Imagine you’re driving down the highway and your car veers towards the ditch. You pass over the rumble strips and hit the grass of the ditch. You grab the wheel and crank it to the left. Not only are you going to get away from the ditch, but because of your time spent near the ditch, you figure you’ll spend some time driving in the left lane… just to average things out.
As crazy as this sounds, this is how many people diet.
If you overeat on the weekend, do you spend the next day or two trying to make up for it by “averaging” out your eating? Do you workout extra hard to burn off those calories?
While it makes sense in theory, it’s not the best practice for long-term health.
Whatever you do most often will become a habit.
The goal with eating is to form healthy habits. Whatever you do most often will become a habit.
By falling into the overeat/under-eat/exercise cycle, you become really good at just that - overeating, under-eating and punishing yourself with exercise. You create a habit of extremes. What seems like a good idea is actually reinforcing poor behaviors leading to a poor relationship with food and exercise.
Instead of reacting to your overeating by under-eating and overexercising, aim to return to normal eating as soon as possible.
...aim to return to normal eating as soon as possible.
By returning to normal as quickly as possible, you are reinforcing that overeating for one day isn’t that big of a deal. Practicing returning to baseline eating is an invaluable skill.