“It’s Joan’s birthday! Want a cupcake?”
“No, no, thanks. I’m trying to drop a few pounds.”
“Oh…I’m so sorry. Let me know if you need anything.”
Or they want you to be fatter than they are
“Oh, c’mon, just one cupcake!”
Never mind this is the fourth birthday of the week.
But one thing I’ve talked about in the past is “dieting” shouldn’t be starving yourself and eating only “clean” foods. It’s simply unsustainable not to mention completely boring. If there’s a party at work, there’s no need to hide in the corner with your carrot sticks and only your tears to season them. The best way around something like this is to plan your cheat day around it; go nuts at the party and have pizza at dinner too. Or be sociable and have a bite or two; it’s not like we’re alcoholics on the verge of a relapse.
But this brings me to calories; when it comes down to it, it really is calories in vs calories out. Eating clean works for losing weight because you’ve basically reduced calories; there’s nowhere for extra calories to hide on grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. But you could eat only twinkies and still lose weight so long as you tracked your calories and burned more than you took in (not encouraged).
Which, of course, begs the question, “How many calories should I be taking in?” For fat loss, about 11 (ladies)-13(men) calories per pound will give you a rough starting point. Going the other way, if you want to put on muscle mass, it’s about 17-19 calories per pound. This allows you a good starting point to cut enough calories while losing mostly body fat instead of muscle or to gain mostly muscle without gaining much too much fat.
A fantastic resource that allows you to dial in your calories a little more is a great site called If It Fits Your Macros that I like quite a bit for a few reasons. First, they advocate a high protein diet which is 100% awesome for weight loss. It keeps you feeling full, meat is scientifically more delicious than everything else and high protein preserves muscle in a calorie deficit. It goes without saying that high protein is necessary for muscle gain as muscles need protein to repair and grow stronger. Second, they acknowledge that we exist in a real and social world; eating just oatmeal and eggs will have you losing a ton of weight out of pure depression.
So have a small piece of cake if you want. Or don’t. Just don’t stress out about it and remember it’s long term goals we’re aiming for.