Life by it’s very nature can be very unpredictable. But there are certain things in life that you can almost take for granted: In Ireland, it will rain a lot during the summer, governments will break pre-election promises and when you go to parties there will be a lot of food and drink available, and almost none of it will be low-carb.
It always amuses me when people seem surprised by any, or all of the above. I’ve lost count of the number of times that clients have had a particularly bad weigh-in and then confessed that it was due to a party or celebration that they’d attended over the weekend. They then tell me that they “had to” have the cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sandwiches because “there was nothing else there!”
As far as I can see, these situations bring up 2 important and related issues: control and choice. Life is uncertain but there are many aspects of our own lives that we can control or, at least, influence. I strongly believe that if you don’t take control of those parts of your life, then somebody else will do it for you. And that may happen in a way that doesn’t serve your best interests.
Your own health and fitness is one aspect of your life where you can exert a huge amount of control. But you have to choose to enforce that control.
So let’s return to the party scenario and examine what the choices are:
- Don’t go in the first place: Stay at home instead and have your protein recovery shake after completing some Tabata intervals. Okay, I didn’t think so but it’s still an option.
- Speak to the host/hostess beforehand and explain that you’re being more selective about what you eat and ask if he/she could let you know what they plan to serve. This one will only work if you’re on good personal terms with the party giver. Or if you don’t really care if people might think you’re a health freak.
- Have your regular healthy meals before you go to the party and then politely refuse any junk that happens to be on offer. If the hosts happen to be serving low-carb, high- protein and gluten-free options then you can be a lot more relaxed. But there’s probably as much chance of that happening as there is of option 1.
- You can declare it your Cheat Day and decide that you’re going to have a great time and take the consequences. But in order to avoid guilt or shock and disbelief when you have your next weigh-in, you must accept that there will be consequences.
Occasions where there are excesses of junk food and alcohol consumed play havoc with your fitness plans in 2 ways. There’s the inevitable weight gain resulting from the over-indulgence on the night.
But there’s also the hangover which leads to cravings for more sugar, salt and soft drinks the next day. The thoughts of a tough training session are enough to send your head spinning even more and so, the couch becomes a more appealing option.
It’s this “double-whammy” that can slow down clients’ progress after a well-disciplined week of training and healthy food choices. This means that if you want to get back to achieving your body composition/fitness goals, you’re going to have to be even more disciplined with your food and training.
So what should you do?
The choice is yours!