How many times have you been in the situation where you rocked your week of healthy eating, and then Sunday you have a family barbecue with all of your favorite foods??
How many times has that situation gone well? Most of the time, it’s when I check in with my clients I get about a 75/25 report. 75% of the time they give in to all the favorites in copious amounts, and 25% of the time they abstain or only have a few favorites.
I am here to tell you that going to that family barbecue and having those favorite foods is 100% possible, and you should be able to enjoy your favorites!
Priorities, portions, and proper timing.
When you are at said barbecue, and your Aunt brings you your favorite avocado and bean salad, along with your most favorite strawberry pie, I already know I am in for a lackluster eating day, and I’m completely fine with it! BUT, I look at the values of both of the foods and decide which food will be better for me, and which is second choice. In this case, I take a bigger helping of avocado and bean salad, and take a smaller piece of pie. This way I have enough good fats and fiber to slow down my insulin reaction to the food I’m going to eat; including the pie. If I were to do it the other way around and eat mostly pie and then a small amount of avocado and bean salad, my meal would be made up primarily of sugars and starches. This will spike my insulin quite a bit, and leave me in worse shape than the previous option.
This part is pretty self-explanatory, but in a previous blog post I outlined how I was a “Give me an inch, I’ll take a mile eater.” Because I know that about myself, I have a very difficult time having a bite of this comfort food, or that comfort food. I am an all or nothing eater. I have to stay away from certain foods, and I’ve learned to embrace it. However, one of the best things you could at this family barbecue is keep your portions in check. Meaning, have the pie, have the cheesy potatoes, have to green bean casserole, have the sloppy joes, but try and cut them in half. The reason for this is simple, if you are a person who usually gets 2000 calories in a day during the week of what I’ll call “normal” foods, and you eat crappy foods on your Sunday family day and get right around 2000 calories, you are getting your usual calorie intake. Albeit you are getting a little different quality foods, but you are sticking as close to your usual intake as possible. If you are able to lose weight at a certain amount of calories (for example 2000 calories is your usual), chances are you won’t gain any weight or sabotage your “healthy” eating week with one irregular day. *Disclaimer* You might be a little more bloated, but this won’t usually translate to weight gained.
One of the last pieces of advice I can give any client when they are headed into a weekend of family fun, and potlucks is make sure your meal timing is on point. What I mean by that is I wouldn’t advice eating your biggest meal an hour before going to bed. Not because you are going to all of the sudden gain ten pounds, but you’ll be going into a rest and recover mode, and will more than likely wake up feeling bloated, heavy, and weighted down. The other things I advise is if you had a rough Sunday of eating-by rough I mean you ate all the awesome foods your family brought to the barbecue. I recommend fasting into the next day for awhile. Nothing too major, but at least long enough to have digested the calories and food from the day prior. For me, if I have the avocado and bean salad, the pie, or anything else I’m not used to having, I keep track of what time I had my last calorie (including liquids). Let’s say on Sunday my last calorie was in my system by 8:00pm. I purposely fast for at least 16 hours into Monday. Once I hit the 16 hour mark if I still feel full, or I don’t feel hungry I continue to fast until I feel hungry. Not the hunger pangs, out of my mind, ridiculously hunger type of sensation, but a mild hunger. So if noon on Monday rolls around and I am still not hungry, I will wait to eat until a bit later.
This allows my body to digest everything from Sunday without inundating my system with more macros.
So after all of that, what is the takeaway from this blog???
Go out, have a great time with your family, enjoy your favorites at the barbecue, don’t feel guilty, but don’t absent-mindedly eat either. Have fun and still stay on track with your priority, portion, and proper timing eating.
As always, keep working hard.
Megan Williams Training