Staying on track Monday through Friday is the easy part. These days are routine. You have a schedule and that schedule makes it very easy to stay consistent. Then the weekend comes and all hell breaks loose! We tend to think we ate well during the week, therefore we can splurge a little on the weekends as a reward. We have a couple of drinks to relax from a stressful week, or we grab dinner with our friends and order whatever our hearts desire. One day of indulging can’t possibly impact our progress that much…YES IT CAN!!!! Not only will you most likely feel like crap for the next three to four days, but you probably exceeded your calorie allowance for the week! Let me break it down real quick for you.
In order to lose weight you must be at a calorie deficit. This means more energy out than in. If a woman’s weight stays consistent at 150lbs. by eating 1800 calories a day, and she decides she wants to lose weight, she would need to go into a calorie deficit. So, our 150 pound woman cuts her calories by 150 per day.
Monday through Friday she stays consistent and is at a 750 calorie deficit for the week. Awesome! We are on the right track! Then Saturday rolls around, and she decides that she is going out for burgers and ice cream with some friends. By eating the burger (with french fries, obviously) and the ice cream, she exceeds her daily calorie allowance of 1,650 by 1,000 calories!!! So on Saturday alone she consumed 2,650 calories. If I do the math that means:
Monday through Friday: -750 calories
Saturday: +1,000 calories
Calorie Surplus: +250
She actually erased her calorie deficit for the week and went into a surplus which would actually cause her to gain weight. So do you think these little splurges add up? Hell yeah! These splurges can have a huge impact on our progress.
The great thing about counting your macros is that it give us the opportunity to find balance between eating the foods we WANT to eat and the foods we NEED to eat. I WANT to eat ice cream, therefore I NEED to eat egg whites. If you want to enjoy dinner with friends at a local burger joint, do it! Plan ahead for it and make it fit! Here are some tips to help you stay on track:
Put what you want to eat into MyFitnessPal first: If you want to have an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen Friday night, put it into MFP Thursday night and build your day around the blizzard (it is possible). Don’t try to eat lightly throughout the day and hope you have the macrosleft over to eat the blizzard, because odds are you won’t. Plan around what you want to eat to make sure it fits.
Plan ahead when dining out: Look at a menu before you go to the restaurant. If you are going to a chain restaurant you can find all of the macros for their menu items online. Do your research, and have a plan for when you dine out. If you go to a restaurant that does not provide you with their macros for their menu items, then guesstimate. Your guesstimations are better than not tracking at all. Ask your server, how many ounces is the steak? Are the vegetables cooked in butter? Is that wine sauce the pasta comes in? Then guesstimate using MFP, literally search “pasta in wine sauce” and put in the portion size you think it is. There WILL be a search result. Even if it is not exactly what you are eating, it is better than nothing.
Bring a Food Scale: Bring a scale to dinner with you and weigh your food. You may get some funny looks and some questions, but who cares! You’re staying on track!
Talk about your goals: When you are eating out with friends, or at a BBQ and someone asks, “why aren’t you drinking a beer?” Tell them! Go ahead and explain to them what your goals are and what the ramifications are for drinking that beer or indulging in the homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Reward yourself: Find other ways to reward yourself/relax from your stressful week. Instead of having a couple glasses of wine to unwind, get a manicure, buy some flowers for yourself, get a massage, take a bubble bath, or go shopping.
So, the big take away, stay consistent and plan ahead! Now if the plan goes out the window and you find yourself at the bottom of a Pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, get over it and start again tomorrow!
Remember with proper nutrition, a solid training program, and getting it right on the below lifestyle factors, you stand the best chances of achieving your goals:
Get Adequate Sleep: Sleep has a huge impact on overall body composition and rate of recovery. Lack of sleep can have a large impact on stress hormones and can reduce the rate of building and repairing muscle.
Keep Stress to a Minimum: Having a high level of stress will always have a negative impact on your body composition and can reduce the rate of building and repairing muscle.
BE CONSISTENT: Practicing proper nutrition part time will always have little to no impact on your body composition. Being good for five (5) days and bad on the weekends can really affect achieving your goals. Your body likes consistency, so staying on track even on the weekends is essential in meeting your goals. It takes time, practice and consistency to accomplish goals. Remember, it doesn’t happen overnight.