I personally encountered this challenge during one of my stops on my whirlwind September travel blitz. I was in Chicago for the weekend with my wife. Chicago is where we started dating and ultimately married back in the early 90's. This was the time of grunge, Pulp Fiction and many other visceral pleasures. For me, it was the time of big, bad food. Dogs, stuffed pizza, giant cheese burgers, cheese fries, Chinese food, giant breakfasts, huge Mexican, and many other glutenous delights. Despite having my late 20's metabolism (read: higher than my middle age metabolism), this was the time that I really packed on the weight.
I have a lot of fond memories of that time of unbridled eating (though subconsciously, I think I was starting to get a little sad about the emerging Buddha belly). I rarely eat that kind of stuff any more, so it was with a certain bravery that I gave myself permission to completely blow the doors out on my return to the scene of the crime, Chicago. I gave myself one day to binge like Sid Vicious in a heroin factory. No counting. No POINTS. No good choices. [One confession: I did put in a big workout before I got started.]
So how did this workout for me? Badly. I spent the next 8 hours feeling like I had swallowed an acetylene torch (hotter than a propane torch, in case you were wondering). The entire upper half of my body felt like it was coated in stomach acid. Frankly, I was fairly miserable. I tried to work it off by spending the next 3-4 hours walking through all of our old neighborhood haunts and apartments. It helped a little.
About 9 hours later, I thought I would be ready for more self-abuse. We tried to get into Gino's East (stuffed pizza joint) at 9 PM, but discovered it would take an hour for our pie to be ready. Even I'm not dumb enough to eat a stuffed pizza at 10 PM. Instead, we went for a sweet Wagyu burger served with a heaping of fries. I was only able to eat half the burger and half the fries. Frankly, I felt even worse.
I returned to my hotel defeated by bad food. Back in the day, I could have polished it all without a twinge of bad feeling. I would have owned that bad food. Today, I just don't have the chops for that kind of stuff.
In retrospect, I'm really glad that I indulged this experiment. It's nice to know that I am physically incapable to eating the way that I used to. It's nice to now that this much bad food makes me feel physically ill. It's a bit like a smoker trying a cigarette after 10 years after having quit. They seem to invariably be repulsed by the experience. That's kind of how I felt about my delinquent Chicago day. For me to go back to the bad food place would require diligence and training. Maybe I should apply those efforts to some more noble cause.