The first thing to do is to remember that it’s okay to get off track sometimes. It happens to everyone. As long as you are aware that you are getting off track, it is okay to do it once in a while. If you stay aware that you shouldn’t ideally be eating that butter chicken, but you are allowing yourself a little treat today, that’s half the battle won. Because the next day, you can make amends by choosing healthier foods again.
If, on the other hand, you just blindly start bingeing without being conscious of what you’re eating, or drinking, that’s a problem you need to address.
Here’s a tip that most people find really handy to help them stay on track – plan, and prepare.
So you know you’re going out to dinner with a group of friends, and it may not be easy to make healthy choices. Eat a small, healthy meal before you head out – a bowl of soup, some salad, or grilled vegetables or fish, or some khichdi or curd rice. That should anchor you.
Get online and see the menu of the restaurant you are going to, and decide what you can eat. If you are going to a friend’s house, watch the starters being passed around, and take a walk around the dinner table, mentally deciding what you can choose to eat. If it is a close friend or family member, request that they make one thing for you, or ask if they mind if you bring it over yourself. If you stay in charge, you are doing fine.
Now, what if you couldn’t do any of this, and ended up bingeing? Is that the first time it happened to you, or do you “accidentally” binge every weekend?
If your answer is the former, just let it go, and get back on track the very next day. Don’t waste time regretting things. Don’t waste time feeling bad. Just get back on track.
If your answer is the latter, get professional help. See your nutritionist or doctor, and ask them what you need to do. Get a wellness buddy. Tell the friends you are with that you are following a regimen that impacts your health, so you cannot join them in drinking too much, or eating heavy, greasy meals. You’re happy to spend time with them, but cannot participate in the feasting. If they support you, great. If they don’t, make new friends!
Here’s an important point to remember – do what makes you happy. There is no point sticking to eating a bowl of raw carrots if you’re miserable watching everyone else tuck into your mother’s delicious biryani. Eat the carrots, and then the biryani, and just enjoy it. Dr Muffi often says that he eats one spoonful of his favourite dessert when he really craves it, and then walks away from the table. It’s all about moderation.