The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dieting and Social Meal Tactics.

"If it fits your macros" is by far (in my opinion) the most sustainable diet a person could practice. It allows for variety in meal timing, choices, and a sense of freedom (no dietary constrictions.) The only exception is that people need to eat a serving of fruits, veggies, and get sufficient fiber to ensure health and metabolic efficiency.

However, even IIFYM can lend itself to having some unhealthy behaviors, most of them being self inflicted. Behaviors such as: counting your macros to the gram, weighing everything out, refusing to eat things where you're unsure of the macro nutrient content. All things that I've been doing pretty regularly as of late. Partly out of feeling out of control in other parts of my life, and partly because Ol' Yeargain wanted to be in pretty decent conditioning for my first Don Giovanni and neurosis and addiction go hand in hand with the Ol' Yeargain title.

So, as a guy that often preaches all of the positives of flexible dieting, I figured it was time I actually started living and experimenting with some of the positive aspects of it and start practicing some tactics so I could attend social events centered around food and not look like a fuckin fool.


The Premise


The other night Ol' Yeargain was a cowboy. And by that, I mean that I had a gig in Tulsa where I dressed as a cowboy and sang songs.


I got to sing some tunes from Oklahoma!, hang out with some friends, and got me a free fancy pants dinner.

When I was a bigger feller, I used to LOVE free dinners. I'd sit down and destroy everything in sight. Now that I'm a slimmer feller, and one who likes to keep track of what he eats to a fault, these kinds of social and professional things have become a slight pain in the ass. I'll usually have no clue what they are going to be serving, when they are going to serve it, and in what quality or quantity. To fit these meals into my macro numbers is pretty much impossible. There are just too many variables. So, how do I do it?


The answer: I don't.


"What?!?! But, you'll get fat!"


Nah, gurl...

I've spent the previous year playing with these kinds of events. I've tried over doing it, I've tried under doing it, I've even tried avoiding them altogether. I've played with many scenarios and walked away from all of them feeling guilty, starving, or just plain sick. The fact is that dieting is hard, and the social pressures we live in make it nearly impossible to stick to one forever unless you have a fuckin iron will. IFBB Pro Jon Anderson claims to not have eaten a carb in over a decade. How the fuck? This guy also get's off doing 10 sets of 10 reps two times a day. He's got the will power of a god damned monster.



But, the fuck if I'm gonna do that. I'm an actor and a performer, and I get invited to a lot more black tie events than Mr. Anderson, often times as a part of my job, so I've got to come up with ways to work with the system, not against it.

So, I give you...


The Method


Now, some of these tactics I took from Martin Berkhan's infamous article: Cheat Day Strategies for a Hedonist. Which is nothing short of hysterical, insightful, and beautiful. The man is a genius and I'm one of his biggest admirers. His science based, fuck you attitude inspires me to look deeper into everything and try to baptize the stupid out of my diet and training.

One thing that Martin advises is potentially fasting before a big cheat meal. I've done this before, and although I am always practicing intermittent fasting, for me the lengthy fasting prior to a late night meal always made me irritable and made me indulge way too much during the cheat meal. It required a lot of my self control, which at times I did not have. So, I actually borrowed some stuff from his alcohol drinking tactics as well to round out my approach to the obligatory social event eating.

Step One: The Killer Workout


The Day of your Social/Cheat meal (if you would), have yourself a kick ass workout. I'm not saying go for a marathon of a run in a sauna suit or sweat for days. I mean go into the gym, put in some quality iron time. Set some PR's, and do some work. Don't half ass it on this day. Put in a quality gym session, don't ruin yourself, just do what you have in your program and feel good about it. It's not about burning calories, it's about setting yourself up for nutrient partitioning success.



Step Two: Protein


During the day of the meal, consume ALL of your allotted protein during the day (For me, this was 230 grams.) This will have lots of benefits. 1.) You will ensure that you've gotten in the most important muscle building macro nutrient without having to gamble if your free meal has enough protein in it. 2.) Protein is immensely satiating and will blunt your hunger enough so you don't feel the need to go crazy. After eating all of my allotted protein for the day, I felt uncomfortably full for hours before the meal. I was stuffed. By the time of the meal I was hungry again, but I was not ravenous. Your carb and fat intake should be low, so your protein sources should be low or no fat options. Lean cuts of meat, no fat dairy, and your carbs should strictly be residual from your protein sources, maybe a few things like a few blueberries or strawberries to flavor your Greek yogurt or some sugar free ketchup for your chicken.

Step Three: Don't fuckin worry about it.


During the meal, have the meal, don't stress about what's in it. Eat. Don't stuff your mug, don't go back for 2nds, 3rds, or 4ths, eat like a normal person, enjoy the social event and look like an average Joe, not a ravenous fool and not a leaf eating stick. This isn't your last meal on earth and this meal ain't gonna make you fat. Play it smart. If it's a fatty cut of steak with a mystery sauce on it, don't drown your salad in olive oil and don't drown your mashed potatoes in gravy.


In similar fashion, if it's a buffet style ordeal. Reach for more protein, then carbs, then fats in that hierarchy. High dietary fat dessert options should be the last stop. The amount of booze you want to drink should reflect the social event, but also be in balance with your dietary fat intake. If you'd like to drink more, keep your fats low...so no cake, nuts, hunks of fatty meat or deep fried bread. However, drinking a glass or two of wine will not break your calorie buffer. If you're lookin for bender tactics, like I mentioned before, Berkhan is the man to listen to.

Step Four: The Following Day


The following day should not be one where you feel guilt, regret, sadness, or any kind of crazy "Oh my god, I've ruined myself" mind fucks. The next day, don't weigh yourself, just chill out, and do what you need to do that day. I have active rest days where I go into the gym, do some light cardio, get a small pump and get my blood moving because I sit around too damn much as it is. This rest day was no different for me. Your dietary plan for this day is to just do what you normally would do. Eat your rest day macros, don't try to take away any carbs or fats (never protein) to compensate for what you ate the night before. Just get back to life as usual. On my rest day I indulged in some tasty double tree cookies which I fit perfectly into my macros. 250/250/70 - Literally perfect non training day macros for Ol' Yeargain.

Tasty as fuck.


After the rest day, I woke up at 188 flat and this was my conditioning.



Arguably better than last week with the consistent calories, I was excited to get into the gym. All of my lifts were up. Energy felt fuckin incredible, the only thing I didn't have was a quality pump, which don't mean shit other than a lack of surplus carbs and sodium. 

The point is that you're not gonna derail months of progress from one night of inconsistency. In fact, it could be immensely beneficial for you psychologically, assuming you've taken the necessary precautions to ensure that you don't go full potato. 

But, maybe that's just the thoughts and dreams of a starry eyed cowboy...



Until next time, enjoy life, pretend to be normal every once in a while, but still be better and more controlled than everybody else....just kidding (kind of.) And, as always...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

P.S. Stayed tuned next week for when I conquer the fair.

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