By Luke Briggs, CSCS, PN-1, Coach at FIT
The warm months are upon us.
That means barbecues, vacations, and parties. You know, all the fun stuff you’ve been waiting the entire winter to do!
You’re going to have lots of beer, burgers, fries, and other greasy food.
So you know what that means – you can kiss your fat loss efforts goodbye, right?
Not so fast, my friend!
If you follow these three tips, you can easily enjoy summer activities eating some of your favorite foods without the unnecessary fat gain.
- Plan your meals ahead of time
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t do a little planning!
The first law of thermodynamics states you maintain your weight by burning off as many calories as you consume.
As long as you don’t consume excess calories over the course of the entire day, you’ll be fine.
For example, if you’re shooting for 2,000 calories per day, don’t have big, 800-calorie meals for breakfast and lunch if you know you’re going to have a large dinner.
Instead, consume lean protein and vegetables for the first meal or two of the day and save most of your calories for dinner.
If you’re eating out for breakfast and you want to bank calories for later, just order a couple of eggs and maybe add a piece of fruit or a salad. Remember, you don’t need to eat everything on your plate. You can either throw or give away the other unnecessary carb sources.
Obviously, you want to make sure most of those calories come from whole, unprocessed sources most of the time, but calorie intake is king for weight loss or gain.
- Know that every meal is mutually exclusive
Does this sound like you?
“Well, I already had a couple cheat meals, so I might as well have a few more. The damage is already done!”
If you have one or two huge meals, you’re not going to gain much fat.
According to one study, taking in a big meal in a short period of time causes your body to release some calories as heat instead of storing them (Tai et al., 1991).
Because of the excess carbohydrate and sodium you consumed, you’ll gain some water weight. But as long as you go back to normal fat-loss portions your next meal, you’ll lose it in a couple of days.
Don’t let over-eating carry over to the ensuing days and weeks. Just because you have one cheat meal doesn’t mean you need to have another.
It’s how you eat over the course of weeks, months, and years that determines how you look and feel.
- Stay active
Generally, people tend to make better food choices when they’re exercising because they don’t want to un-do everything they just did.
Sound about right?
Even though it’s the summer and it’s nice outside, you can still go to the gym. Those couple of hours you spend each week will pay off big-time when you want to look good in your swimsuit or summer clothes.
You can even increase calorie burn by doing fun outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and swimming. There’s so much to do when the sun is out and the grass is green!
Remember to stay active on your vacations and avoid lying around on the beach all day.
You’ll have plenty of time to sit in the sun, but make sure you take advantage of everything your awesome environment has to offer!
- Tai, MM, P Castillo, and FX Pi-Sunyer. “Meal size and frequency: effect on the thermic effect of food.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nov. 1991. Web. 17 May 2017.