So you’ve read the article about MyFitnessPal and you’ve set your daily calorie goals and have been doing pretty well. Then the weekend comes and you blow it big time! Don’t stress! As long as you’re hitting your goals most days, a bad day won’t set you back that much. I find that Monday to Thursday I can religiously stick to my eating schedule. Then Friday comes and I start to get tempted to indulge a little as the weekend gets closer. I was guilty of this last Friday as I had sushi for lunch and then Indian takeaways for dinner (and our local Indian takeaways makes some mighty fine Indian food and the butter naan is amazing)! But even with this indulging I didn’t blow by calorie budget. What! Tell me more!
The good news is that you don’t have to miss out on your favorite food. Believe it or not, I didn’t go over my calorie goal which is only 1650 calories at the moment as I’m working on dropping a couple of kilograms and 3 body fat percentage points. How did I manage it? I planned ahead. I actually have sushi for lunch every Friday. Of course sushi is still pretty healthy but it doesn’t take much to get the calories up when I’m eating a couple of big pieces of salmon teriyaki sushi. Knowing that I would be enjoying lunch today and eating a larger meal that normal, I decided at breakfast time to have a light breakfast. So breakfast was a morning tonic (8 calories), earl grey tea (4 calories) half a cup of rolled oats with milk and sugar (201 calories) and one small apple (55 calories). Total breakfast calories = 268. Rolled oats is a great choice as its slow burning carbs and sees me through until lunch time. I don’t have a morning snack either or if I am hungry I will have a handful of nuts and raisins (around 120 calories).
Right, lunch time. I know that my lunch will be around 700 calories. I also know I will be doing a workout today which between 20 mins on the stair treadmill and a 60 minute workout will burn around 400 calories + my iPhone has logged 5084 steps which is 97 calories burned. Lunch was 657 calories so now I’ve just dropped my net lunch calorific intake to only 160 calories! I’m still pretty full from lunch so don’t need an afternoon snack.
Now onto dinner – I’ve eaten some butter chicken, butter naan and lamb jalfrezi. I’ve consulted the MyFitnessPal bible and have eaten 900 calories.
My calorific intake for the day? 1803 calories less the 534 calories burned exercising leaving a net 381 calories remaining that I can still use. So at this point I have a choice and can choose to stop there and benefit from a bit of extra weight loss or I can still even indulge in some icecream or a chocolate bar and still be under my daily goal! I chose to not have a dessert snack on Friday night and as a result I felt great because I’d had an awesome lunch and dinner that I really enjoyed, had a great workout and still came under my calorie goal knowing I was burning weight like a machine! It doesn’t matter if its Indian or a Carls Jnr burger that you love – the key is to understand the calories you’ve consumed and make sure you counter the effect of those calories through exercise or reducing your intake for other meals on the same day or the next day.
Another key is to plan your day ahead. What will throw you off track is when you binge eat on snacks like potato chips and chocolate bars. A packet of potato chips can add 500 calories to your intake – this is the equivalent of a light meal and more importantly there is no nutrition in what you’ve eaten. Planning your day and what you will be eating and also taking into account what exercise you are planning will help you stay on track. Think ahead what you snack will be – don’t just go for the easy option. Every week I load up a plastic resealable bag with nuts and raisin, my favorite low calorie health snack.
If you do over indulge on the weekend, don’t beat yourself up. If I have a bad day I either skip breakfast the next morning (especially if I ate a massive dinner and I’m not usually hungry at breakfast time anyway). Or I have a light 200 calorie breakfast like the rolled oats I mentioned earlier. I snack very light and reduce my lunch and dinner intake. Then at the end of the day I add my calorific total for yesterday and today and usually find that I’m balanced over the 2 days and back on track.
Like any goal in life planning is the key to success. You wouldn’t put gas in your car for the first time without knowing what gas your car can take right? Don’t treat your body any differently. Learn what your body needs and is good for your body. Eat like that most of the time and then continue to reward yourself along the way with the meals you love.