Carnival season is almost over. It’s the end of partying and loud music, no gluttony, less television, and the beginning of fasting. According to personal trainers, this is the time when it’s much easier to look after a client. For those that stuck to their workout plans and counted calories religiously, there’s one more exciting event: Fat Thursday. Let’s talk about this phenomenon. I don’t see anything wrong with fat, and taking some breaks in a diet. But let’s have some rules.
300 kcal – this is the energy value of an average donut with marmalade. Did you know that? And do you know how to burn it? It takes 200 minutes of dancing, 40 minutes of running, 35 minutes of burpees, etc. I like these comparisons – how many calories a certain food has vs. what you have to do to burn those calories. Of course, you can’t exactly specify what it takes to burn a certain number of calories, because everyone is different, but we can at least imagine the effort it would take to do so.
300 kcal is also 2 large eggs, 1 tomato, 40 g of light mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons of milk, half a garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I know that for most of you this omelet can’t compete with the taste of a donut. But I assure you that, even though they have the same number of calories, an omelet is a true boost of energy compared to a donut. So what’s more important? It’s about quality, not volume of energy.
A donut doesn’t have that much fat. Although it’s deep fried, it contains far less fat compared to an omelet. Does that mean that it’s good? No, it’s just something that we don’t need, because it doesn’t provide anything valuable to our body. The protein content is insignificant, but the sugar content is very high. And that’s the worst. Energy from sugar is very “elusive”, but it’s not insignificant for our blood insulin level. I won’t go into the scientific explanation, because it’s simple – you can eat it and satisfy your taste buds, but it won’t nourish your body – it’ll just increase the content of subcutaneous fat. Period. That’s it. You can also eat 300 calories, where 2/3 of the energy is saturated and monounsaturated fat, plus 15 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates. This compilation of ingredients will give you energy and adequate levels of building substances.
I don’t want to tell you that eating a donut is pointless. I just want to convince you that calories aren’t bad – only their source can be. Remember that we can survive without sugar in our diet – but not without fat.
The next issue regarding Fat Thursday is the careless gluttony that takes place on this day – we develop a symbolically numbed conscience. We say that it’s “just today”, as if that meant we’ll never eat sweets or fat again. This assumption, in my opinion, creates unnecessary pressure, because I know very few people that are strong enough to resist eating sweets.
How about having a “Fat Thursday” once a week with a beneficial effect to your mental health and motivation? Sounds like nonsense, but it’s true! Chill out! Not every day, but not only on holidays. I’ll give you an example: let’s suppose that you eat as regularly as possible – 4 meals a day (breakfast at home, lunch at work, dinner before your work out and supper after returning home). This gives 28 meals a week. If each of the dishes is properly composed, eaten on time, without cheating, then I don’t see anything bad in letting go once a week. I mean 1 of those 28 meals. Give yourself a moment to breathe and let yourself get what you want. This kind of “Fat Thursday” once a week is a fair exchange for regular and properly balanced meals on a daily basis. It’s great motivation, but also a smart buffer. Remember – regularity is your best friend.