Chances are, if you're Googling 'what to do if you break your diet', your health plans derailed a bit. You're only human.
First things first, it's important to remember life is about balance, and so a weekend spent eating your very favourite food really isn't the end of the world. In fact, it's good for the soul.
Secondly, and importantly, it's vital to ignore any fad-driven or drastic advice that makes you feel guilty about your food consumption. The only time you should feel guilty about food is if you stole it.
But, alas, as anatomy works, if you're actively trying to lose, not maintain your weight, you do need to be in a calorie deficit. So what's next when you're aiming for this and your attempts go a little, well, south?
Don't give up on your fat loss journey just yet. Instead, let us talk you through five easy and applicable plans of action for every worse case scenario, be it the wedding, the workout-less holiday or the Wednesday one-that-turned-into-four bevs in the park.
Even the best-laid wellness intentions can be scuppered by blue sky, sunshine and your friends in tow. So consider this your cheat sheet for surviving a lifestyle lapse.
PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR WHAT TO DO IF YOU BREAK YOUR 'DIET':
1. You hit the festival too hard
Your cider-soaked, burger-fuelled weekend was pretty epic and you’re still scrubbing glitter from your cheeks come Wednesday. But a junk-food blowout can damage your arteries, raising your long-term risk of heart attacks. A diet rich in omega-3 has the opposite arterial impact*, so swap the service station Maccy D’s for a smoked salmon and egg bagel on the way home.
2. The wedding (and consumption of cake) got seriously out of control
So, your cousin’s wedding ended with an empty magnum of champers and a sunrise rendition of My Heart Will Go On – from you, not her. Don’t lose sleep over it. No, really. Just a couple of restless nights can exhaust your immune system and inhibit your body’s ability to stabilise your blood sugar levels. A Sunday nap and an early night or two will rebalance your hormones and boost antiviral function.
3. You inhaled the entire BBQ (plus guac, Doritos and Pimms)
Going full Jamie on the barbecue? Your actual pals will thank you, even if My Fitness Pal won’t – but go easy on the ketchup and buns. Overindulging in high- calorie processed foods can cause a mood slump that lasts for days*. And step away from the leftover pavlova the next day: a high-sugar diet causes changes in gut bacteria, which can impair the brain’s ability to function. Restore with a probiotic yoghurt instead.
4. Lying horizontally on a beach replaced workouts
Frolicking on a flamingo counts as cardio, right? Well, not exactly, but should you skip the hotel gym for two weeks on a lilo in the pool, it’s all good. The fitter you are, the longer it takes for those hard-won gains to decline. Cardio losses tend to kick in after a fortnight, while strength starts to decline only after four to six weeks. That amingo won’t in ate itself.
5. Your one drink turned into four
Spending more time in beer gardens than your own home? Watch out, because binge drinking can disrupt your autoimmune function. A sun-soaked G&T is cool – it’s only bingeing if you’re necking more than six units in a single sesh. Go easy on the shots and, if you’re a hops gal, opt for a darker-hued beer, which is likely to be higher in iron. Bottoms up.
This article origionally appeared on Women's Health UK.