People always ask how I stay lean year round. I don’t fluctuate more than five pounds year round even when I go on vacation. The secret???
I like having my cake and eating it too! Not in a literal sense… what I mean when I say something like that is that I eat very clean five days a week then eat whatever I want on the weekends, guilt free.
Why cheat so much?
When someone has a strict meal plan, you have to give your body’s natural tendencies to splurge a little bit of leeway. It is good mentally as well as physically. After all, when someone works out, the body can’t physically train seven days a week forever. It needs a break, again both physically and mentally. The same holds true for food.
I go hard core strict clean eating Monday through Fridays like a religion. I rarely ever stray from that. The only exception might be a special anniversary or birthday that falls during the week and it’s decided to be celebrated then rather than the weekend.
Even when I travel, I eat very clean. A lot of restaurants nowadays cater to peoples special dietary needs and as such, will accommodate special requests.
So what is eaten?
I do not believe in all these crazy diets about low carbs, drinking juice all the time, cleansing, can’t eat carbs after a certain time of the night, etc, etc. I like to keep it simple, very simple. This makes meal preparations easy to handle.
I don’t count calories any more since I know how much to eat in each sitting. This is something that you gauge yourself after you have been doing this awhile. Everyone is different in the way they exercise, the length of exercising, the exertion, your metabolism, etc. So for me to give you an exact calorie count based on weight would not be very accurate.
I will say this though. When eating clean, it is very hard to pack on calories since carbs and protein grams have less than half the calorie content of fat grams.
My diet is simple, I stick to a year round low fat calorie. I eat six meals a day. The last meal is a protein drink with water and casein which is a slow digesting protein that helps cleanse out the digestive tract over night.
My calorie breakdown is 40% of calories from protein, 40% from complex carbs and 20% from fat. Most of the time however, I am closer to 45-45-10% break down. I also try to consume one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. I am about 180 pounds so this would equate to 180 grams of protein or basically 30 grams per meal. I will admit though this is very hard and most of the time I run about 160 grams of protein.
Even at that, 180 grams, the equivalent amount of complex carbs would be 360 grams total or about 1440 calories. I take in no more than 500 calories of fat so at 180 pounds I am taking in about 2000 calories a day and that’s eating six times a day!
So what exactly is cheating on the weekend?
When the weekend comes, my body wants to let go. This means enjoying my favorite adult beverage, having juicy steaks high in fat like skirt or ribeye. A nice pasta plate with sauces. No mind you, pasta is not bad, it is the things you add to it that can make it bad.
The phenomenon I have found with people that are dieting to lose weight is that once they see progress being made, they tend to cheat less and less on the weekends. There is no problem with that sense that is part of the mental trick you play on your body.
When you finally start feeling your clothes feel loose and time to buy a new wardrobe, you become more self conscious on what you eat on those cheat days. The reason I advocate not to worry about what you eat on the weekends, knowing full well that you will start controlling it yourself when you start seeing progress made, is so you let your body and mind know that it is OK to cheat if you happen to. It is a nice feeling to know that even though you may not pig out that much over the weekend, it is OK to do so because it is part of the plan.
So, if you want to get in shape, have your cake and eat it too. Eat clean five days a week then eat what you want on the weekends. You will find that this reward will refresh your body to hit it hard again in the upcoming week.
Enjoy life, balance is what it is all about and this includes what you eat in order to be…Fit Forlife!