Surviving the weekends
When you analyse your fat loss efforts or your journey towards your desired physique where are the weak points in your efforts?. To be more specific; when are you falling off the wagon? Mid week? Friday night? Or is it the weekends?
I'd put money on it being the last one there; the weekends. This is based on both my professional and personal experience with body fat reduction.
Nine times out of ten it's Saturday and Sunday where we fall down.
I think it stems from a desire to break out from the constraints of the day to day, Monday to Friday grind; the monotony of mid week compliance.
Of course, sometimes a strategically placed treat can be of psychological benefit and even of physiological benefit in SOME instances.
And of course , you can be as creative as you want with your day to day nutrition; your fat loss journey doesn't have to be defined by the stereotypical chicken and broccoli approach.
It doesn't have to be low carb, endless protein shakes or dry, unappetising plate loads of chicken either.
Nutrition for fat loss is actually relatively simple, the majority of your food (95%) should come from natural sources with minimal added ingredients. A mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats can be consumed in moderate amounts and usable carbohydrates (starches) can be consumed in direct relation to your activity levels. Overall calories should reflect your goals. This is of course quite general and there are exceptions.
For example if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, as in you get very little exercise/activity then you're not going to need as many calories from fats or carbohydrates in your diet. On the flipside if you're an athlete training hard 20hrs a week then you're almost certainly going to need a lot more carbohydrate, calories and possibly more fat than the average Joe.
For our clients here at Access Fitness we try to make the nutritional process as straight forward as possible. Therefore we simply steer our clients towards eating enough healthy, natural foods to sustain athletic ability and performance while trying to avoid over-consumption and tweaking calorie and macronutrient ratios as per individual goal in a manner that suits the individuals lifestyle.
This approach is great mid week, it works while we're focused on our training and we're busy hard at work with little time for thoughts of treat foods but what about those weekends? What about the times when we want to break free and celebrate those precious two days off?
Surviving the weekends can be the hardest part of staying on the track with your nutrition, that's why I've put together the following tips that have helped me and my clients break that vicious cycle from week to week.
1) Give yourself 14 days; one weekend with no treats:
It's easy to fall into the trap of stepping onto the scales, seeing the same numbers appear each week and becoming demotivated and therefore treating ourselves to feel better.
Assuming, however that you are coming off the back of eating even reasonably well for a period of time and there are no serious obstacles in your physiology or life that may inhibit fat loss, there is no real reason why if we gave ourselves enough time (i.e. 10,12,14 days) that we couldn't lose some body fat. But we have to afford ourselves that time, in a calorie deficit with no overindulgence or treats.
That's not to say we can never treat ourselves again but we have to learn how it feels to go without rewarding ourselves.
You're going to have to do whatever it takes to avoid temptation and remove thoughts of food. Be prepared, have all you meals planned or even pre-made so that you're never caught without a meal and treat it like any other day of the week.
Arrange outings for the whole weekend, sign up for overtime, decorate the house, whatever it is you will need to remain busy to avoid temptation creeping in.
Once you get through that first weekend and into the next week you will likely see a reduction of body fat/ body weight the next time you step on the scales. From here it gets easier, you'll experience a mindset shift that will make getting through subsequent weekends far easier.
2) Controlled indulgence:
Like I said earlier, it's not like you can never let go again and have one of your favourite treat foods. I'm certain that by the time you hit that 14 day mark you'll want to treat yourself, but what I have found with myself and my clients is that after seeing what can be achieved you will become more mindful or careful of the amounts of these types of foods you're consuming. You may even find that after day dreaming about treats for fourteen days straight, when it comes down to it, you're not that bothered because you're more attached now to the progress you have made.
If you do decide to treat yourself after this initial period, it is vital that you exercise restraint and are cautious not to fall into the "What the heck!" trap. Having one dessert or one glass of wine as a treat will almost certainly not undo all of your hard work. A bottle of wine and two pieces of dessert probably will however.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on, you never know it might just be the final piece of the puzzle that brings it all together.