This is the time of year when you’re invited to a plethora of gatherings; company holiday parties, Pollyanna exchanges with friends, and New Years celebrations. It’s also the time of year when ridiculous amounts of sweets seem to just pile up around you like you’re a sugar magnet (wouldn’t that be nice). Sticking to any semblance of a plan, nutritionally, seems impossible. And you all know how I feel about building systems into your life and being consistent.
Why is it so hard to stick to your plan, you ask? Because Christmas cookies are at every turn; at work and at home. For instance you’re going to a nice bar after work with tons of free food and an open bar for the holiday party, then you’re going over a friend’s house for a holiday brunch this weekend and you know Susan is going to make that ridiculous French toast bake you love so much. You know, the one with the cinnamon sugar on top and that glaze. Oh, that glaze.
With all of these delicious events and opportunities, it can be very easy to go overboard with the calories. We are all familiar with the concept of daily calorie intake – the number of calories you need to consume to maintain, drop, or gain weight. The trouble is, it’s tough to know the exact amount of calories you need personally to meet your specific goals on a daily level. Really, it’s just an educated guess at what you need. And, with all the fun things happening all around us this time of year, sticking to that day-to-day doable but takes some of the fun out of things. That’s why I want to bring up a concept that isn’t new but I don’t think is talked about a lot. Instead of focusing on daily calorie intact, I want you to look at weekly calories.
Let’s say I am to consume 2,000 calories per day to maintain my current weight. Over the course of a week, that adds up to 14,000 calories. So, let’s say Jan is having her huge annual Holiday Bash this Saturday. But, the company is having a happy hour Friday and then I’m supposed to go to my parents Sunday for brunch. Also, mom cooks for a football team even though it’s just me at home for the day. And when mom cooks, I eat…because it’s good. Really good.
Using this scenario, I have 3 days in a row where I want to enjoy the bevy of foods and cocktails that abound. Here’s I would set up my week so I can indulge and not have to worry:
Monday: 1,500 calories
Tuesday: 1,200 calories
Wednesday: 1,500 calories
Thursday: 1,200 calories
Friday: 3,000 calories
Saturday: 3,600 calories
Sunday: 2,000 calories
Weekly Total: 14,000 calories
This is actually the way I eat year round. I’ll eat fewer calories during the week to take advantage of maximum body fat burning potential while maintaining my current muscle mass. This frees up the weekends for me to let loose and go out with friends while enjoying all the yummy treats, and not worry about calories as much. It is super effective this time of year as well because of all the parties and temptation to eat everything in sight. Utilizing a weekly calorie intake vs. a daily calorie intake gives the flexibility to improve or maintain your body composition while having some holiday cheer. Who doesn’t want that? Additionally, this form a tracking calories, I feel, makes it easier to sustain because you have built in room for fun. It very easily allows you to develop a lifestyle (you know, that thing I keep talking about) around tracking your calories.
Here, and here, and here are some websites you can use to calculate your daily calorie intake. Just multiply that number by 7 and you’ll have your weekly calories that you can distribute however you feel. If you like this concept, share it with your friends and family.
Now, I’m off to down some more cookies.