How to Avoid Gaining A Million Pounds on Thanksgiving

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Okay, okay a million is a little dramatic, but gaining weight and binging on Thanksgiving is accurate.

Believe me, I get it. I come from a long line of people who know how to cook and are incredibly passionate about good food.

Going home for Thanksgiving is like entering Disneyland for my belly. Every single dish is incredible and since I’m an only child there is always an over-abundance of leftovers since we end up cooking for a family of 8 (easily).

Needless to say, there’s no way I could sit here and just say, “Eat less!” as I’ve seen a handful of trainers online say. Eat less? Are you kidding? Have you tried a homemade raspberry and peach pie? GTFO.

Also, keep in mind that gaining a pound or two will not destroy your life. I’ve always felt that enjoying food and time with family is always more important than depriving yourself. Unless you’re prepping for a contest, that’s a whole different situation.

Thankfully, there are ways you can help your body prepare for the calories you’re about to eat. Supposedly, the average person eats around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, if that gives you any idea.

Here are two, right off the bat from Jim Stoppani, and then we’ll dive into the rest.

1. Cut your carbs early in the week.

2. Try intermittent fasting.

3. Make things from scratch.

Even looking at MyFitness pal at the difference between a homemade and a store bought pie shows a difference of 30 calories. While that may not seem like a lot, that can add up over the course of an entire day (let’s be real: an entire weekend) of eating.

Also, that’s just a generic example. Maybe instead of apple pie you make a different type of pie: a list of the different types of pies and calories.

Out of all the dishes, I read that the green bean casserole actually has some of the most calories out of all the traditional Thanksgiving options, so maybe you switch that for something else.

4. Keep exercising.

This is the big thing that people overlook. They completely quit exercising for the year and swear to start up again in the new year.

If you’ve already decided to binge over the holiday, just decide to start bulking for the season and lift heavy enough to where you actually make that happen. Some tips: read on.

Go hiking. Go snowboarding. Lift weights. Play some football with your family. Keep active don’t just sit on the couch. Take advantage of how empty the gym is during November and December.

5. Drink more water.

I know, this sounds simple. Also, please note I do not mean drink more alcohol, I mean drink actual water. When you work on drinking enough water between rounds of food, you’ll feel full. This, coupled with taking the time to chew your food and eat slower, will prevent that painful oops-I-binged stomach pain.

Keep it simple! Don’t complicate this, and most of all don’t beat yourself up if you binge hard. Spending time with family and finding ways to give back to the world this holiday season is way more important than anything else.

Also, in case I don’t say it enough, thank you for reading this article or any articles I’ve ever written. It means a lot and I am incredibly grateful.

Should You Count Macros? A Beginner’s Guide to IIFYM

If you’ve been around the fitness side of the internet for any length of time, you’ve heard of macro counting, also called IIFYM (if it fits your macros).

Once you know how it works, it’s not too hard to follow. The biggest thing is finding the right numbers for your body and your goals, which we’ll cover.

What are macros?

Macros are:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Protein

These are the three major macronutrients (“macros”) your body needs.

Every food label has these counted on the package, and the general premise of IIFYM is that you have a daily allowance of carbs, fats, and proteins that you must hit every single day.

1 gram of carbs = 4 calories.
1 gram of fat = 9 calories.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories.

When you have the right number of macros for your body, it equals the right number of calories for your current goal (weight loss, maintenance, muscle gain).

Let’s just cut right to the chase:

Does macro counting work?

Yes and no. (Helpful answer, I know.) I’ll explain.

We’ll talk about the problems first:

