So you trained really hard for Carnival and you looked incredible! Through a combination of diet and exercise you had a complete body make-over. However, the $64,000 question is: Now that Carnival is over, are you going to let all this go to waste? What are we to read into this? You like looking good for Carnival, but you don’t mind looking horrible for the rest of the year? All the time you were doing your pre-Carnival workouts, you probably had in mind, that come Carnival Tuesday night, you were going to sink your fangs into the largest burger that you could find. As a matter of fact, on Tuesday night, anything was fair game—pelau, fried chicken, ice cream, pizza etc. This is all quite understandable; you trained hard and dieted for weeks in the build-up to Carnival, and you deserved to let loose on Carnival Tuesday night. But do you really want to continue eating artery-clogging food for the rest of the year? Now don’t conjure up images of leading a miserable life of eating egg whites and lettuce till 2013 Carnival. All I am simply saying is that you should now consider a balanced approach to eating and exercise.
Plan of action for eating
To keep your body in check, you should first make up your mind that you are going to stay within a five-pound radius of your ideal weight; straying beyond that radius is asking for trouble. Let’s first have a look at eating strategies. In the build-up to Carnival you were probably eating little or no carbs in order to drop your waistline and other unsightly bulges quickly; but being on a no-carb diet for the rest of the year is neither practical nor healthy. Usually, when you are off carbs, you end up eating an excessive amount of protein in order to satisfy your appetite. This is not necessarily a good move, because excessive protein can lead to specific health complications. On a long term basis your body needs carbs, both as a source of fuel and to help increase your fibre intake. What you need to do is to be able to identify good carbs from bad carbs.
Though it is not an exact science, the glycemic index is a useful tool in helping with the identification process. Generally speaking, foods that carry a high fibre content, usually have a low glycemic index rating. Stick to brown rice, sweet potato etc; limit your consumption of products with sugar and white flour. Also, try eating more fish and other seafoods, and less meat by alternating the weeks—one week fish and other seafoods followed by one week of lean meat. You should even consider coming off meat completely for a couple of weeks. Ensure your main meals are dressed with lots of fresh vegetables.
Plan of action for exercise
Engage in some form of cardio such as running, brisk-walking, biking, swimming etc, at least three times per week, for about 40 minutes per session. Also, try to squeeze in at least two major total-body weight training workouts per week, involving mainly compound movements, which will help you preserve your muscle mass. Follow the above guidelines and you will be fine for the rest of the year.