If you were celebrating the Easter holiday with family and friends yesterday, I hope you
enjoyed every morsel of food you ate. Now, it's time to get back to your routine!
If you don't have a routine, now's the time to start one. If you don't have a plan, there's no road map. If there's no road map, you'll get lost.
I'm currently setting my own goal of shredding some fat for the next 10 days for an upcoming vacation. I've put together a meal plan that will help me achieve my goal. I have my grocery list ready to go. I've committed to cooking most of my meals and limiting eating out. I've also committed to not skipping a day in the gym. Broccoli soup and salads. Oatmeal and protein powder. Beans and tofu. And once a week I allow myself a cheat meal. If this sounds unpalatable, read my previous blog post first! What Should I eat? Step One: Train Your Palate.
I personally love meal plans. Following a specific meal plan allows me to plan ahead and stick to a program that I know will work. For the past 8 weeks I have been eating (and tracking) 2000/+ calories a day with a macro split of 40c/30p/30f. I have gained a few pounds and have been using the fuel from my meals to push through my weight lifting sessions six days a week. This week I'm starting a new meal plan for my current goal of shedding some weight. I'll be going from 2000 calories to 1500 calories. It's a specific amount of food that I weigh, measure and record. This will allow me to reduce my carb my intake and increase my protein to be as lean as possible. This meal plan will set me up to ensure I will achieve my goals. While on vacation I will enjoy eating and drinking whatever I want. When I return from my trip, I'll set up goal.
Tracking your food
I've spoken to many people who say tracking their food is too time consuming and not something they're willing to do. But if you're trying to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. Tracking your food is the only concrete information you have to manage what is going into your mouth every day. Tracking your daily calories is as important as what you eat. This is information you'll need to make adequate choices to achieve you weight loss goals. I've also heard many people say they had no idea how many calories they were eating until they actually started tracking. Myfitnesspal is a great tool and an easy app to use to help track your food intake and manage your calories.
Cooking Your Own Meals
Ordering in, eating out, or grabbing a meal at your favorite spot is easy and convenient. But this is where the most calories can add up. For starters, the portions for food we eat out are far greater than what we may be serving ourselves at home. Equally as important is the ingredients that are used to cook the food at a restaurant. The reason some of these foods taste so good is they're being cooked with oil, butter or are being fried. These small additions can add a ton of unwanted calories to your meals. Cooking your own meals ensures that you know exactly what you're eating. And if fat loss is your goal, you'll want to use as little oil, butter and fats as possible. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated. You can use as many as 2 ingredients with a few extra spices to create a palatable dish that will keep you on track and within you calorie goal.
Non Negotiable Training Days
Make an appointment with yourself everyday to exercise or to move your body. This part of your day should be a non-negotiable. Even when I was working and had two young kids at home, I always found a way to get my workouts in. This kept me fit but also saved my sanity. Sometimes that meant waking up super early, before the kids were awake, or working out during my lunch hour, or going for long walks after dinner. Whatever your schedule, make this one hour a day your non negotiable. I recently purchased the iwatch. This device tracks my workouts and exercise, monitor how active I am and lets me know when to I need to stand and move around. It also monitors your heart rate and total calories burned. It's a great tool to keep you on track.
Allowing Yourself a Cheat Meal (or two)
Being on a strict 7 days a week, 365 days a year, restricted diet is unrealistic and unnecessary. You should allow for a least one meal a week to be a "cheat" meal. This will give you something to look forward to. Whether it's pizza, cheeseburgers, pasta or ice cream, make sure you allow yourself to indulge every once in a while. These cheat meals also help me fill up on my glycogen stores and prepares me physically and mentally for another full week of weight training. And if you're really dialed in with your nutrition you can have a cheat meal more than once a week. Some people subscribe to the 80/20 rule. If 80% of your meals are healthy you can eat what you want for the other 20%. After all, we all need a little something to look forward to!