Dieting sucks. While trying to better your health you start to notice all the stuff you can’t do.
No going out to eat.
No hanging out with friends.
And its blasphemy if you want to even sniff a beer.
No wonder people can’t stick to eating healthy. It’s almost like everything good or fun in life is bad for you. Is your healthy even worth it?
Yea it is.
Back in my youth, actually I was 29, I was prepping for my first bodybuilding show. Someone convinced me to try one so I had a YOLO moment lol. (Truth be told; I just threw up a little typing YOLO.)
I wasn’t into the whole banana hammock scene so I did the Physique category where you wear board shorts. No need to show the grapes on stage in front of hundreds of people I don’t know.
The show was in March so I started dieting in January. For the most part it was easy because not a whole lot goes on after the holidays and the fact that it is colder than hell in New England no one goes out, so it was pretty smooth sailing diet wise. I just had to curb the cravings and the self-imposed peer pressure.
Conveniently, St. Patrick’s Day was two weeks before the competition. Traditionally, all my friends head to Hartford for the parade which is followed up with copious amounts of day drinking and bad decisions most of the time cumulating in some awesome stories about how stupid we all were.
Not well versed with dieting in public, I chose to stay in that weekend so I didn’t blow my progress. While my friends were getting sloppy drunk, living awesome stories that they’d tell me later; I stayed home and played video games…alone.
At this time, I would have agreed with you; dieting is whack and it sucks ass. I was also stupid and lazy.
My problem, like a lot of other people, I didn’t know how to make the right decisions when out with friends in the face of peer pressure. I also felt like I had to go all out when I was hanging with friends.
I would constantly compete with my friends on things that I don’t think they knew we were competing on. Like if you ate one burger, I would have to either eat a bigger burger or eat 2. I’m not sure if this is a guy thing or more telling of my inner workings. Needless to say, this lead to me eating or drinking a lot more than I wanted or should have.
So how do we navigate this minefield of bad food and bad habits and not be seen as the outcast with our friends, family or even worse – that girl you’re trying to hook up with. She’s had enough weirdos in her life – give her a break.
Don’t get all sweaty and nervous, I got your back Jack.
HOW TO TOE THE LINE
No one likes staying at home eating the same stuff every day. Unless you do and that’s cool too, but the vast majority of us don’t.
The first thing to tackle is your…
I talked about this before, but I feel like it should be repeated. Your attitude and how you perceive dieting plays a huge roll in your success or lack of.
If you think you’ll never meet your goal or if you think dieting sucks, then it will suck.
Instead of taking a huge dump on dieting when you start, keep in mind why you are doing it in the first place.
Do you get embarrassed when you take your shirt off?
Does your stomach hangover your jeans?
Are you seeing friends for the first time in a while and want to rub it in their faces that they got fat and you didn’t?
Whatever the reason you are starting, bring that up when you want to stray off the diet.
ALL OR NOTHING APPROACH
A lot of people, me included, live by the motto “Go hard or go home.” Unfortunately dieting doesn’t need to work this way.
Depending on your end goal, there is some wiggle room to hit up McDonald’s, have that beer or eat the entire King cut prime rib yourself.
If you are looking to lose weight, stick to a 90:10 good to bad meal ratio. So, if you are eating 5 meals a day, every day, you can eat whatever you want for 3 meals over the week. Not going off the rails eating where you slam 2 bacon cheeseburgers and a large fry at Five Guys (my post competition meal btw) but have a beer, have one bacon cheeseburger, eat some ice cream if you want.
Just because you “screwed” up once doesn’t mean you should fly off the rails and eat everything in sight. Allow some wiggle room in your diet.
Here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way after spending that St. Patrick’s day alone playing video games. Lol boy that’s a sad image.
PLAN IN ADVANCE
If you are going out to eat, there is a good chance the menu and nutrition information are online. Check it out before going out. Find something lower in carbs and that isn’t above 500 calories.
