One of the recent search terms on my blog was this: “If I ate a whole bag of candy corn while losing weight will I gain all my weight back?”
I smiled when I read this, but in reality, it is a very good question when it comes to weight loss.
Why is it such a great question? Because it happens to almost everyone who is trying to lose weight at one point or another during their dieting experience. It may not be candy corn that makes you ask that question and panic a bit, but there has likely been a time where you have overeaten a certain food and worried you had ruined all your good work.
It could be you ate a whole bag of candy corn in one day, inhaled a “value size” meal or two from McDonald’s, grazed on an entire bag of M&M in one day, or opened and finished off the bag of Oreos or potato chips while you were watching television. The type of food does not really matter. Your reaction to your behavior and what you learn from the experience is really what matters.
First, let’s look at the numbers.
Because it is close to Halloween, let’s start with candy corn as the example. As a FYI, the Brach’s website (under the brand name Ferrera) indicates that nutrition information “Will Be Coming Soon!” Really. 🙁
But, I went to the store and looked at a bag in person. 22 pieces of candy corn has 140 calories, according to the bag I picked up at Target. This particular bag had nine servings, meaning the whole bag has 1, 260 calories.
Now to the fast food meal from McDonald’s.
A “value size” (I hate that term) meal including a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke has 1,300 calories.
The questions of the day are this:
- What if you do eat the whole bag of candy in one day or eat a value sized meal from McDonald’s, or make some other eating “mistake?”
- Do you gain your weight back immediately?
- Is your diet ruined forever?
The answer of the day is this:
No, you did not ruin your diet and weight loss plan forever. No, you will not immediately gain back all your weight. After all, it takes about 3,500 calories to gain a pound. Remember though, that the extra sodium in restaurant foods can make for a tick up on the scale. But if you get back on your healthy eating plan right away, it will come back down.
The better question of this day is this:
Why did you eat all that in the first place when you were trying to lose weight and eat a healthier diet?
So there is a simple answer to the very first question. No, you did not ruin everything by having a binge or just making a poor choice. But there are much more complex answers to the last question. The question of “Why.”
In order to lose weight successfully and keep it off, you do need to control your eating habits, making healthier choices, exercise, and not binge. But you also need to examine why it is you are eating entire bags of candy corn, still having the desire to indulge in fast food, or feeling out of control when it comes to your favorite foods.
I can’t answer the “Why” for you, although I wish I could. All I can do is encourage you to really think about the why.
I can share with you some of my “whys” for my unhealthy eating behaviors that occurred even when I was on a weight loss plan. For me, I felt very deprived when I was dieting and pushed back against the deprivation by eating more than I should have. I also felt unable to separate emotions from food, which caused me much grief. Also, quite frankly, I didn’t like to be told “No, you can’t/shouldn’t have that.” Those words often sent me right to the grocery store for the junk or the fast food for the value meal.
As I was losing weight that final time I did have brief periods of time when I completely fell off the wagon and ate 1,200 calories in junk in one day. But the difference that last time was that I didn’t let that decision negatively affect the rest of my weight loss. I examined the “why” of what happened, vowed to do better the next time, and moved on.
The longer I was into my weight loss plan, the less I overindulged like that. And once I hit my goal weight, I found that consistency throughout the weight loss process paid off handsomely.
How do you handle the occasional binge or huge calorie meal? Do you let if affect you for longer than a day? Diane