Everyone loves their “treats”. No matter what those “treats” are.
Some have a sweet tooth, others prefer the salts.
Bacon, cakes, ice cream………..whatever your vice may be.
Perhaps you prefer a few cocktails on a Saturday night. To each their own.
Don’t let the weekends derail your progress – but if you don’t enjoy your weekends, then what exactly is the point of bettering your health? If we can’t have fun – and still make progress – the point of progressing is rather moot, don’t you think?
So, you begin macro counting, you’re doing your thing, and you want to have a “treat” – and that “treat” can’t fit into your daily numbers.
A commonly asked question is “Can I still drink on this plan?” The direct answer to this question is certainly “Yes”. But there are a few caveats.
If you want to drink daily and often, we won’t bullshit you – the odds you’re going to have the progress you are looking for dwindle a bit. This is relative to your caloric maintenance as well.
The primary driver of fat loss is calories. It’s easily in the top spot as far as things you should worry about while trying to shed the fluff. And if calories are “Batman”, then your macros are certainly “Robin”.
So, you’re doing your thing, hitting your macros, and Saturday night rolls around. And you want to drink. And you want to continue to progress properly. So, we need to find a way to fit your drinks into your schedule.
We generally tell clients to have a drink or two per week and not worry about it. It’s the big picture, ya know? A drink is likely a few hundred calories, and it won’t really affect all too much. But will it slow down your progress a bit? Yup. No doubt about it.
So, how do we shave off enough calories via our macros? For a guy like me, it’s rather simple.
I have a maintenance of >3k calories. On a Saturday, I eat around 2,200 or 2,300 calories when cutting. I can shave 400 calories off easily – and I often do. My current macros allow for 100 grams of carbs on Saturdays. I generally get those carbs via fruit. I just skip my fruit on that one day and have a few drinks. A shot of unflavored liquor (tequila, scotch, and whiskey are favorites) is around 60-70 calories. Which means I can have 6-7 shots on a Saturday night if I utilize this trick – and I’m right on schedule come weigh-in time on Monday morning.
But not everyone can use this same trick. This is ESPECIALLY true for the one demographic which struggles MIGHTILY to lose fat properly – the petite female.
Shorter females get absolutely screwed in the dieting game. We have some clients, generally short females, with maintenances as low as 1,400 calories. So, they may be around 1,100 calories of consumption on a rest day, which Saturdays generally are.
It’s NEVER advisable to lower your 1,100 calories by 400…………700 calories in a day? Unhealthy, regardless of maintenance.
So, what should they do? Or rather, what should YOU do if this situation describes your current macro plan?
It’s important to know and understand that your body composition is a reflection of your intake in regards to your consumption – but never view it as one day in isolation. Your body composition is more a reflection of your overall intake. You can certainly eat more on any given day – as long as you account for it on other days. In short, it often helps to view your intake in terms of weeks instead of days.
Let’s say you’re going to dine out on a Saturday. And you’re going to eat Mexican with friends. You want some chips and salsa and a few margaritas. Which aren’t the best choices when dieting – both are rather calorie laden. But to each their own. Gotta live a little. Right?
Here’s how this works:
Devise a plan – and make an estimation. You’re gonna get the chips and salsa. And two margaritas. Firstly, get the margaritas frozen. The ice will fill you up more. Estimate the calories consumed between the two. I’d guess 700, to be safe. Probably on the high end, but we are trying to stay on track here.
Now, instead of lowering your calories by 700 on Saturday, which would make your weekend VERY low calorie-wise, simply spread those 700 calories out over the next week.
You’re looking at 100 calories per day. So, here are your options: Shave 25 protein grams OR 25 carbohydrate grams OR 10 fat grams off of each day. It’s your choice. I would recommend shaving the carbs off of training days or the fat off of rest days – since they are in more abundance on those days.
Both 25 protein grams or 25 carb grams equal 100 calories (25 grams x 4 calories per gram each).
10 fat grams equal 90 calories (10 grams x 9 calories each) – not exactly 100, but close enough. Besides, how can you shave off “11.1 grams” – which is the actual, exact amount?
Doing this will right the ship for your overall, weekly consumption – and will likely make that scale read exactly what you want it to read come Monday morning.
A few caveats –
1. Don’t shave off any more than 25 grams of protein. The 25 grams of protein will likely put your protein consumption on the lower end of your recommended intake. It’s advisable to take away from fat and/or carbs. But it might not always be completely applicable.
2. Don’t make it an all-night booze fest. A few drinks to account for is fine. But if you use this as an excuse to smash a handle of Captain Morgan, you won’t still be on track, obviously.
3. Understand your temptations. Alcohol’s biggest issue is that it lowers inhibitions. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself littered among pizza boxes with a wicked hangover the next day.
4. Stay hydrated. The “munchies” you get when drinking can become more profound the longer you drink – and the more dehydrated you become. It’s actually thirst, not hunger. Mix in sips of water with your sips of Jose.
5. Watch out for problem behaviors. Utilizing this too often can cause nasty cycles and rationalizations for bad behavior. Don’t get into a “binge-and-fast” cycle. You don’t want to start down the path of eating very little to justifying weekend binges.
But if you can remain calm, keep a level head, and enjoy yourself in moderation – there’s no reason your weekend has to derail your weekdays.
Hopefully you find this strategy useful. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to have your cake (or booze) and eat it (or drink it), too.
Yours in true health,