Meredith and I decided to do the Advocare 10-day cleanse together at the beginning of November. Meredith thought this would be an ideal time because there wasn’t going to be much going on (no rehearsals, no parties, etc.). This would be a time that she could be completely in control.
Of course, ask any mother of a toddler and you learn that as much as you’d like everything to be in your control, it’s not. A few days into the cleanse, Meredith felt frustrated with the whole thing and said, “I thought this was going to be the best time to do this cleanse but I’m stressed out with the baby and everything else going on.” And here’s the thing, y’all: THERE WILL NEVER BE A BEST TIME TO MAKE A LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Life will ALWAYS get in the way. As Meredith would soon learn, when it comes to managing weight loss with a hectic lifestyle, planning ahead is the biggest tool you’ll need in your weight management toolbox.
There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to weight loss that says you should stay on track 90% of the week so that you can enjoy treats 10% of the week. The idea is that this will keep you from feeling deprived. But if you don’t plan ahead for that 10%, it can EASILY become 50% without you even noticing.
After Meredith got over the initial hump of “this cleanse is freaking hard”, she amazed me by how much she stuck to it by planning ahead. Here are a few things she did that you can do to stay on track (YES, even during the busy holiday season!):
When you are in the comfort of your own environment:
- Spend some time on Sunday (or a day of your choice but the same day each week so it becomes a habit) planning out meals for the week so you have an airtight grocery list (vs a loose list that allows you to go rogue in the store). Meredith found a ton of great recipes on Pinterest which prompted me to start a Clean Eating board! You can do the same!
- Prep/make breakfasts, lunches and dinners ahead of time so you’ve got meals ready to eat. This won’t work for every recipe but you can always make steel cut oats, chili, soups, quinoa, roasted chicken, etc. ahead of time so you can’t say, “Darn, I don’t have time to make that pesky quinoa that takes 25 minutes. Guess I’ll have to order Chinese food.” Then when you have time to make dinner the night of, you’ve got other options.
- Literally write down what food you’re going to have on what day. This sounds so strict but this will give you a better idea of what your week in food will look like which will help you plan for your 10%. Of course you can swap out a good meal for another good meal but the point of this exercise is to keep you from swapping a good meal with a terrible one.
THEN, PLAN FOR YOUR 10%!! Here’s an example of how to do it:
Meredith ended up hosting a huge BBQ for friends a week into our cleanse. It would have been so easy for her to give in and eat burgers, hot dogs, chips and drink tons of beer but she didn’t. She made some cleanse-friendly food for the party in addition to the BBQ. Then she decided ahead of time exactly how much she was going to drink. Instead of hosting this party and letting herself be a victim of decadence, losing track of how much she was eating and drinking (because let’s face it, it’s so easy to lose track), Meredith gave herself the power to make smart decisions so she could enjoy her indulgences guilt-free. And here’s the beauty of all of this: Meredith had something to look forward to as she was planning ahead so it made staying on track during the week easier.
So what if you’re NOT in the comforts of your own home? In addition to the tips I gave you last year, here are some ideas to help you out:
- Ask the host if there’s anything you can bring (a healthy side dish or dessert, for example). You can’t tell the host what to serve but you can contribute a healthy dish to the menu.
- Let portion control be your best friend. Even though you have no say as to what is being served, you are the one in charge of how much you’re putting in your mouth. Follow the Precision Nutrition portion guide as much as you can! It’s so handy (no pun intended), it’ll help you stay on track and keep you from calorie uber-overload.
- CHEW, CHEW AND CHEW SOME MORE. Slower eating = less consumption, studies show.
- If you’re going to an event or dinner with someone and feel comfortable enough, ask that friend to keep you accountable (ex. “Hey, friend, can you make sure I don’t drink more than two glasses of wine?” or “Can you make sure I put some food on a plate and step away from the appetizer table for the rest of the night?”).
- This may sound silly but before you go to that party/event/dinner, think of some topics to talk about with people. Having conversation ideas ahead of time should keep you from going to the bar/dessert table for comfort. You can be the life of the party without needing a calorie-laden prop in your hand.
The number one thing you can do to totally help you out for the rest of the holiday season in conjunction with watching what you eat and drink: BE ACTIVE! It’s too easy to let the stresses of the holidays overwhelm you and keep you from getting it done. We are ALL overscheduled and crazy busy but if Meredith can make the time to work out 4-5 times every week AND meal plan ahead of time, YOU CAN, TOO! It can be as easy as taking some walks, going for a jog or hitting the gym. If you’re out of town and looking for a gym, check out this site!
Friends: the easiest pound to lose is the one you never gained in the first place. Try out these ideas to stave off those holiday pounds.
SO: What did all of that hard work get Meredith theses last 6 weeks? 6 MORE POUNDS OFF HER BODY! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!