After a radical change of belief (religion, political view etc.) people sometimes start to indulge in a thing which is a strict no-no by their previously held belief system. For example after leaving their religion one may start indulging in something considered a taboo food by their previous religion. Is there a phrase or idiom/proverb to describe this type of behaviour?

  • To let it all hang out (slang).
    – Lambie
    Mar 25, 2017 at 23:58
  • 3
    There's always "falling off the wagon", from the "temperance movement". It's literal figurative meaning is to take up drinking again after vowing to abstain, but it's acquired a figurative figurative meaning that implies turning away from any regimen such as a diet or a religious vow to not listen to "heathen" (rock) music.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 26, 2017 at 1:16
  • He began eating pork, which had previously been on the forbidden list, with a vengeance. Mar 26, 2017 at 5:24

4 Answers 4


make up for lost time

to do something as much as possible because you were not able to do it before:

After seven years in prison, he’s home with his kids and making up for lost time.

that was cambridge or from dictionary.com

make up for lost time verb phrase

To work, play, travel, etc, very fast to compensate for a slow start

This phrase is frequently used in a slightly ironic way for the purposes you suggest ... In fact it feels like it usually means what you suggest.

  • Yes, this phrase is definitely associated with the feeling expressed in the question, but it doesn't express anything to do with the specific elements mentioned of "change of belief" or "indulgence."
    – Kevin Mark
    Mar 26, 2017 at 0:52
  • "In fact it feels like it usually means" This way too vague for an answer.
    – Kevin Mark
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:58

In a way, they are overcompensating.


overcompensation noun
: excessive compensation; specifically : excessive reaction to a feeling of inferiority, guilt, or inadequacy leading to an exaggerated attempt to overcome the feeling

  • overcompensate verb
  • This is a useful insight, so I will up vote it. It definitely is related to what the OP is asking about, but it doesn't answer the question fully enough, I feel.
    – Kevin Mark
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:49

A combination of phrases is called for here because there are five distinct elements that your question encompasses:

indulge / previously / prohibited / change / belief.

Each of these elements can be accommodated with these:

(indulge) (enthusiastically) embrace ... throw oneself into ... abandon oneself to ... fervor

(previously & change) new-found

(prohibited) license ... fervor ... allow

(change & belief) convert ... fervor

To retain your full meaning, I prefer to keep the word indulge, as in this example:

The new-found license to indulge allowed her to throw herself into sex with the fervor of a convert.

Of course there are many possible combinations, but I think this example shows one way in which all the elements you specify can be addressed.


This is probably a mash-up of idiomatic expressions, but how about:

indulging in the guilty pleasure of formerly forbidden fruit

-both definitions from Mirriam Webster on-line.

I cannot believe that anyone is actually able to escape the guilt of such an indulgence with a sudden change in idealogy: there will always be an imp riding on the shoulder.

  • Is that right? Well, then, I guess you have never had the experience....People do deconstruct things and discard them as moral "have-tos".
    – Lambie
    Mar 25, 2017 at 23:57
  • 2
    @Cascabel I upvoted this because I found that the two phrases you draw attention to are closely related to the question. However, I don't feel they address the question completely. I appreciate and empathize with the personal feelings expressed. It seems to me though that if you share such deeply personal feelings in this kind of context you are exposing yourself unnecessarily to insensitive and insufficiently thought-through comments. Personally I try to avoid this kind of thing by staying very focused on answering the question.
    – Kevin Mark
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:55
  • Each person has a different experience. In my case, it was diametrically opposed to this one. I don't object to anyone expressing what they have experienced. I did not say anything negative at all. It was merely a comment. In my case, I threw off the yoke(s) (there were two), and never looked back. I was relieved.
    – Lambie
    Mar 26, 2017 at 14:57

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