Updated: Jul 23
A functional look into eating on the long weekend
Have those cheat meals! They aren't gonna kill you
May long weekend is coming up and everyone loves to enjoy the festivities, vacationing and, of course, the food! For those of us who are still looking to maintain all that hard work exercising, eating healthy, and habitual routine; Don't fret! We got your covered.
Maybe you think this article is about one cool trick you can do to see weight loss results, or a fruit that will get rid of all the fat from your body, but that wouldn't be scientific.
No this article is more about math. 2+2=FUN
When eating in a caloric deficit (taking in less calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight) are aim is to maintain that deficit on a daily basis. Slowly it will add up and the overall caloric deficit will be great enough to see change in the body.
Let's say it takes 3000 kcal for you to maintain your current weight and you wanted to loose a couple pounds in the next couple weeks. Depending on your activity level and related goals, we might put you at a deficit of 500 kcal each day. This would be equivalent to about 1lb a week.
To understand what cutting 300 kcal or 500 kcal daily would look like, it's equivalent to a sandwich or bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Not that drastic, right?
To put this into a visual representation, it would look something like this:
At the end of each week, you would cut back on 3500 kcal. Pretty good for just getting rid of a sandwich each day!
If you're combining this diet with consistent exercise, this number would be even greater.
Let's be real though. Not everyday can be perfect. And that's okay! When restricting our diet, we have to be careful not to take the pleasure out of eating. If you're not enjoying the process, the diet will fail in the long run and you will most likely return to your unhealthy ways of eating.
When creating eating habits, we have to make the change as easy as possible to begin. If your aren't at least a 9/10 confident that you can make that change, then the change is too great for you to handle.
A good place to start is with your inhibitors. These would be patterns, foods, habits, or things you consume or do that are holding you back from losing that excess weight. The most common examples would include junk food, alcohol, sleep, hydration, lack of exercise, overconsumption, boredom, and more.
So when planning out our week, we can factor some extra nibbles here and there. That might look like this:
You're not going to see change as quickly; Possibly 0.5 lbs a week but you will be able to build a lifelong habit that will stave off the weight longer while enjoying your food.
However, in the example above you'll notice that on the days in which the goal isn't met, a consumption equivalent to the current caloric expenditure is kept and not surpassed. Excessively going over the deficit (and over your current maintenance) is where we get ourselves into trouble.
Diets fail this way. We restrict ourselves too much and give in to our old ways eventually. What happens is we eat well during the week, we have our schedule, our routine, we get up, prepare for our day, go to work or take care of the kids, we come home, relax, have dinner and then repeat it again the next day. On the weekends we sleep in, get invited to hangouts, forget our boss yelling at us and eat out.
It might look something like this:
I'm all for the weekends, but we have to look at the bigger picture here. Let's not self sabotage all that hard work we put into Monday thru Friday just to kick ourselves in the butt for not making progress after a couple of months. That deluxe bacon smothered double cheeseburger looks good but maybe the turkey burger might be the better option.
I know what you're thinking, "Daniel, I thought you said cheat meals weren't going to kill us!" (If you keep eating those deluxe bacon smothered double cheeseburgers they might) but they aren't going to kill you.This is a warning about overreaching with food. We want to avoid the "I've been eating so well I deserve this" kind of talk.
Let's create freedom in our diet to begin, giving ourselves simple and attainable practices that don't seem so far from the norm.
To run everything back:
Create a deficit that isn't too great. 500 kcal is a great place to start.
A successful diet requires some deficits that accumulate over time, leading to weight loss down the road.
Though keeping the deficit is smart, an ideal week may involve some days were your aren't in a deficit
Control your inhibitors, making your changes as easy as possible to start
Beware of excessive eating days (weekends)
Don't put yourself in a position were you feel the need to "Let go"
Until next time my gym warriors,