Let me know if this sounds familiar.
After a good week of eating and exercising, Friday rolls around. You get invited to happy hour, which leads to a big dinner out and more drinks.
Then you wake up Saturday feeling rough and use comfort food to recover, only to do it all again that night. Rinse and repeat.
“Oh well, I’ll just start again on Monday”
I mean, it’s not your fault, you tried. Maybe it’s just not meant to be when everything is against you, right?
This weekend is Super Bowl, so you’ll be presented with even more challenges.
So, let me ask you this: Do you actually want to be like everyone else?
Because everyone else is carrying around a few too many pounds with rock bottom energy and bloodwork that makes their doctor prescribe more and more pills with each visit.
Or do you want something better?
Because, deep down, I’m sure you want a fit, athletic body, more energy, unlimited confidence and the motivation to crush everything life throws your way.
But when we fall into this weekend cycle of self-sabotage, it just adds time and effort to the process and we start to lose momentum and belief.
I’m a big fan of creating a bigger calorie deficit Monday-Friday and “breaking even” on the weekend.
That’s not a bad strategy.
But I challenge you to weigh-in Friday and again on Monday or Tuesday.
If the number is consistently up on the second weigh-in (yes, we account for water weight by waiting for Tuesday), you’re only really giving yourself three days to lose fat each week.
My client Sean knew weekends were sabotaging his efforts.
So now he messages me a pic of his scale weight on Friday and again on Tuesday. If the number is even or up, there are consequences.
So, with that little rant out of the way, this article is about finding that middle ground. Having your fun without the fat so to speak.
First, The Grim Statistics
The average number of calories in one meal at non-chain restaurants is 1,200, according to research conducted in the U.S. and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Three of the most popular cuisines (American, Italian, and Chinese) had the highest calorie averages (1,495 calories/meal).
That number doesn’t include appetizers, drinks or desserts. The three poisons that really push calories up.
When you include those, you could easily be consuming 2,000 calories in one sitting.
So, if you’re a person who requires 2,000 calories to lose weight, the average meal out could contain the majority of your day’s calorie budget.
But, I bring good news in today’s article.
You can go out to eat, enjoy yourself, and still lose weight. It just takes a bit of planning.
Most make the mistake of going out to eat and then trying to make a healthy food decision while staring at a menu full of mouth-watering photos of burgers and deep-fried delights.
With the Work-Backward Method first introduced by Carter Good, you fix this issue once and for all with a couple simple steps.
Step 1: Pick Your Meal Ahead of Time
To the best of your ability, go in with a plan.
Every restaurant posts their menu online. Many include the nutritional information.
Your job is to google the restaurant and find an option that fits your fancy and your diet.
If it doesn’t include the calorie count, look up a similar meal from a chain restaurant and assume you’ll be in the ballpark.
Step 2: Make Your Other Meals Fit
The “work-backward” part comes in now.
If you’ve chosen something a bit hefty in calories off the menu, you’ll just need to create a bigger buffer the rest of the day by eating light before. Think lean protein and vegetables.
I’d advise against going to the restaurant starving. Even a big glass of water and a protein shake an hour before can help.
10 Bonus Dining Out Swaps
Here are 10 swaps you can make to reduce your calorie consumption further.
Pick your poison. Choose one of the 3 poisons mentioned earlier, drinks, dessert or appetizers (that dreaded bread bowl). You either get two drinks, a serving of dessert (better if you share with a loved one), or a couple slices of bread, but you can’t have all three. Pick your one poison and enjoy it.
Always order sauce/dressing on the side. These add a lot of calories and are typically used in excess. You can better control intake by asking for them on the side. Dip your fork in with each bite rather than free pouring.
Always opt for the side salad. You often have the choice of fries or salad. Choose wisely.
Request low-fat cooking methods. You can get your meat grilled or broiled (ask without oil) rather than deep-fried, battered or breaded.
Ask for a double order of mixed vegetables instead of a full serving of pasta or rice.
You can ask for side protein. You can pay a bit extra and get a side of grilled protein (chicken, salmon, etc.) with just salt and pepper to fill you up.
For breakfast, instead of hashbrowns, ask for sliced tomatoes or a side of fruit.
Ask for a lettuce wrap instead of bread or a bun.
Go Halfers. Split an appetizer and entrée with your dinner partner. Save calories and cash.
Eat slowly. Enjoy your company and conversation. Slow eaters are generally leaner than their fast-eating counterparts.
BONUS: Super Bowl Game Plan
1) Get your day off to the healthiest start possible with a quick protein-rich smoothie.
2) Next, hit the gas on your fat burning metabolism with this quick workout…
Superbowl Survival 10-Minute Pre-Game Workout
– Go through as many rounds of each exercise for 30 seconds each
- Jumping Jacks
- Thrusters (or squats if you don’t have dumbbells)
- Wall Sit
3) Your meals in the early part of the day should be both high protein and high-fiber.
According to research, when you consume protein and fiber at breakfast, you end up being LESS hungry for the rest of the day. That means you’ll eat less at lunch and you’ll have fewer cravings at dinner, making it so much easier to pass on another plate of wings or pizza.
Later on, have a late lunch. And make sure this is high protein and high fiber, too. You’re better off not going to the party ravenous.
4) Have a plan going in
And now it’s time to start getting your “game face” on. Time for you to treat it like the players and have a game plan.
Pick your poison (1 treat to enjoy), decide on what you’re willing to indulge with and what you aren’t and you’ll have no problems limiting your SuperBowl supper and snacking to under 1,500 calories.
If you do that, you’ll keep your SuperBowl Sunday calorie intake at 2,500. Yes, you may be up a bit in weight on Monday, but it’s short-lived.
Final tip: Don’t drink alcohol after half time. That will interfere with your sleep. And if you get a good sleep then you can expect to get right back to your diet the next day.
Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fat loss coach for men and women like his former self. Obese in his 20s, he now helps clients find their spark and lose weight the right way and keep it off for life. To inquire about his all new 2020 coaching intake, visit workwithmitch.ca or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.