Does a clean eating diet really work? Sure, it’s healthy; after all, you’re eating “clean.” However, if you ever tried to stick to steamed veggies, oatmeal, tuna, and chicken breasts, then you know it’s not long before cravings for chocolate cake kicks in. Who hasn’t broken their diet regimen and just all-out binged on ice cream and bacon cheeseburgers? What happens when you screw up and cave into that irresistible tub of Ben & Jerry’s? Will you immediately lose your hard-earned six-pack?
Why People Screw Up Their Diet in the First Place
We must point out that the typical form of this diet is precisely why most people throw their diet out the window in the first place. When you eat clean, you’re going to feel deprived. Sure, initially, you may feel good about yourself and believe you’re on the fast-track to healthy fat loss. However, sooner or later you’re going to feel like crap because eating has become a chore rather than the once-enjoyable activity.
Before long, your insatiable cravings for hotdogs and donuts get the better of you. It’s during this moment of vulnerability that you go on a binge. You don’t stop at a single cupcake or half a Cinnabon. You eat like a death-row inmate having his last meal.
What Is a Clean Eating Diet, Anyways?
Most people don’t even agree on what constitutes “clean” foods. Vegans believe it’s any non-animal-based products. Others think it’s foods that fall under a paleo diet. Keto advocates believe it’s anything without carbs. Regardless of what you believe, it almost always entails depriving yourself of foods you enjoy.
This is why Kinobody advocates a moderate calorie restriction and a flexible diet where you allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love as long as you hit your macros and continue to strength train. Under a flexible diet, foods typically on the no-no list are acceptable every day in moderation.
Learning how to stay on a diet shouldn’t be about immense willpower. It should be about putting yourself in a slight calorie deficit so that you could be having gradual weight loss without experiencing extreme hunger pangs.
You Screwed Up; Now What?
Even if you follow a flexible diet plan, you may still occasionally screw up. Perhaps you went a few hundred calories above your allotted intake. Or maybe you had a social outing and overindulged on the high-calorie liquor.
How enormous is the eff-up and what is the remediation?
The response action is simple: Don’t feel guilty over it!
Okay, you had a moment of weakness and strayed from the path. It’s actually not that big of a deal. Shrug it off and move on. Guilt is often the natural response; it’s also the worse response.
Research actually shows that when you feel guilty you tend to eat more. In a New Zealand study, female participants indicated whether they generally felt guilty or happy after eating a “forbidden food.” During a follow-up 18-months later, it was discovered that the guilty group of women gained significantly more weight than the women that said they felt good when indulging in junk food.
In other words, guilt is a precursor for binge eating. With that in mind, please don’t kick yourself in the rear if you ate a little more or scarfed down a glazed donut. Tomorrow, you’ll be back on square one, so treat the indulgence as a no biggie.
In fact, we’ll even go as far as say the occasional overeating is beneficial. A little extra bit of calories never hurts for fueling muscle growth.
The real mistake occurs when you feel bad for it and then just throw your entire diet out the window.
Not feeling guilty is even more important for the ladies. Women on average burn fewer calories than men, so feeling guilty and subsequently overeating is even more consequential.
Two Things to Do When You “Screw Up” Your Diet
First, accept that you made an error and move on. In fact, revel in the fact that you gave yourself a treat and get on with the rest of your day. Too often, people are overly critical just for going over by a few hundred calories or even having a single Oreo cookie. They believe that they committed an unforgivable sin and must feel like crap as a means of atonement.
Second, learn what caused you to screw up in the first place. Perhaps you had some cheese nachos, believing you can fit it into your meal, but ended up eating an extra serving or two because it was just so damn good. Okay, do a self-reflection to determine why you caved in. Perhaps your food intake the rest of the time is too oriented on this kind of diet, and the cravings finally caught up with you.
Here’s an additional pointer. Don’t try to compensate the next day by squeezing in a cardio session or cutting additional calories proportionate to the extra amount you had the day before. This will only trigger more binge eating episodes, creating an endless cycle of indulging and compensating. Instead, just proceed the next day as usual.
An Occasional Screw Up Is a Good Thing
We believe the occasional misstep is a part of the learning process and teaches you how to stay on a diet. When you screw up a little bit, you learn when to stop yourself before you get to the point of binging. Treat it as a self-learning moment and getting to know your own body.
When you go on a leaning phase, don’t expect perfect control of your cravings. If you give in here and there, it’s not the end of the world. MOVE ON!
A Quick Recommendation Before We Go
This kind of diet is not maintainable, hence why so many weight loss endeavors end in failure. This is why we recommend flexible dieting. Eat in moderation what your heart – or your belly – desires. We recommend KinoChef as part of a flexible dieting program. You’ll discover delicious and healthy recipes that keep cravings at bay… which promotes healthy eating. Learn to leave room in your caloric intake and macronutrient split for small indulgences such as chocolate, ice cream or a small dessert.
We also recommend that you check out our success stories. We bet that every single one of these Kinobody followers “screwed up” on their diet on at least one occasion. Yet, by the look of their before and after photos, it clearly didn’t stop them from achieving amazing results.