Today’s mini challenge is all about discovering how to have realistic expectations for yourself. Flexible dieting is tough and can be a challenge for newcomers. It is important to remember that this isn’t a diet where we are just cutting out certain foods. Flexible dieting is better described as a lifestyle change and lifestyle changes are not easy.
I often compare flexible dieting to CrossFit. If you do CrossFit or something equally as challenging, think about when you first started.In the beginning it was extremely hard. After each workout you were often left the gym wondering if it would ever get any easier for you. Regardless of how tough it was though you didn’t quit. You kept coming back and kept trying to improve the different movements. Sure enough, little by little you started to find that performing the workout’s started to become a little more manageable for you. The same can be said for flexible dieting.
It is important to remember that nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistake and the same holds true for this program. Instead of feeling discouraged by your mistakes, embrace them. Recognize what you did wrong and learn from it. Approach the next day with a new strategy and get right back at it.
To help you avoid having too many mistakes, we are going to go over a few common mistakes flexible dieters make.
Eating without tracking first. It is important to remember that before any piece of food enters you mouth you HAVE to track it first. Eating the food and then putting it into myfitnesspal often leads to going over on certain macros. Always enter the food item before eating just to make sure it is going to fit into your macro numbers.
Weigh and measure EVERYTHING. If the food item or drink has calories then that means it has macros! Everything must be calculated into your total macro numbers. You may think that the tbsp of ketchup you had with your fries isn’t going to make that much of a difference but it does. For example, 1 tbsp of ketchup has 5 grams. Those 5 grams can lead to you going over your carbs at the end of the day.
Weight before volume. Weight is always going to be the preferred method of tracking food. 28 grams of a food source is a lot more accurate and precise than 1/2 cup measurement ever will. These small errors in weighing and measuring can have a larger impact in your total macros than you may realize. A good example of this are the protein pancakes I eat everyday. The serving size on the package says 1/2 cup or 70 grams. I took 1/2 cup measurement and the weight of it was 80 grams! From that moment on I realized that if I wanted to get accurate I had to do weight over volume.
“Screw it” approach. We all have days where we don’t want to weigh and measure and just want to eat like a normal person. This often leads to the “screw it I am just going to eat what I want to eat today”. As tempting as this is try to avoid this. Having a day when you splurge and don’t track is only going to lead to binge eating. This can do damage and really stall the process of reaching your goals. Instead, find a way to work in your favorite treats. Having room for 1 cookie at the end of the day really can make a difference on your mental well being. Once in a blue moon and on special occasion, I will also work in a “cheat” meal. I make sure to keep my fat to a minimum throughout the day, and then go out the eat and enjoy myself. This process does not have to be miserable, it just takes some planning and a little bit of strategy.
Eat all your macros. Under eating is just as bad as over eating. It is crucial that all of your macros are reached at the end of the day no matter what. Consistency is everything so it is a necessity to stay within the given prescribed window of your macros.
Spread out your meals evenly. All to often I hear stories about people consuming 50% of their carbs and fat at breakfast or those that have to stuff their face at night to hit their numbers. Be sure to spread out your meals evenly throughout the day. This is going to be a good habit to create early on so that hunger levels can stay in control.
As your journey with flexible dieting continues you will find your mistakes begin to diminish. It is important to remember though that everyone makes mistakes in the beginning. What will set you apart from the rest though is if you make it a priority to learn from them and then move on.