tea and coffee. Calories found in drinks are known as “empty calories,” and many people forget to count these calories when calculating daily intake. Even if you’re eating a balanced diet for weight loss, sipping on sugary drinks during the day only makes it harder on yourself.
- Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal. Drinking water before meals helps you feel more full, so you’ll eat less, ultimately leading to weight loss over time.
- Chew your food slowly, and put down your fork between bites.
- Eat soluble fiber (whole grains, seeds, apples, strawberries, beans, etc.) Soluble fiber can help reduce fat in the belly area.
- Stick to whole, unprocessed foods. Whole foods are more filling and contain more nutrients than any processed foods. Some ingredients in junk food may actually increase cravings, whole natural foods typical help control cravings.
- Focus on low-carb veggies including broccoli, spinach, kale, cucumber and tomatoes.
- Cook with healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil. Some fat is essential in a weight loss diet. Just be sure you’re getting your fat from healthy sources like oil, fish, nuts or seeds, rather than junk food.
- Keep your carb intake under 50 grams per day. The body processes carbohydrates like sugar and stores carbs as fat. To burn more fat, eat more protein-rich foods, and fewer carb-heavy foods.
- Get a good night’s sleep every night. Poor sleep habits have consistently been linked to weight gain. Taking care of yourself means giving yourself plenty of time to get a good night’s rest.