Personal trainer Emmet Rushe looks at how to find balance for your social life during a restrictive diet.

I had an interesting conversation this morning with a member of my Rushe Fitness classes.

They had been at the cinema and had refrained from having the usual fare of popcorn etc, but when they got home that evening, their good intentions and the diet had gone out the window.

This was interesting and I asked them if they had had the popcorn at the cinema, did they think that the evening’s episode would have happened?  Had the client eaten a small popcorn, would they have gone home feeling a sense of satisfaction, which might have avoided the need to compensate with a treat that evening.

We can’t know either way, but it does highlight an issue when dieting.

If you are watching what you eat and a social occasion comes around and you refrain from the food and drink choices that are put in front of you, are you being too restrictive on yourself?

Is being too restrictive counter-productive?

When you are trying to lose body-fat, there has to be some form of restriction in your diet.
If you are not in a calorie deficit, fat loss is basically impossible, so at the least, your calories must be restricted.

However, if your nutrition plan that involves you alienating yourself from social occasions, your family or friends, then maybe it is a bit too restrictive.

Of course, I am assuming that everyone reading this doesn’t have a philanthropist’s lifestyle and they are not out on several social occasions each week.

If that was the case, then maybe a bit of restriction wouldn’t go amiss.

If however, you are like the rest of us and a social occasion is something that comes as often as a solar eclipse, I would hesitate to be too restrictive at these events.

There are 52 weeks in the year, and if you were to take the usual holidays we have of Christmas, New Years, St Patrick’s day, Easter and a week off in the summer for holidays, you might get 3 weeks of downtime where you let go completely.

That leaves you with 49 weeks, where you can wipe those out and make serious progress in your training and nutrition.

So, if a night out happens here and there over these 49 weeks and it isn’t a regular occurrence; (I REPEAT, IT ISN’T A REGULAR OCCURRENCE!), then I don’t think that you should restrict yourself needlessly and end up feeling like you were deprived afterwards.

That feeling of deprivation can lead on to binges later that day or week and that binge will do much more damage than having a small popcorn at the cinema.

Remember, you should never look at your progress on a day to day basis.
Week to week or month to month will give you a better overview if progress is happening.

If a social occasion comes up, and you are able to get back on track the next day without feeling guilty or having a week long guilt binge after, there is no need to refrain from joining in.

You just need to allow for it and for God’s sake, please do not weigh yourself after so see how ‘bad’ you were, as this will gain you nothing.