If you read this page frequently, you’ll know that most of its content is focused around flexible dieting; the one way of eating that helped me transform my body and lose 15 lbs consistently. I may sprinkle in some life happenings every once in a while, but for the most part I stick with flexible dieting, macros and crossfit.
Flexible dieting is all about eating whatever you want…in moderation of course. If you browse the #flexibledieting or #iifym hashtags, you’ll quickly fill your cell phone with pictures of Oreos, ice cream, candy, cookies, and most foods that were thought to be “forbidden” on most diets. Flexible dieting is great because you can still eat the things you want and make progress! But recently, I have found that there are certain times where flexible dieting shouldn’t be well, so flexible. Let me explain.
If you saw my post yesterday with my weekly update, I kind of went off on a tangent about coming home and eating the whole house after work. And about how it’s hard to transition from reaching your goals to life afterwards. You kinda get to your goal weight and basically ask, “Now what?” Flexible dieting was the one way of eating that allowed me to feel like I was 100% in control of my eating and still had the ability to enjoy snacks and treats every now and then.
As I progressed on my journey of flexible dieting, I became engulfed in the thought process that I should be able to fit one “treat” in throughout the day. Because, well face it, you’re on a calorie deficit eating bland food, so you should have something to look forward to at the end of the day to kind of keep you going.
But what I found with myself personally, was that this approach was all or nothing. I spent most of my day eating chicken and broccoli, or egg whites and toast, or a mug cake and fruit…which is great! I’m hitting my micros, getting my fiber in, awesome. I’d save around 10 grams of fat and 40-60 grams of carbs each day for my “treat” that I would have at the end of the night. Whether that be ice cream, Oreos, or candy. It was my little reward, for doing so well throughout the day.
At this progressed (specifically over the past two weeks when my macros were cut secondary to my injury) I found that I could not control my eating habits towards my “treats”. If I was going to have a mug cake with ice cream and a tablespoon of Nutella, the tablespoon turned into two, and then three, and then before I knew it…half of the jar was gone. The same could be said of Oreos. If I planned for two Oreos at the very end of my shift at work, I would immediately come home and eat 6 more, or 8 more, or 10 more. It didn’t matter. It was like the flood gates opened and I couldn’t control myself.
You see, throughout the day I was eating the nutrient dense stuff, trying to hit my protein, but all the while “saving” those macros for later for my expected reward. I wasn’t starving by any means, but I was never satisfied. I always felt hungry and searching for the next meal.
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The fitness industry has us programmed to think that we need to eat every 2-3 hours, 5-6 small meals each day to “stoke” our metabolism, which is so false, but so many people follow this. I followed this. I started intermittent fasting, not eating until 12 pm but then eating every 2-3 hours just to keep my hunger at bay. It wasn’t until yesterday when I realized that most people eat three meals a day; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They eat enough until their full and then they stop. They eat well balanced meals and generally aren’t starving throughout the day.
So that got me thinking. What if, instead of saving up these magical macros for this treat that I expected each night, I used them during the day and only ate three meals, with healthy dessert after dinner? You know what I found? I was full. And I wasn’t starving. And I wasn’t raiding the pantry every minute in an effort to reward myself for my good behavior throughout the day.
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I guess what I’m trying to convey to you all is that flexible dieting is 100% mental. Flexible dieting is also a great tool to help you lose weight in a healthy and consistent manner. It shows you portion control and it forces you to consume more nutrient dense food.
But flexible dieting can also create a little monster in your head. Once you get the taste of those “treat” foods, things can escalate very quickly. At least they can for me. So that I have found is that rather than treating yourself to these “treat” foods, why not eat the foods you actually love and enjoy. Have some pasta for dinner if you want, instead of ice cream or cookies. Just because you see people posting these pictures on social media does not mean that you yourself need to eat that way or eat those foods as well. Some people who practice flexible dieting rarely eat processed foods because they just don’t like how it makes them feel.
I just hope to relay that while flexible dieting is a great way to reach your goals, be cautious of how it is presented on social media and in society. Don’t eat crap food just because you think you deserve a reward for your good behavior. If it’s a trigger for you, don’t buy it and don’t eat it. Save those macros for something you would really enjoy. Your goals are way more important than those little nibbles of Nutella.