Well my fellow, loyal, Gone Liftin’ readers, the holiday season is right around the corner… we all know what THAT means!! Turkey – stuffing – gravy – corn – butter – HEAVEN!! With the holiday season, regardless how strict and dedicated you think you are, you WILL break. This isn’t a bad thing or something that you should dwell over, too much. But rather, embrace the fact that the chances of overeating are high, and that likely you will have a caveman-like feast, where the only thing standing between you and your food is a proper, clean, eating utensil. Don’t sweat it, iron cowboy. It’s all good, and it’s expected that the holiday season will present some “unfavorable” food choices. It’s ok – rest easy…
As long as your daily habits don’t resemble our blubbery buddy here, we will make it through this time of the year, together!
Around the holidays, chances are you’re going to be spending a lot of time with grandma. Even if you don’t have a nana, you’re going to no doubt be faced with situations where you’re going to be expected to eat some “bad” meals, and walking to the table with your cooler filled with brown rice and skinless chicken breasts isn’t going to cut it with your knife-wielding hostess.
There are always going to be times when you have “cheat” meals. Don’t have an anxiety attack, though, because there are ways to prepare for those meals and ameliorate the consequences.
So how is it that we can minimize these damages and alleviate the psychological guilt we feel when we have an all-out ballistic cheat meal? Let’s first talk about this: some time ago, Dr. John Berardi, owner of Precision Nutrition, and a renowned and world famous nutrition expert, wrote something along the lines that any 1 meal over 750 calories yields a significant amount of fat storage. Perfect macros or not, a meal of that size will increase fat storage mechanisms, whether you like it or not…
In an article he wrote for T Nation several years ago about cheat meals, John Berardi explained that for the average person, any meal over 750 calories (not including the peri-workout nutrition period) results in a measurable amount of fat storage, regardless of macronutrient profile. Hell, you know you’re going to get 750 calories from just the appetizer at most cheat meals!
While the amount of fat storage would vary enormously based on whether or not you exercise, are lean or fat, or are somewhat weight-gain resistant, we still want to grab that chubby bull by the horns. That’s why we need to employ some pre- and post-meal strategies. Berardi wrote about a few of these strategies too, but several points have changed since then.
Things have changed since then, TC says? That’s a good thing, since change is good and always welcomed ’round these here parts! Now then… unless you’re smokin’ some of Walter White’s blue crystal, or snortin’ some lines off stripper’s asses during the holiday season (we ain’t judgin’ – everyone celebrates the joyous holidays in their own way ), we are gonna need to implement some strategies to minimize the damages from the cheat meals we are gonna have. And trust me – there will be puh-lenty of ’em!
Let’s talk about these strategies then, shall we??
Duh, right?! This is obviously the first strategy to combat overeating. Is it best to have a grueling workout before you eat, and use those holiday meals as post-workout nutrition? Orrrrr…. is it better to stuff your face, then go to the gym and burn it off? Luckily for us, studies on both approaches have been done!
Some of these studies have shown that exercising before a meal was the way to go, as it prevents some of the shift towards burning of carbohydrate instead of fat. Other studies have shown that exercising after a meal was the best approach as it supposedly led to more calories being burned in a 3-hour post workout period than if the meal was eaten and not followed up by exercise.
In studies that compared the two approaches, it looked like exercising after the meal was the best approach, as the 3-hour thermic effect of food was greater when the meal was eaten before exercising.
Sounds good! We have our answer!! Stuff your face, then go workout, yes?? Nah ah… You didn’t seriously think it would be so easy, didja?? Practically speaking, how would that even work? You’re not gonna go hang with friends and loved ones, stuff your face, kick back and relax, then leave to go to the freakin’ gym, are you? Hell no you’re not! So what do we do then? Well, one method is to increase the volume, or the frequency, or the intensity, or the duration, or something, for a few days prior to your scheduled pig-out date.
A more realistic approach would be to increase your workout volume a couple of days before the event to deplete a little glycogen. Barring that, even a glycogen-depleting workout on the day of the event would go a long way in ameliorating some of the dietary excesses to come.
Eating Beforehand – The Second Meal Effect
You want me to “eat” before I go and EEEAAAATTT?! Yes… yes I do. Here’s why:
Dietitians often talk about something called the “second meal effect,” which refers to the phenomenon where carbohydrate tolerance to a meal is improved as a result of having an earlier, lower glycemic-index meal.
Besides the scientific evidence, it only makes sense that if you eat a meal before a big feast, you won’t be as hungry, and therefore, won’t eat as much during the big meal. Maybe instead of having thirds and fourths, you’ll feel fully satiated after seconds. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom!!!
This initial, pre-emptive meal should consist of low glycemic-index carbs and significant amounts of dietary fiber; something like a chicken sandwich on really whole grain bread – the stuff that looks like the bottom of an unkempt hamster cage – accompanied by some bean or lentil soup would do the trick nicely.
Yea, it’s like that! Sorry for those that still stick with the adage of “au naturel,” but supplements are necessary. Before anyone gets their panties in a wad, this is not a scientific fact or a professional diagnosis – this is just the opinion of Gone Liftin’. PROPER supplements are here for us to SUPPLEMENT a proper and healthy diet, in general. They are not substitutes for proper programming of food consumption. There are certain supplements out there that severely lessen the fat-storing effect in your body, and other supplements that suppress appetite in general, and so on and so on. If you visit T-Nation’s article, you will see their very own supplements recommended under this section. They recommend Indigo-3G (a fat-to-muscle partitioner), HOT ROX Extreme (a fat burner), and Carbolin 19 (a thermogenic compound). From personal experience, though pricey, those are some damn good supplements. I am not here, however, to promote or recommend T-Nation’s supplements, nor am I here to promote my own. Information divulgence and breakdown, is what I’m here for!!
Some other interesting Gone Liftin’ reads that just may (and likely will) tickle your fancy, regarding some other wise supplements to utilize for Overeating Damage Control, include:
There’s plenty of good and legitimate supplements you can utilize for this aspect of controlling the damage you will inflict during the holiday season…
It’s simple. The day after your horrific meal, have only a protein pulse every 1 to 3 hours instead of solid food. If it’s a workout day (and I assume it will be, because you ate like a pig the day before), have an extra pulse immediately prior to training, mid-workout, and immediately after training.
I recently wrote an article called Muscle Science: Protein Pulse Feeding, detailing what Protein Pulsing is all about. Read it!
So let’s see what we got out of this Overeating Damage Control…
- Increase workout volume, intensity, duration, frequency
- Have a proper meal before the big feast
- Take some supplements – the right ones!
- Protein Pulse the next day
Most importantly: DO NOT OBSSESS OR DWELL TOO MUCH OVER THE HOLIDAY SEASON MEALS. We are all gonna cheat and we are all gonna enjoy ourselves doing it. It’s the holidays, dammit!! Hopefully with these tips and strategies, we can all have some peace of mind knowing that at least during the uncontrollable feasting, we are at least attempting to minimize the damages. And that’s already being ahead of the curve. Enjoy your food y’allz!!