  1. Labels aren’t always correct.
    Calorie counts on food can be off by 20%. 20%! The FDA also doesn’t check the accuracy of food labels before they are sold to you. You could be consuming two hundred extra calories (or more) that you didn’t even know you were eating. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that on average, packaged food contained 8% more calories than their label claimed, and restaurant meals were closer to 18% more (You can read more: here). So, this means you could count your macros perfectly every day and still be baffled on why you aren’t getting the results you want.
  2. The apps that track macros can be wrong.
    I’ve tried MyFitnessPal a lot and it doesn’t want to play nice. If you make your own food and don’t eat packaged foods for every meal, expect it to be slightly off compared to if you figured it out yourself.
    Plus, if you have any food allergies (I do), the data on these apps for substitutions will drive you nuts.
  3. People quit too early.
    If you want to try macro counting, you need to stick with it for at least two weeks if not longer. Too many people try it for a week, don’t lose weight, and quit. Plus, sometimes you picked macro numbers that aren’t right.
  4. Macro counting does not consider other health factors.
    This is the biggest personal problem I have with IIFYM. People eat fast food because “It’s in my macros, bro!”, but here’s an article from a professor at Harvard University about why processed food makes us fatter. Yes, of course it’s mostly calories in vs. calories out, but I’m not going to pretend like all processed foods are just wonderful.
    There may not be enough studies for the internet science nerds who barely even lift, but I’ll continue eating organic forever even if other people find it a waste of money.
    If you have thyroid issues, metabolism problems, needing to avoid salt, prefer to eat less sugar, or just don’t want to eat a bunch of processed shit food, you can still count macros but just know you have to figure those other things out yourself.
    Also, if you’re a 24/7 ball of stress (like I can be with a huge deadline for work), that absolutely throws everything to shit. Stress/anxiety/depression/sleep deprivation all completely throw off important factors in your body that can negatively impact your results.
  5. Macro counting does not account for micronutrients.
    I always have used the analogy that macros are like a car: it’s the whole shell, the seats, the great color, basically the whole external part. Then, micronutrients are like the gas and the oil in that car. You can drive on almost empty for both of those, but the damage will catch up with you.
    Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive.
    These are not counted in a macro-counting diet. That’s why I think so many of these “fitness professionals” suffer endlessly from fatigue, soreness, bad moods, inflammation, and a long list of other issues, because their cars are running on empty.

Now that you know some of the major problems, here are some reasons you might want to try macro counting:

Balanced dieting

When we just count calories (the common weight-loss approach), there’s no determination on where we specifically get those calories. Getting all your calories from carbs in a day is much, much different than getting a balance from protein, fats, and carbs.

So, macro counting helps you get those calories from the three most essential areas.

I know, I know, everyone always says it’s simply calories in vs calories out, but if you want a much longer post on why that’s not always accurate, here you go.

Essentially, your lifestyle has more to do with your calories than you think. This is why Michael Phelps eats thousands and thousands of calories a day but he’s not morbidly obese whereas the rest of us eat a few extra hundred calories here and there and see it in our bodies.

However, most of us sit for the entire day (whether we want to admit it or not), so we’ll assume that our macros fit within the average recommendation.

How many macros do you need?

This is a complicated answer. Through years of testing, the best thing I have found is to simply experiment with your own diet.

I know, that’s a super frustrating answer, but every time I’ve tried someone’s “set” macros, they don’t work well and I wouldn’t want to just tell you some numbers and you take them as the only possible numbers.

Macros can change depending on your activity level, metabolic type, body fat percentage, goals, and personal preference.

Mentioning metabolic type, there’s a book called the Metabolic Typing Diet that’s absolutely fascinating around the idea that our diet today is heavily influenced by where our ancestors came from. In today’s modern world, we can eat food from a grocery store that comes from anywhere on the planet whereas our ancestors could only eat locally. Depending on where they lived, his claim is that we have a certain preference toward certain diets.

That’s just a side note, and not something you need to know to count macros, but if you’re determined to learn, it’s worth a read.

But generally this is a decent macro break down, or at least somewhere to start:

1 gram of protein per pound (although I gained size eating less than that).
0.5 gram of fat per pound.
0.5 – 2 grams of carbs per pound.

Of course, there’s so many people out there who get shredded and look great on a completely different set of numbers.

Some people go completely zero carb, some have high carb, some have low or high fat, etc.

If something isn’t working for a week or two, change the numbers, especially in the fat or carb section (going low protein isn’t really helpful), but be sure to do one at a time. Don’t just drop both fats and carbs from your diet.

The BIGGEST Tip

It’s not sexy or fun like a cool app, but I highly, highly highly recommend keeping a food journal.

Just go to the store and get one of those cheap, big notebooks like you used in school.

It’s annoying at first, but after a few days you’ll be able to see your health from a larger picture.

Instead of just writing what you ate and your macros each day, also track things such as:

  • How you feel
  • How much sleep you had
  • How each meal makes you feel (your mood, your digestion, etc)
  • Your focus
  • Your productivity and energy
  • How stressed you feel throughout the day

Of course, you don’t have to track all of those categories, but I do and it’s been the biggest lightbulb.

For example, I thought I functioned better with higher carbs, but I realized through my tracking that I was always much happier and way more productive with a protein and veggie lunch. I’m also not such a raging bitch when I actually make the time to have a huge breakfast, not just a light meal or skipping it all together. It seems obvious when I write it out, but when you’re so focused on other things it’s not always that obvious.

I learned my natural flow of energy and what my body preferred to eat at certain times of the day, what foods were not working, what foods were working, how much sleep I needed each day, and I’m sure there’s still so much to learn as I keep this up.

