7 WAYS YOUR SOCIAL LIFE COULD BE SABOTAGING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS
Life is about balance. You’ve stuck to healthy eating all week, trained hard and you’re feeling good – it’s time to treat yourself. At Protein World, we’re firm supporters of indulging every now and again, whether it’s a night out with friends, a romantic dinner date at our favourite restaurant or a takeaway in front of the TV.
However, we all know how easy it is to go from a “balanced lifestyle” being a brownie for dessert at lunch with a work colleague, to a “balanced lifestyle” being a brownie as a reward after every time you work out.
We’ve pulled together seven ways you could be sabotaging your weight-loss goals through being social.
1. Costa Calories
There’s no harm in grabbing a black Americano on the move. In fact, studies have shown that caffeine actually helps with alertness, reduces fatigue and increases fat metabolism. However, if you’re following every weekend workout by a trip to your favourite coffee shop to order your “usual” of a hot chocolate with a blueberry muffin, you could be undoing all the hard work you’ve just done. A medium Costa hot chocolate, without cream or marshmallows, is 235 calories. Team that with a muffin, 452 calories, and you’ve consumed almost half your RDA in one sitting.
Expert Tip: If you have to head out, stick to one or the other, there really isn’t a need for both. Alternatively, take your post-workout treat home and make something that will be cheaper, more nutritious and there’s no time limit on how long you can be there!
2. Fitness Fails
We hate to say it, but just because something says it’s “healthy”, doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Multiple gyms and health food places might offer a free protein shake or post-workout smoothie, but without you knowing what’s going into it, you have no idea how many calories you could be consuming. Many protein shakes have hidden sugars in them, causing spikes in appetites but leaving you hungry shortly after, and smoothies can be packed full of calories and sugars, natural or not. Neither are going to help with any weight loss goals.
Expert Tip: Do your research! If you’re at a gym, ask them what protein shake they use and google it – you’ll be able to find out nutritional values fairly quickly. Our Slender Blend only has 6g sugar and all flavours are under 150 calories, so there’s no need to worry with ours. With smoothies, swap out additional calories, such as frozen yoghurt for almond milk, and bananas for berries.
3. Supermarket Savvy
The supermarket; the place that dreams and, unfortunately, nightmares can be made of. If you meal prep, write a shopping list before you go, avoid the end aisle deals and promise yourself one treat, you’re on to a winner. If you go when you’re hungry, pick up a bunch of “protein-filled” ready meals and go mad for the BOGOF Oreo offer you’re doomed. Although there are some great, healthy ready meals out there, a home-cooked dish is always going to be the better option as you control exactly what goes into it. This could mean a pinch of salt instead of a spoonful, a knob of butter over half a stick or no sugar instead of half a bag! It also allows you to be more experimental with your flavours.
Expert Tip: Go prepared! The worst thing you can do is go into a supermarket hungry, as this makes you 1) grab more than usual and 2) go for the worst options. Go in with your list, get what you need and leave. It’ll save pounds in the wallet and lbs off the waistline.
4. Working Woes
For those with office jobs, it’s not uncommon to spend 80% of the working day sitting down, and the other 20% is spent walking to the toilet, to public transport or nipping out to grab lunch. It’s also the prime place for office treats and, let’s be honest, no one wants to gossip around a fruit bowl when there’s Krispy Kreme’s to eat. The worst thing is the fact that the moment on person starts talking about food, everyone starts talking about food, and then it’s all you can think about until your next meal or snack.
Expert Tip: Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. Regulating your blood sugars throughout the day will help curb any unnecessary cravings. Ensure you have two meals – breakfast and lunch – and two snacks prepared for the day. Main meals high in protein and fibres and snacks such as almonds, greek yoghurt, apple and peanut butter, will keep you fuller for longer
5. Rest Day Ravishings
Unfortunately, even if we’ve worked out three days in a row and take a well-earned rest day, it doesn’t mean our diet can take a rest day too. In fact, it’s even more important to eat well on the days that we’re not training, as we’re not expelling any of the calories we’re consuming, so any extra treats are going to stick around for the long-run. If you’re following a meal plan, stick to this on your rest day and remember, for nutrition consistence is key.
Expert Tip: An easy way to avoid over-eating on rest days is to up protein and try to cut out any refined carbohydrates. Rest days also don’t have to mean that you can’t move for 24 hours, adding LISS will help keep you active without over-exertion.
6. Dating DisastersFirst date nerves teamed with a blasé “you pick the restaurant” text can lead you down a road of the unknown, and can result in some bad choices. Team a shared starter with an order of (even the most basic) burger and chips at GBK, washed down with a couple of glasses of wine or bottles of beers and you’ve sunk your RDA in one sitting. Alcohol, in terms of weight loss goals, is one of the biggest negative impacts on nutrition and fitness, so try to avoid, or limit, this as much as possible.
Expert Tip: Be bold! Suggest a restaurant which offers both good and bad options, to allow your date the variety but to keep you safe in the knowledge that you can order something good, and treat yourself to a beverage too! Also, you never know, the date might quite like the assertive dominance…
7. Drinking Dilemmas
The previous point leads nicely onto this one. Whether it’s a couple of bevvies to calm first date nerves, or a night “out out”, the throbbing hangover the next day can lead to some risky decisions. Cocktails and beer are the worst offender’s calorie wise, so try to stick to spirits and light mixer wherever possible. Although if we take into account the cheesy chips at 3am, full English for lunch (because no one gets up for breakfast), a Gregg’s sausage roll after your afternoon nap and a Dominoes’ for dinner the day after, nothing is going to save your waistline. The calories are so horrifying we’re not even going to dignify them with internet space.
Expert Tip: The most accurate tip would be don’t drink that much, but that’s obvious. Although this won’t help food choices, try to alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water to avoid dehydration. Before you go out, avoid refined carbs and high fat meals and remember, before your body metabolises any food post session, it has to metabolises the alcohol, so all the fat you intake will automatically be stored as fat. Bad times all round.