1) – Trying to “fit” foods in too regularly
We’ve all done it.
We see a food that we love, haven’t had for a while and think, yeah I’ll fit that in tomorrow evening.
Those Reeses Cups after dinner, instead of my potato. Sorted.
Flexible dieting, when utilised effectively and properly, allows you to have a degree of flexibility within your diet.
When the time calls for it.
That ain’t every damn day.
Heading out for dinner with your friends this weekend?
Be flexible with your choices but still be aware of making healthier choices than unhealthy ones. It still allows you to be sociable, compared to much restrictive meal plan type diets.
(Just don’t go for double burger, double chips, double shake – this is no GBK cheat meal to boost your metabolism)
It’s pretty epic for us conscious dieters as it means we can still make progress and not be “the one” who causes a scene.
There is always a but.
People take this approach and apply it to pretty much every day of the week.
They try to “fit in” a chocolate bar and a muffin into their day, or “fit in” a burger and chips because they can.
It’s great that flexible dieting allows you to do those things (at the right time).
You have to remember that the flexibility in flexible dieting is the exception and not the rule.
I have worked with so many people who have tried to fit in 300kcal worth of chocolate a day into their 1800kcal a day diet.
It’s not worth it.
Once or twice a week, on a high day, you might get away with it.
But STOP trying to “fit in” foods that you know aren’t the best choice to be having every day.
This is very different to having a craving for something. If once a week you have a real craving for a certain food, say a chocolate bar, and you can’t resist it. If only the chocolate bar will do, then that is fine.
It will likely lead to better adherence to your diet, feeling better and being in control. It will probably also stop you trying to fix that craving with other foods or potentially binging on chocolate later down the line.
My issue is with the people who plan it WELL ahead of time.
Like they have an egg white omelette with spinach instead of their usual oats, just to “fit in” a chocolate bar before they go to bed.
Be smart and you’ll have much more success in the long term.
2) – Eating to the numbers
Your macros for each day are not a hard and fast rule.
You do NOT have to eat them every single day, unless you really want to.
But in most people, this can cause unnecessary stress.
How many weird meals have you concocted for your last meal of the day? Like some crazy science experiment.
It is something that just doesn’t need to be stressed over.
if you aren’t hungry and have an extra 200kcals left on your day, don’t eat them for the sake of it.
Don’t go to the fridge and develop a brand new meal that resembles a chemistry set with you trying to delicately balance 12g of whey with 123g of yogurt topped with 4g of coco pops.
Save them up for a time when you really want to eat more food. You’ll be glad you did.
There will be a day when you are really hungry and you might want to go over your macros by 200kcal, or giving into that chocolate craving that you have had recently.
That’s another beauty of flexible dieting, you don’t have a strict meal plan, you can go off piste a bit with your numbers from day to day if that is going to lead to better adherence.
Don’t worry about going 200 kcal over or 200kcal under your calories, do your best to assess your day and what you really need.
Some days you will need some extra energy, some days you will feel ok on the energy front.
I guarantee you, there will be days when you just HAVE to go over your macros to feel normal and have a good day.
Likewise, there will be days you feel fine and dandy eating a bit less.
Listen to your body and make the decision that is right for you on that day and you can rectify it on another.
3) – Not eating something because it’s not on MyFitness Pal
How often have you thought about going out to eat somewhere and you’ve just ended up going to Nandos because the menu is on MyFitness Pal?
Not because Nandos is really what you want, but JUST because it was on MyFitness Pal.
Been there. Done that.
I’ve even gone into the place knowing exactly how many grams of frozen yogurt I’m allowed to have because I’ve fit it into my day.
(Remember I’m talking from experience here)
It’s funny because the amount of times I go to Nandos and the portion sizes vary a fair amount each time I go, yet everyone sticks to Nandos because it’s on MyFitness Pal.
Forget the fact that the chickens probably all weigh a different amount and that you never get the same portion of chips or wedges.
No No, it’s on MyFitness Pal, it’s ok. I’ve got this.
Another classic is not eating any small cakes or treats that haven’t got a scannable barcode.
Not eating something because you can’t scan the barcode is mental.
Find an equivalent on MyFitness Pal and use that as an estimate. Most high street coffee chains have all their treats on there.
If your mum makes you a carrot cake and you want a piece, just track it as a Starbucks equivalent.
It will be much closer than you think anyway.
The whole beauty of flexible dieting is being able to go to your family’s house for a roast dinner and be able to give a good estimate of the macros and calories you’ve consumed and just enjoy it, relatively care free.
If you don’t feel confident enough doing that then you probably need to spend some more time looking at portion sizes and eyeballing more often.
(granted if you are in the last stages of a diet you would want to be absolutely on the money)
For most people, having a good guess of a meal, once a week, will not be a problem.