I just quit my macro counting apps and switched to paper a few months ago, but it’s been the best tool yet.

If you have any macro counting tips or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Also, SUBSCRIBE, because I share tips and give free downloads for making your fitness journey easier.

Vita Jym Review – Should You Take Multivitamins?

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Only one in ten Americans eat enough fruits and veggies.

Of course, this isn’t shocking to anyone, but the problem is that by not eating enough, we deprive our bodies of the essential nutrients we need. Also, so many people in the fitness industry are constantly pushing macro nutrients (IIFYM – protein, carbs, fats) while completely ignoring the micronutrients.

If you want to know the science, you can read the study on why micronutrients are completely essential, here. The main point to know is that micronutrients play an essential role in almost every single thing our body needs to do. Although that study did conclude that there needs to be more research done if micronutrients play an essential role in fighting disease, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will 100% be the case.

I avoided taking multivitamins for years because they always made me nauseous, but when I heard Jim Stoppani was releasing a multivitamin, I had to order it and see how it worked for me.

If you’re looking for the fast answer to the question: I will never go back to another multivitamin.

That usual nauseous feeling from multi-vitamins? Yeah, these don’t have that.

Vita JYM is missing quite a few micronutrients (zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D). The reason for this is simple: these interfere with other micronutrients in a standard multivitamin. You can read the complex science behind that: here. When you have a multivitamin that includes everything, you’re not absorbing everything because some are canceling out in your digestive system. Essentially, most multivitamins are a waste of money and they also are depriving your body of what it needs.

Don’t worry, though. He has a simple plan if you read that article above on how you can fit in your other micronutrients that he has taken out so you have a full and complete system.

Sure, it’s time-consuming to have to take multiple vitamins throughout the day to get them all in, but it’s better than taking a vitamin where you’re not even absorbing most of the micronutrients you need.

Although so-called “experts” keep claiming that vitamins are a waste of money, I would bet that a lot of these vitamins lose their power due to the other BS in them that cancels out the benefits.

Vita Jym is the best vitamin on the market that I can find, and believe me when I say I’ve spent years looking for a quality vitamin.

You can find Vita JYM at Amazon: here.*

 

*WritersLiftToo.com is a member of the Amazon Affiliate program.

5 Tips for Eating Healthy on A Budget

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“Healthy food is so expensive!”

We’ve all heard that or been guilty of saying that, haven’t we?

The thing is, it’s not always true.

People look at stores like Whole Foods, a store that recently got in trouble for overcharging customers, and think they can’t afford to eat well.

Sure, Ramen is insanely cheap, but have you seen the price of things like McDonald’s recently? In 2005, a Big Mac was $3.06 and in 2012 it was $4.45. Are they insane?

(Also, I know, I know, economics/inflation, etc., but roll with my point.)

That doesn’t mean eating healthy is always cheap, either. However, there are tricks here and there to eating well and also saving money.

Here are 5 of my favorite tips right now:

  1. Ripe vegetables and fruit.

There are quite a few stores here in my city that offer discounted fruits and veggies (even organic!) when they’re fully ripe and only have a limited amount of shelf days left.

Instead of throwing them away, there are a few stores that discount them to get rid of them. People are so weird when they hear this because they think it means it’s like moldy and full of bugs or something. It’s just ripe. Chill, weirdos.

2. Specialty stores.

I just discovered this secret recently, but I am OBSESSED with small, specialty grocery stores. I have spent a ridiculous amount of money at this Asian market just a few blocks from my house.

Compared to the bigger stores, this small store has rice for a FOURTH of the price. I eat an insane amount of rice, so I am in all kinds of heaven. They also have boxes that contain hundreds of tea bags for just $3. IT IS HEAVEN.

Don’t be scared to try stores that you haven’t been in before.

3. Buying in bulk.

When most people think of bulk, they only think of stores like Costco. While I’m wildly in love with Costco, I also have learned that a lot of stores sell items in HUGE quantities through their online options. Which leads to point #4:

4. Online shopping.

You guys, there is SO MUCH cheap, healthy food online. There are so many stores that want to get customers hooked on their online shopping option that discounts are basically everywhere. Plus, having food delivered is awesome, let’s keep it real.

5. Meals that make a lot of servings.

Going back to my earlier point, I love rice. I have a rice cooker that pretty much makes everything heaven. Cooking a whole batch makes about five meals for the next few days.

Any healthy meal options that are just single serving is a quick way to blow through your food budget if you need to save money.

 

Excuses are for suckers. Don’t let expensive food get in the way of your goals. Hack the system and make it happen.