Eating out and staying on track with your fat loss goals can be tough! But it’s not impossible….
I find that you can lump most people that struggle with social events, and their effect on training results into one of these three categories:
- The Anxious and Nervous Type – “I don’t know how I’m going to manage this! What am I going to eat? Maybe I just won’t go”
- The Passive Aggressive Type – “Screw it man! I’m done with this diet! I’m going to eat my weight in hotdogs tonight! I don’t really care anyway (but I kinda really do. At least I know I will come Monday…..)
- The ‘I totally deserve this’ type – “You know what man, I’ve worked hard all week! As if I don’t deserve a couple (or 15 beers this weekend)! Did you even see my leg session? To be honest, it will probably do me good, I think I’m overtrained anyway”
Safe to say that all of the above groups really aren’t an ideal place to be. The avoidance, negligence or any type of non-participative type behaviours related to celebration and social occasions is a warning sign of disordered eating. If you feel that is you, reaching out to a mental health professional that specializes in this area would be a great place to start improving your relationship with food moving forward. What I aim to share with you today is a technique that I’ve used personally when it comes to managing my own social calendar. If you feel it could help you out, feel free to give it a try!
Before I get to the good stuff, we must share the #1 ingredient for any fat loss equation.
ACHIEVING A CALORIE DEFICIT! When you’re in a state in which you’re using (movement, body maintenance, recovery) more than you’re eating and drinking, this is what we call a calorie deficit. The bodies systems require energy to work. Stored energy is released to make up what you’re diet isn’t providing. Because of this breakdown of body tissues, a calorie deficit will always result in body weight loss. If you’ve ever gained weight, it was from being in a surplus. If you’ve lost, it was a deficit. Full stop, no return……..
So now that we have that out of the way, let’s paint a picture. Meet our example client….
Goal – Fat Loss
Average Daily Calorie Target – 1800 calories per day (12,600 calories per week)
Sally is GREAT throughout the week (Monday to Thursday anyway). She trains hard, eats well, but this past weekend she had a little celebration of wine and crackers on Friday (because you know, she deserved it…), and on Saturday she had her work Christmas Partay!!! Here’s what happened…
Unfortunately for Sally, she’s ended up in what looks like a 3500 calorie surplus for the week! Obviously this past weekends antics have thrown a spanner in the works for Sal’s fat loss goals. So how could Sally have perhaps made this work a little better.
Check this out!
Let me explain what we did here. First, we’ve reduced Sally’s intake by 180 calories across 5 of the days in her week (this is about 10% of her daily allotment). We’ve kept Friday the same (can’t take that glass of wine away), but added those additional calories kept from earlier into Saturday to allow a little more room for a little Christmas Party fun! And the end result from the week….. We kept that calorie deficit!
When we compare the two situations, outside of the effect on our body composition I don’t think we can underestimate the positive effect this can also have on our mental state. By taking a smarter approach, we still get to enjoy ourselves and never have to miss a party, but also feel in control and in charge of our progress and training goals.
Now as simple as this looks on paper, there are a few “best practice” tools and tips you should aim to adhere to throughout your week leading up to an event, on the day of the event, and at the event itself. Check it out!
The Lead Up
- Aim to eat MOSTLY foods you’ve cooked and prepared yourself. I personally aim for at least 70% of my meals to be prepared by me.
On The Day/s
- Eat as per normal right up to the event. If you’re doing something in the evening, don’t eat like crap a breakfast!
- Where possible, eat mostly low carb and low fat meals on the day. Think lean meats/proteins with fruits and veggies. Chances are you’ll make up those calories later in the evening.
- Get a training session in! You’ll feel better for it, not to mention the physiological effects it has on your body.
- Drink plenty of water
- Look for fibre dense foods (again fruits and veggies will help with this)
At The Event
- Remember, you still have goals and this is not a free for all. Don’t eat like an asshole!
- Celebrations are more than food and drink. Spend time with people you care about and have fun.
Now one final note before you head out all liberated and ready to do this. Know that you will be heavier come Monday! Weight on the scales is reflective of your body weight at that point in time. Think about this for me, if you’ve just been out on the weekend at a party, chances are you ate and drank things that:
- Have lots of salt (more than you’re used to)
- Are cooked in lots of fat (because fats make things taste good, and that’s the job of a restaurant!)
- Have a lot of carbs (because we all love carbs)
- Are REALY hard to accurately track and manage.
Mix those things together and you’ll have a short term weight bump (want to know more that magic number on the scales and what it means watch this chat). Most of which has likely come from water retention. RREEEELLLLAAAAXXX Man…. Short term adjustments in the scales mean squat! Its the longer term numbers (monthly average is a good comparison) that count.
And finally, remember no matter what happens, get right back on that horse once you’re done. Don’t concern yourself with matters that you can’t do anything about (like the past), focus on the present and how you’ll impact your future.
Let’s get it team!