How to Avoid Gaining Fat on a Holiday

“What will I do this _______ (insert holiday here) – how will I stay on plan?”

I get this question a lot, and I sense the worry of many patriotic Americans this 4th of July, who know it is their civic duty to celebrate our independence by stuffing our faces full of processed meats, things we call salads that are hardly salads, and epic amounts of American beer…because that’s what freedom looks like!

Now, the cliche answer that many coaches will put out there is – one day doesn’t matter.

One day won’t ruin your month of work, your year of progress. Just like one salad doesn’t make you healthy, one binge day won’t make you fat…

yeah yeah yeah, we have heard it all.

But what if this is wrong? What if one day CAN derail you? Well, I’m here to explain that it can – and how you can minimize the damage.

Let me get this straight though – if you have been rocking your lifestyle, training, and nutrition lately, and you have one crazy day of pigging out, then get right back to your normally planned routine on July 5th, then yeah…most likely you might wake up a little puffy, water-bloated, and hungover… but it won’t undo weeks of work.

But for most people, this is not the case.

From a psychological standpoint, many people struggle with the whole “get right back to it” part. And to make matters harder, many preemtively prepare for a holiday by using the ol’ “i’ll be pigging out in 2 days anyway, so might as well start now” line.

AND to go full science nerd on you – one day of overeating CAN lead to fat gain if you push your calories into a surplus.

For example – let’s say your maintenance calorie level is 2000 calories. If you eat 2000 calories every day you stay at the exact same weight.

Now let’s say you have been losing weight by eating 1800 calories per day. Your week might look like this with a July 4th party…

  • Monday 1800
  • Tuesday 1800
  • Wednesday 1800
  • Thursday 5000
  • Friday 1800
  • Saturday 1800
  • Sunday 1800

AVERAGE: 2257 calories aka a SURPLUS

So yes, one day of super binging CAN derail you. Facts our facts. No fake news here. The key is to not let it if it happens. Yes, you will have a setback – but this is not the end of the world. It is what it is…and frankly it’s called being a human.

The mistake most make is they beat themselves up over this weight gain. They feel guilt, shame, and disappointment – and eventually, just give up. That is where the mistake lies. Not in the one-day bender for America – but giving up BECAUSE of the one-day bender.

If you put yourself in the right mental mindset, you can get over this mental hump and just keep fighting forward – great! It happened, now just move on. Don’t vent about it on social media, don’t cry about it to your spouse – just move on.

Now how can we minimize the potential for that one-day bender causing a setback?

Be Active

Get a workout in. A hard one. A heavy one. You know you will be eating like a patriot on July 5th, 1776 later today, so make room for all that fuel. I love doing heavy leg days or strongman type workouts on holidays.

I like this one for today:

  • Farmer Carry
  • Sled Push
  • Clean to Press
  • Sled Pull

I will use bodyweight for farmer carries and double bodyweight on the sled. 6 rounds sound fun.

Also – go for walks after meals. Don’t just sit around in a coma all day. Just move.

Prolong Fasting

If you know you are grilling out around noon, maybe have a light breakfast or skip it altogether ( not recommended if you are doing the above recommendation of training hard). There is nothing wrong about prolonging your fast from the night. Some might say this encourages eating disorder like behavior – which in some it might – so know your mind and body – BUT for many, this is just a biological tactic that humans have been doing unintentionally forever up until the current century.

The other tactic is prolonging the fast the day after.

If you wake up tomorrow still full from today, here’s a newsflash – you don’t need to eat. Listen to your body. Again – for some, this might trigger eating disorder like behavior, but for many, this is just called mindful or intuitive eating. Don’t eat unless you are hungry is a simple, but a very challenging thing to master.

Keep it Normal as Possible

Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you NEED to pig out. I know, crazy idea!

The fact is, you can enjoy the celebrations and the company of others without pigging out. There is nothing that says you need to change a thing with your diet.

But I am also here to reinforce the bigger picture.

Yes – one day CAN derail you. But you don’t need to let it. If you want to enjoy 4 brats and 12 beers – go for it. Just own your decision and own the result, and move on. We could sit around and blame others for why we pigged out on a holiday and how we have no clue why our weight went up, but that’s lying to ourselves.

Enjoy the day how ever the heck you want to – if you choose to take a day off, sit around, and pig out – awesome! If not, awesome! Just remember it’s your decision and your decision alone.

 

Happy 4th America!

 

 

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Stay healthy my friends,