Every single dieter has kicked ass for a few days, and then fallen off the wagon completely. It’s pretty damn hard to stick to a diet 100% for any length of time. Especially when life throws times at you that don’t normally make it easy to stick to a pretty strict fat loss diet.
That’s exactly what happened to me last weekend, and will happen again next weekend. Planning for those times, enjoying them, and then having a plan in place to get yourself back on track is paramount to hitting your goals.
That’s also exactly what I’ve done, though not without an unplanned slip up.
Friday was like a perfect storm of shit hitting the fan in the mind of a dieter. It was National Donut Day, and my girlfriend was coming back home from a trip to Miami. These two things do not generally combine for a day in which very few calories are eaten.
I got a great strength workout in after fasting for about 19-20 hours. Fasting is a part of my current program, and I knew if I were celebrating National Donut Day, then a prolonged fast is a good idea.
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If one thing is apparent, my strength wasn’t really hurt by that prolonged fast. This is something I’ve noticed as I gain more experience with fasting. It takes me longer to recover, but all in all my strength numbers don’t take too much of a hit.
That night my girlfriend got back in town. She hadn’t gotten to celebrate National Donut Day yet, so we went to Atlanta’s premier donut shop, Sublime Doughnuts.
Two more donuts later and I am now officially blowing through my carb alotment for the day, which I’m 100% okay with. I planned for today being like this by eating fewer calories during the day.
The night was capped off with mexican food and a few beers. The waitress spilled some of my 2nd beer. I had planned to stop after that one, so I didn’t really find it a big deal. She did though, and like a sweetheart brought me a brand new one. Even though barely any beer had been lost.
I figured it’d be rude not to drink that 3rd beer. It was free, wasting alcohol is considered alcohol abuse, and I love Pacifico.
Daily calorie count: Way too fucking many. Oh well.
Breakfast was a leftover enchilada and a couple of pieces of bacon. Wholesome, I know. I managed to get some physical activity by taking my dogs to the park and doing a little swimming in the pool.
The rest of the days eating was downhill from there. Grilling bbq bacon wrappen chicken kabobs, pasta salad (2 varieties!), a couple of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, and then candy while seeing Entourage that night.
Oh, and a few beers as well.
One thing I noticed was a subtle attitude shift. I woke up Saturday knowing I hadn’t eaten well Friday, even though I had planned not to eat well Friday and accounted for that. I did what most dieters do, and rationalized my entire day or questionable food choices because of what I had done the previous day.
This was a massive mistake. A massive mistake that most dieters can sympathize with. Just because one day has been poor, or you’ve enjoyed life, doesn’t mean the next day should be like that.
Much easier said than done, right?
Daily calorie count: way too fucking many.
How I prepped for this weekend, and diet damage control:
I’m in a fat loss program. It’s a 6 week program that some would call pretty intense. 2 days of eating like that doesn’t fit anywhere into that program. I knowingly went off plan, and I know there will be a price I have to pay for that.
My progress will be slowed, and I’ll have to make up for what I did.
How do I handle that?
I’ve known this past week that my weekend would be a little bit higher calorie. There was no way in hell my girlfriend was going to come back in town and I would spend the whole time eating chicken salads and dieting.
Because of that, I’ve consciously eaten fewer calories each day than my program called for. Not by a ton, but reduced by 100-200 each day. Most people don’t think of this, but on a weekly scale this sort of thought process can be especially valuable.
I saved myself about 500-600 weekly calories that I could pull from over the weekend. I blew through that extra 500-600, that’s for sure, but because I saved myself those calories I was at least able to limit the damage to some extent.
Accounting for calories this way isn’t always fun, and it’s not the most sustainable option, but it works. Taking a weekly view of your calorie intake can absolutely help you limit the fat loss damage of a holiday weekend weekend away.
I also got into the gym on my off day, and managed to get a great barbell complex workout in. This was another “must” for me, since I knew I needed to burn through some extra calories. It didn’t take too long at all, 30 minutes max, but it got my heart rate through the roof and left me sweaty as hell.
The barbell complex:
- A1. Romanian Deadlift
- A2. Bent over row
- A3. Hang clean
- A4. Front squat
- A5. Overhead press
*6 rounds, with 8 reps on each exercise.
The plan for Sunday:
The weekend is over. Which means not only do I need to try and make up for some of what I did this past weekend, I need to start the week on a good note.
On Sunday I fasted for a prolonged period of time. My last meal was Saturday night around 11ish, and my first meal on Sunday wasn’t until about 5. All in all it’s a 16 hour fast, which isn’t anything new for me.
That morning I got some activity in by taking the dogs to the park by my house. I did a little bit of running around with them, and ran a few hill sprints. Just enough to get my break a sweat.
Later on in the evening I got an actual workout in. The same barbell complex that I did on Wednesday. Quick, dirty, and seriously effective.
Dieting takes trade offs:
Sometimes when you’re trying to make a change in your body, there are certain trade offs that take place. I wish I could eat donuts, mexican food, grill, and drink beer every weekend. And I can, I just can’t if I truly care about losing the fat like I want to.
When that happens, I have to make up for it by fasting, eating less, and getting an extra workout in. At least if I want to stay somewhat on track, that’s what I’ve got to do.
Change isn’t always fun, but that doesn’t mean denying ourselves the joys that life brings us. It just means knowing when to take part in those awesome times, and knowing the trade offs that will have to be made later on.
Next Sunday will likely be much of the same, and I accept that. It isn’t a long term sustainable solution, and I know that. It’s also not something that everyone can replicate.
This isn’t how I want every weekend to go. Enjoying decadence and then severe restriction isn’t fun. But for right now that’s how I’m making this sort of thing work for me, and when life has settled back down in a week or two, I’ll be able to implement a much more sustainable plan.