This is a question that I can never really get the answer to. I can go long periods of time, even months, without eating too much or eating the wrong foods altogether. And then... I overeat and can't seem to stop and I wonder what the heck is wrong with me!
I did pretty good. I did not gorge myself, but ate a normal amount of food, and even a regular amount of the high carb food. I ate a piece of cake, and then two bites of another, because there were two different flavors, and I wanted to try the other one, too.
All in all, I felt like I did pretty good. If I had stayed low carb very strictly, I would not have been able to eat much. Even so, by the next morning, I had gained 2.6 pounds. All fat? Probably not. Most likely, it was a lot of water weight due to the high sodium content of the food I was eating. But there probably was some body fat increase in there, too. Whatever it was, it took me three days to get back down to my pre-wedding weight.
But, as fate would have it, the very next weekend, this past weekend, I traveled out of town to a family reunion. I ate anything and everything that was on the table. There was fried chicken, pasta salad, potato salad, corn, three bean salad, macaroni and cheese, roasted cabbage, potato and cheese casserole, sliced red bell peppers, coleslaw, fruit salad, mostaccioli, brownies, German chocolate cake, mini pecan pies, blackberry cobbler, ice cream cake, candy, potato chips, both BBQ and regular, strawberries, nuts, and other things that I have forgotten, or I have blacked out in my carb-induced fog.
I know, I could have taken the breading off of the chicken, and only taken the red peppers and a few strawberries. But I didn't. I got swept up in the festivities and figured that if I eat like this once in a blue moon (maybe four times a year or so?), how much can it really hurt me? So what did I do, after I gave myself permission to eat what I wanted? I went into a carb frenzy and overate everything that was bad for me. And seriously overate. And once I started, what would be the point of trying to stop? Even though I was getting seriously sick to my stomach, something drove me to reach for another brownie and another and another. Heck, why not leave the reunion when it was over and stop at an ice cream stand, too? The day is ruined, food-wise, so I might as well enjoy myself, right?
At one point, I took a break from the heat and went into the A/C to cool off. While I was there, I started getting that "I'm so full I never want to eat again!" feeling and decided to stop eating for the rest of the party. That resolve dissolved when I walked past the dessert table a few minutes later, and as I reached for another treat, it was as though it was out of my control. The carbs won the battle, and I was reduced to a helpless casualty of war.
It is now Monday morning, and I am full of regrets. And full of water weight and probably some fat weight, too. In one and a half days, I have gained five and a half pounds.
How may days will it take me to get back into ketosis and start burning fat again? Maybe in the next five days or so, at which time Father's Day will be upon me, and I will have a house full of people and carb-laden picnic and party food.
How will I eat this coming weekend? My feeling right now is that I will be able to control myself. I always do better in my own house, where I can make sure there is food that I can eat without guilt and regrets.
Now that I have been eating low carb for over a year, I stick with it quite easily. But, now and then, I fall off the wagon and I fall hard! I wish I could get to the bottom of it.
So. Is it ever worth it to overeat? Is the "enjoyment" of the food and the festivities worth the guilt and recriminations, the bloating, the swollen ankles, the days and weeks of trying to get rid of the added weight, the discouragment and self-loathing? Today, on Monday morning after the feast, I would say that, no, it is not worth it.
But if you had asked me yesterday, I would have said yes.
Update - November 2009 - It took me five months to lose the weight that I gained over the above period of time.