Most dishes in chain restaurants are upwards of 1000 calories. And that’s not including appetizers or drinks. Half your day’s calories in one meal! That’s ridonculous!
Find something reasonable (under 500 calories, under 50g of carbs) and stick with that and only that. That way you can have a few adult beverages and not be splitting your pants by the end of the night.
Skip foods that are battered, breaded, or fried, as these tend to be high in fat. Instead, look for foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, poached or lightly sautéed.
DON’T MIX BEER AND FOOD
Alcohol is good for a few things:
Picking up chicks,
Having an epic night,
Eating food your dog wouldn’t touch.
The problem lies in the last one. The same glorious drink that leads to regret the next day is the same stuff that will let you eat a whole pizza at two in the morning. This is where a lot of excess weight is put on.
I know I just said you could have a beer with dinner but there are better options. There are always better options.
The better way to go about it is to eat a big meal then drink. Contrary to prior “bro-knowledge”, eating bread to soak up the alcohol does nothing but make your insulin spike and add inches to your waist.
Get a protein heavy meal in before you drink. Protein takes a while to digest, is hard to turn into fat and will curb your hunger better than carbs would.
Aim for a steak and veggies or go with a burger and skip the bun and fries.
WATCH WHERE YOU SIT
When faced with a bowl of snacks, move your seat. Sitting in front of a bowl of chips, peanuts or candy will only lead to you eating the entire bowl. Will power only goes so far.
You don’t need to be a d-bag and make everyone else suffer, just move your seat or push the bowl to someone else that will be in your shoes later.
This goes for restaurants too. Push that bread basket away, save room for the entrée you already picked out.
If your entrée comes with fries or a cream based salad, opt for veggies or oil and vinegar on the salad.
Rather than tempt yourself with fries sitting on your plate, don’t even get them. Restaurants are accommodating in this aspect. Use it.
TEMPER CALORIES BEFORE GOING OUT
If you know you are going out for dinner or going out with the guys, temper your calories for the rest of the day.
Eat a lighter breakfast and lunch. Stick to protein and veggies. They’ll keep you full and you’ll be primed to have a guilt free night.
Think of your daily calories as money. You have 2000 calories to spend each day, or $2000. If you know you are going to splurge at night, save some money during the day. Spending more than this will lead to bad things.
WHAT TO DO WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE
So you have completely gone off the rails and disregarded everything I’ve just told you. You ate a carb heavy meal, washed it down with a few beers and ate something that resembled a hot dog at three in the morning.
What do we do now?!
First thing first, we must fix that jackhammer in your head.
Get some liquid in your system with electrolytes. Chances are you pissed everything out of your system the night before. Electrolytes will help restore the calm in your head.
Next, we have a surplus of calories from the alcohol and whatever God forsaken food you ate. “Bro-knowledge” says to eat something greasy to soak up the alcohol and calm your stomach. You might as well buy a bigger pair of pants too while you are at it and throw some water on a grease fire.
Practice intermittent fasting. Instead of forcing down calories, fast for 12-14 hours from the last thing you ate (if you can remember). Let your body recoup after the assault you unleashed on it the night before. Drink plenty of calorie-free drinks to push everything out. Water and tea should be in abundance here.
Finally, hit the gym. Getting the blood flowing will put those excess calories to good use rather than depositing them around your waist. Go for a full body workout or at very least work your legs. Don’t expect to hit PRs, just go to flush the crap out.
Cardio should be the last option here. You could run on a treadmill for an hour but that sucks. Lift some weights. Lifting weights will help with your insulin sensitivity and create more of a need for calories over the course of the day rather than the hour you would be sweating to the oldies on the treadmill.
WRAPPING IT UP
Dieting doesn’t mean you need to go on house arrest and be the outcast. Knowing how to make good decisions in the heat of battle is all you need. If you have a game plan and aren’t afraid to be your own person, you’ll be fine.
Ultimately you are in control of what you eat, no one else. If you can’t stick to a diet that allows for some flexibility, it’s on you.
Do you have any tips that have helped you when dieting? Let us know!
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