Feeling Like a Failure After A Cheat Meal? Get back on Track [5 Easy Steps]

healthy breakfast coffee self love cheat day

It’s actually pretty funny that I write this as I munch on mini donuts and an almond milk latte. But let me tell you: no guilt here, sista frands.

We found this adorable hidden gem of a cafe, safely tucked into the big oak trees of Raleigh. 

The combination of natural lighting, exposed brick, and industrial floors makes it the perfect pair of calm & cozy, yet bold and motivating.

They’re known for their “hot minis” (aka mini donuts) and it’s pretty much blasphemy to come here & not get them.

mini donuts cafe coffee green juice green smoothie

But I can promise you that there once was a day where I wouldn’t have dared to touch my lips to those perfectly sweet deep fried goodies.

And if I did, you can bet I beat myself up for it for hours or days.  Plotting my “come back” and the best way to make up for my lack of willpower.  I’d decide if it were best to overexercise or restrict myself to only raw veggies and baked chicken.

But what about you? Did you slip up? Have a cheat day? And you need to get “back on track” because you messed up on your diet?

And you’re here because you’re looking for the best way to get back to healthy eating and recover from a day/week/month of too many treats?

I here ya, girl. And I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

And we’ve all looked for the secret sauce to getting back on track after an epic “cheat meal”, birthday weekend, or holiday season.

So grab your coffee, your fuzzy blanket, and let’s chat. Because I want you to get back to feelin’ good.

But, to be frank, I’ve got a not so easy solution…

It’s not hard because it’s a crazy crash diet or an intense fitness regimen, but it’s hard because it’s going to challenge what you’re used to and it’s going to seem backwards and ineffective

But I’ve laid it out for ya, though, so no worries!

And it’s only 5 Steps.

healthy breakfast coffee self love cheat day

These 5 little steps are huge leaps that will completely change your mental space and really help you live a consistently healthy and maintainable lifestyle… 

Are you expecting me to tell you to drink a lot of H2O, sweat it out, and have some greens? Weeeellll, I’m sorry to disappoint.

But I will tell you that these steps are not just “fluffy feel good but don’t actually work” steps. These are actually super powerful, and extremely effective steps that have completely changed my mindset.

And whenever I veer from this path and start beating myself up for “gaining weight” or “falling off track” they’re always there to fall back on and get me in the right head space.

These are the 5 steps, but I’ll explain more below!

  1. Go Back to NORMAL EATING
  2. Don’t Restrict
  3. Don’t Overexercise
  4. Don’t Cleanse/Detox
  5. Move On

STEP #1: Go Back To Normal Eating

After a big meal, cheat meal, whatever you wanna call it… Eat what you normally eat, and how much you normally eat. Seriously, don’t change anything about your diet. 

If you typically have an egg sandwich for breakfast, have an egg sandwich! Your past food choices should have no impact on your present/future food choices.

This just leads to an inconsistent and unhealthy relationship with food.

When you go back to what’s normal for yourself, you will soon get into the mindset that a “cheat day” is no reason to change the course of your life and it will help you move on and realize it’s not as big of a deal as you make it.

STEP #2: Don’t Restrict

Don’t cut calories, don’t restrict carbs, or limit certain food groups, etc.

For me, I used to only eat lean protein and veggies after a “cheat day”. This would eventually lead to me feeling deprived and then over-eating something else.

This mindset leads to unhealthy restrictions and then eventually binge eating.

The reason people tend to binge eat is because they feel deprived and unsatisfied. If you’re filled with the right nutrients you won’t feel like you’re being told “no” to every food you’re craving.

Watch how empowering it is to actually eat what you want the day after a “cheat day” instead of saying no to good things like healthy carbs.

STEP #3: Don’t Over Exercise

I know working out harder and longer seems like the easy solution to burn off all those “extra calories”, but listen:

When we use fitness as a way to punish our bodies and make them “behave”, we take a good gift that is supposed to uplift and empower us, and we turn it into something that tells us we’ve been bad.

Just resume your normal life.

Train how you always train.

If you usually do yoga, don’t force yourself to go for a run because you had 6 slices of pizza and an ice cream sundae.

Working out should be enjoyable and a way to see what our bodies are made of. It should be an empowering experience that brings you joy.

STEP #4 Don’t Cleanse/Detox


I was so infamous for doing a “slim down”, reset, detox, “Ill start again Monday”, you name it!

But please listen to me when I say don’t amp up the green juice or replace meals with protein shakes just to lose weight or balance out after a “cheat day”.

When you do this, you’re telling yourself that you need to detox from enjoying your life.

Now, if you enjoy green juices and protein shakes because that’s part of your everyday nutrition, then keep it up! Or if you truly feel like it’ll benefit from it after a heavy meal (heal your gut, make you more regular, etc) then that’s great, too!

But don’t run to a cleanse/detox because you “ate bad”. You’re just cheapening the benefits of fresh, whole, foods.

STEP #5 – And the most important of all: MOVE. ON.

No guilt.

No shame.

No plotting your “comeback”.

Just move the heck on.

Do not, do not, do not let your past food choices affect you moving forward.

It’s not called a “cheat day” It’s called LIFE. Your food choices do not dictate your day.

To have a life where your days are categorized by your level of “obedience” to your diet is a sad, stressful, empty way to live.

It is food. You ate it, and it provided you with fuel.

If you felt sick after, use it as a learning experience.


Once you can learn to say “whatever” to your food choices and just let it be something you ate – nothing more, nothing less – you will see life & your body much more clearly.

When you stop slapping your hand for a bad meal, or stop applauding yourself for an “on point” week, you will start to realize that food is not the enemy. It is just food.

I hope you realize these 4 things:

1) Life is meant to be enjoyed & so is food.

2) Self-Love & grace is the most effective “cleanse” or detox.

3) You are SO much more than your weight.

4) It is not your life’s purpose to lose weight.

If one of the main things holding you back from living a life of peace and having joy is your body image, then STOP HATING ON YOURSELF.

Once you operate out of self love, your nutrition and fitness will become second nature.

But until you learn your self-worth and realize it has nothing to do with your weight, you will never be satisfied.

One of my favorite songs puts it perfectly:

“You are more than the choices that you’ve made

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes

You are more than the problems you create

You’ve been remade”

You have to live with your body every single day, so why not choose to see the good in it instead of analyzing it and picking out what only YOU see as “bad”.

You can’t be whole if you’re always tearing yourself apart. And how do you expect to achieve freedom when you consistently throw yourself into this cage of defeat where you point and scoff at where you’ve been and what you’ve done wrong?

Truly love yourself today.

Have grace with yourself.

Maybe even try saying sorry to yourself.

Re-check “your why” and make sure that your efforts are leading to spiritual wholeness and displaying Christ through the process.

It’s time to take back your peace of mind and set your heart on Jesus & becoming your best self, living your best life. When it becomes about making more of Him, the journey of health and fitness becomes a lot more enjoyable and the pressure lifts. 

Where are some areas where you struggle to be kind to yourself? Do any of these steps help you achieve body image freedom where you need it?

I’ve struggled in this area for many years of my life and finally realized self-hate is not the answer and until you learn to cherish yourself the way God does, you will never be satisfied and you’ll always be thirsty for more.

women's wellness women's ministry

Comment below one thing you from this post that you want to start using in your own healthy lifestyle. 

If you liked this post, you’d really relate to 5 tips for when you’re not feeling confident or even : How Your “Why” Can get you to your Fitness Goals [3 ways]

10 thoughts on “Feeling Like a Failure After A Cheat Meal? Get back on Track [5 Easy Steps]

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