How do you jump back on the right track, after a totally blowing your diet on Holiday weekends like Thanksgiving? Here are the steps we take at the Pfiester’s, to get us back in the groove.
Purge the crap. No, I’m not promoting bulimia. I’m saying get rid of the junk in your house. For example, Steve bought a pint of ice cream Friday weekend. Sunday night he said “my diet starts tomorrow. Do you want to know how serious I am?” And he proceeded to take the ice cream out of the fridge and toss it in the trash. It’s hard to eat clean when you are surrounded by junkfood. So, like Steve, if there is food in your kitchen you know is something that will tempt you, get rid of it. If you feel guilty for throwing food away, get over it. Keeping it doesn’t help solve hunger – and giving it to your friends or family is like passing along a disease. Do you really want to make someone else fat? Just get rid of it. No one needs that stuff.
Stock up. Once you purge all the crap, it’s time to replenish and do some healthy grocery shopping. Many times we eat poorly because we don’t have anything healthy handy. If you want to eat healthy, you have to shop healthy.
Prepare. After a weekend of feasting, I cooked up all our healthy food for the week. Grilled zucchini and squash, grilled fish, new potatoes, slow cooked chicken, and a whole roasted turkey is what’s on this week’s menu. Now that we’re stocked up, there’s no reason to go off plan.
Shrink the tummy. The first few days of getting back on track is all about portions. I eat several small meals and snacks, without ever filling all the way up. I also do a lot of watery, low-calorie density foods like soup, fruits, vegetables and smoothies to keep me full while reducing calories. In a matter of days, my stomach flattens back out and the smaller portions are perfect portions.
Burn it off. After falling off the wagon, I not only get back to my routine but I do double duty. I do 2 cardios a day to help boost my turn around. It helps erase my mistakes and gets my head back in the game.
Count calories. Even though I know what to eat, I always go back to tracking calories (I use the Lose It app) after going off my regular routine. It helps me stay focused, as well as get results quickly. Without calorie counting, my bounce back is normally slower and I’m not as strict. Accountability is key – and nailing the diet is essential to success.
Stick with it. To prevent going off my diet too soon, I stick with a plan and set goals for how long I will stick to my routine. Consistency is key, so I don’t let myself cheat until I’ve either fulfilled the time, or hit my goal (which is normally a goal weight).
Diet Tip of the Week: Calorie Density
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There is nothing more frustrating than counting calories and busting your butt in the gym, only to get on the scale and seeing the same darn number day after day. I know how this feels because this is how my last 2 weeks have gone.
If I didn’t know better, and know that my hard work would eventually be reflected on the scale, it would be very tempting to quit. If I hadn’t personally experienced these frustrating plateaus right before a drastic drop in weight, and have that experience already, I would have said “forget this!”. BUT, I knew that success was just around the corner. I knew that if I just kept sticking it out, that all my hard work and dedication would indeed pay off – and pay off BIG. However, I had to get through this discouraging slump first – without letting it get to me.
In preparation for a photo shoot, I started counting my calories with the LoseIt iphone app and boosting cardio to shed some fat and lean out. Although I always eat pretty healthy, I knew I needed to be absolutely perfect with my diet, so I tracked every single calorie I consumed. Ironically, when you start dieting, it’s common for your body to resist weight loss. The “start” is the hardest part of the process. It’s also when you have the most cravings, feel the most hungry, have the least energy and see the least results.
What My Scale Said
I started at 147.9lbs, which is my average weight. I need to get down to 138-140lb when I want to lean out for something special. A few days in, I dropped to 146.6lbs and stayed there for days. Then, I got on the scale, 8-9 days in, and my weight went back UP to 147.6lbs – and I was like “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Now, mind you, I’m in the industry and know what my body is going through. I also knew I felt better, and I was literally seeing less body fat on me. I knew for a fact that my body was making all the positive changes I expected – but the scale was not in agreement. BUT, that doesn’t change the fact that stupid number was totally ticking me off and messing with my head.
While I was going through this scale battle, so was my husband. As he prepares for a bodybuiling show, he too was counting calories and being very strict on his diet. Like me, he was seeing positive changes in his body but not seeing what he wanted to see on the scale.
FINALLY, I weighed myself this morning and BAM! I was at 143.4lbs. 4.5lbs down finally! It literally took 2 weeks of sticking at my starting number until my efforts were reflected on the scale.
1. Focus on how you FEEL. When you are doing the right things, you should FEEL good. You should FEEL thinner, FEEL more energy, FEEL tighter, FEEL more attractive and FEEL successful. If the scale doesn’t agree, keep doing what makes you FEEL good, and eventually it should be reflected on the scale. The only time you need to worry is if your plateau last longer than a month. In that case, you need to accept you are doing something wrong and start aggressively troubleshooting.
2. Focus on how clothes FIT. I’ve had MANY people totally freak out because the scale says one thing and their clothes say another. Listen, if your clothes are fitting better, then your body is changing. Don’t let the number on the scale rob you of the joy you get when you put on a pair of jeans that are loose. How your clothes FIT you is a good, and accurate, measure of how you are doing on your diet.
3. Focus on the way you LOOK. If you look in the mirror and you can see more definition, or you can tell you are smaller, don’t let the scale ruin that excitement for you! And, if people are bragging on how good you are looking, don’t tell them how the scale doesn’t agree with them. You literally can be losing fat and gaining muscles, and making some serious changes before it is reflected on the scale, so focus on the way you LOOK and enjoy the changes you SEE!
4. Focus on your PROGRESS. Just yesterday I was griping about how I couldn’t believe I haven’t dropped one pound in two weeks. But I knew in my heart I was making progress. I knew I was doing everything right. Not only was I in control of my eating, having power over cravings, and saying no to some of the things I love to eat, but I was sticking to my training plan and staying focused. THAT, my friend, is something to be proud of. It’s progress. It’s progress because I am in control of my body, instead of letting my body control me. Also, I’ve been putting in the cardio and the work. This is also progress.
If this is you, you should enjoy victorious moments, knowing you are putting in the time and effort no matter what the scale says. The fact is, if you are doing all the right things, THAT alone is something to be proud of. When you do what is right, it WILL pay off.
Gain Control of Your Body AND Mind
The above tips are what keeps me going when I’m not seeing the numbers I want on the scale. They keep me balanced and level-headed – and they can help you too. Don’t let the scale steal the joy you should be experiencing when you are staying disciplined and working hard. Soon, and VERY soon, the scale will tell you exactly what you want to see to seal the deal and make your victory even sweeter!