A few years ago, 2 of my coworkers and I started a pretty intense diet and fitness plan. We started at the beginning of the year and basically did a low calorie, low carb diet along with lots of strength training and cardio. We were super on top of it, and in only 4 weeks were already seeing great results. It felt great!
Then the Superbowl happened.
I mean, I knew it was coming. My hubby (then boyfriend) and I started planning weeks in advance to eat a lot, and it basically became our own little junk food Thanksgiving. It also gave me something to look forward to when my hardcore diet became too difficult. So of course, I was just going to pig out for that ONE day then go back to my diet. Right?
I totally failed. We had enough pizza, wings, and alcohol to feed like 10 people – and I basically gorged my face out. When Monday rolled around, I found myself totally unmotivated to work out or eat right. Then that just continued through the week and so on. I gained back the 5 pounds I lost, lost the definition I had gained in my body, and also lost all motivation.
In hindsight, I don’t regret the meal. I loved the food and I had a great time. However, here are 3 things I would have done differently:
1. Tracked the calories I ate, and planned how to work them off
It sucks to track calories when you eat bad stuff. However, this might be the best time to track them so that you know what you need to do to undo the damage. If I had to guess, I would say I took in about 1500 calories (yep in one sitting). That may come down to:
- 3 extra 30 minute sessions of running that week – about 1100 calories total
- Walking to and from work 3 days that week (30 minute walk each way at a moderate pace)– about 400 calories total
- Keep doing my strength training routine so I don’t lose muscle with all the cardio
And like that I could have pretty much dug myself out of the hole without losing my previous progress.
2. Had cheat days during my diet
I think it’s quite possible that I would not have eaten half of a large pizza if I treated myself during my diet/workout period. I could have opted for a thin crust veggie one day (just under 500 calories in 2 slices) and a few wings another week (just under 500 calories in 6 wings). And I wouldn’t have to work as hard that following week.
3. Set a solid end goal
I never really established when I would return to a normal life of not working out like crazy and eating like a normal person (because life without carbs just isn’t life at all). The Super Bowl itself was probably a horrible end goal since I ate all of those calories and needed to work them off to not compromise my progress. It could have been a month or even a week after the Super Bowl. In the case of weight loss and dieting, finishing strong is just as important as starting.
Notice what is not included as something I would have done differently: eating healthier on Super Bowl Day. Sure, I could have cut calories by eating thin crust with no pepperoni or forced myself to eat less – and normally that’s what I would encourage. However, there are times where you simply want to enjoy yourself, and the Super Bowl was that for me.
So as you go into this Sunday (or maybe you’re reading this after the fact and full of regret for past decisions), think about what you can do to avoid compromising any weight loss or fitness successes you’ve had. Or, if you’re thinking of starting a new fitness goal, think about how you’re going to start it if you eat or drink heavy on game day.
As for me, my Sunday will most likely consist of pizza and the following week days will consist of lots of cardio.