I work out every day except on weekends, since they’re reserved for family. Can you suggest a way I can balance both my fitness, diet and my family?
First, workout or no workout, sensible eating is mandatory. It’s natural to want to enjoy your weekend with the family with your favourite foods. So go ahead and do that. However, following the 80/20 rule is much more sensible. For those unaware, 80/20 refers to eating a ‘clean’ diet 80 per cent of the time and enjoying a few indulgences 20 per cent of the time.
But before you enjoy your planned cheat meal, keep these points in mind:
Take a cheat meal, not a cheat day: It’s easy to undo the hard work done in the week by overeating just one day. I always tell my clients to take the last meal as the cheat meal. This is because the high carb or sugar meals will make you hungry quickly after the meal and you will crave more sugar and junk. But because it is your last meal of the day, it is unlikely you will give in to your cravings.
Intermittent fasting: Save your calories for the meal. You can intermittently fast and eliminate a meal before you go for a cheat meal. Usually breakfast is the easiest meal to skip. Another option is having a bulletproof coffee on the weekend morning and hitting the gym. This way, the first major meal happens during lunch time.
Prioritising proteins: Eat proteins first rather than carbs. You are more likely to gorge on the latter especially if you’re hungry. Having protein (and fats) first will also create a less-drastic insulin spike when you eat your carbs. So fill yourself with proteins, have carbs just for taste.
Portion control: Eat in moderation. This will be even easier if you prioritise proteins. Have generous portions of vegetables and salads along with meals. This will again fill you up for lesser intake of calorie-dense foods.
HIIT: You can also try doing a 10-20 minute high-intensity interval training workout on the cheat day. This can be sprints or home-based bodyweight training. While making you more insulin sensitive and less likely to store carbs for fats during meals, this also creates an extra calorie expenditure for the day.
Lastly, adopt fitness as a lifestyle and not something that is forced on you.
Abhinav Malhotra is a sports nutritionist, exercise referral and lower back specialist. He is a master trainer AT Fitness First. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.