Was eating strict Paleo for over 2 months, even did the Whole30 without so much as a piece of sugar-free gum. Went out for sushi about 3 weeks ago and it's like it unhinged something in my brain because ever since it's been one binge after another (sugar, grains, dairy, you name it, I've eaten it). I feel absolutely HORRIBLE, both physically and mentally, but I'm really struggling with getting back on track. Does anyone have any advice/suggestions?
My advise is this: Get your head straight and your house clean.
First up, you have to figure out which part of you is doing the talking right now. I know for me, before I learned how to fall and get back up instantly, my 4 year old self was running the show most of the time. I needed to bring my parent side in to set some boundaries and just say no. I didn't want to go back to eating healthy. I wanted cookies. I wanted convenience. I wanted the all you can eat at the Chinese place because it tasted so good. Well you know what, it's o.k. to want but things that aren't good for you aren't good for you. Thoughts and desires that are holding you back need to be squelched. It's parenting yourself really. Pull out the tough love and give yourself a does.
Or maybe it's the part of you that doesn't really believe in yourself? Do you really believe you can do this? Do you believe you can succeed? If not then you need to call on that part of you that has succeeded in something. Maybe call on whomever it was who was running the show before the evil sushi incident?
Look at your thoughts. What script is running in your head now that is keeping you from doing what you want to do? Figure that part out and you'll know which part of you needs to be pulled in to handle the situation. You know you have it in you because you've done it. Take the time and effort to figure out which part of you is causing the problem and you'll be golden.
Then clean the house of everything off plan. Make a pact for no eating out for at least a week. Eat cleaner than you ever thought possible. It may suck for a few days but pain can be a useful part of the process. Withdrawal hurts. Suck it up, pay your dues and get on with it.
You are not alone in this struggle but it is THIS EXACT issue that is at the crux of long term success. You must learn to fall off the house and get right back on not wait weeks on end. It takes practice. This is actually a very good experience you are having. A very powerful one. If you choose to let it be so.
Someone in a forum, wish I remembered who, said that it isn't about getting back on the wagon. It is about getting back in the driver's seat.
Wake up and eat a big breakfast. Eggs, butter, bacon. No carbs at all for breakfast. go to bed by 9:30 PM. Eat protein and some veggies and some fat at each meal and it will help.
What's worked best for me is accepting the idea that a cheat now and then is a good healthy thing for your mind and you cannot derail your progress with one meal. What's making it hard to get back on track is that you know you like these foods and psychologically it is hard to say to yourself that you plan to never have them again so you binge with the thought that I may as well squeeze it all in now before I go back to denying myself. Once I got my mind wrapped around the idea that I was going to allow myself a cheat now and then I have actually had better compliance. Why? Because mentally I feel less deprived if I am simply choosing to have it later instead of choosing to never have it again. It's a mind trick, but it works.
Whilst not paleo per se, Micheal Eades wrote a couple of interesting blog posts on restarting a low carb / high fat diet. I'd just avoid his recommendations on alcohol:
I can completely understand where you're coming from. The advice you've been given is right, I used to find it hard to get on and stay on the wagon.
I have type 2 diabetes and I fitted all the symptoms for leptin resistance. The needing to eat even when I'd just eaten and it was always for carby, rubbish stuff.
Anyway, eating paleo/lc helped me a lot - I no longer feel the need to eat when not hungry and feel full before I've cleared my plate.
So, yes, take the advice above and stick with it. Once your body starts to repair/heal itself it becomes a lot easier to stick with it.