I posted this on my Facebook as a lengthy status and thought I'd pop it into a slightly longer blog post to give a little more context.
For those that know me, they know that a keen flexible dieter that accounts the majority of food in my fitness pal (MFP). I've been doing this for years, scanning, weighing and measuring foods so that they meet my macronutrient goals at the end of the day.
It wasn't such a hard transition going from being a clean eating bro to a flexible dieter, in fact, it was a welcome change and relief as inheritantly we were lead to believe that you could only attain a good physique through eating 'clean' foods. I no longer had to live my life like I was on a meal plan and I could incorporate some foods that I actually liked and hadn't sickened myself of (I STILL can't eat tinned tuna to this day).
I'd say I was slightly obsessive. I'd avoid social situations as I knew there'd be temptation at every turn that could potentially lead to a 'f**k it' mentality... you know the one... where you go off plan and decide to eat everything in sight convincing yourself you'll start again on Monday.
To a certain degree, I think to get anywhere there must be a slight obsession there. Ask any successful athlete or entrepreneur how much time and effort they've put into creating something amazing. For the most of it, I feel that it was necessary for me to go to that extreme to realise how unextreme I could actually be and still make as much, if not more progress that when I was '100% or nothing'.
This of course helps me work with clients to give them an idea of how their journey usually will pan out and to ensure they don't go to unnecessary extremes that may cost them their sanity, job or relationship just to lose a little weight on the scales.
People typically underestimate how many calories they eat. Estimating calories is pretty difficult if you've never actually spent any time learning about food, what's in it and how it's prepared.
The food industry is huge and it's their job to create a product that sells. It's got to ooze with flavour, make you salivate at the thought of it, have the right amount of fat and sugars that means you can't just stop at one. Chefs don't give a shit about your waistline or the fact you're trying to be 'good', they want you to enjoy their food. Fat gives food it's flavour, as does sugar, so they'll add it in wherever to make that food more palatable and enjoyable for the consumer
Let's take this piece of cheesecake that a 2B-Fit member brought in for us. There's no way of actually knowing the true caloric value of the cheesecake.
This is the case with any food. Even with food labels, there can be up to a 25% discrepancy either way. Even tracking calories or macros isn't as accurate as you may think. So if you think you're hitting your macros 100%... it's not possible. Being within 5g of each should be considered 100% compliance
Anyway, back to this awesome mars bar cheesecake...
It's easy to track these sorts of food and get within the ballpark and not have it make a significant impact on your goals
All I do is look on the Tesco app.
I look for a cheesecake with the worst macros (NOT THE BEST YOU LITTLE SNEAK!). Some people, no names mentioned *cough *Craig *cough search for the most macro friendly option to allow more calories, whilst this may appease my fitness pal and you mentally, metabolism doesn't work like that and it's more likely it'll lead to an even bigger over eat. OVER ESTIMATE just to be safe
My piece of cheesecake weighed 140g
I match it up and hey presto
That piece of cheesecake cost me roughly 50g carbs, 35g fat and 6g of protein and a whopping 550 calories of my daily targets
As you can see, it's barely quarter of the delicious mother f**ker. Realistically... I could smash the lot
550 calories for such a little piece of cake
It's not such a big hit for me as my daily calorie target is around the 3,200 mark.
But if you take a small female that is trying to lose weight it can easily eradicate their already small deficit they've been able to create
It's important you're honest with yourself before you blame something like being carb sensitive, hormones or metabolism. It's likely you're simply overeating without even knowing it.
To Track or not to track?
I NEVER expect people to track for the rest of their lives and to input every piece of food to the gram in MFP. But for the short term, I feel it's a fantastic learning curve in order for people to learn about food.
Through tracking for a long time it's made me more aware of how much food I can eat, what a portion size looks like and what's in food.
Even if you're not aiming for a particular macronutrients target, it's a great way to be aware of how much and the type of foods you're eating leading to more conscious and better choices down the line. Hell, go old school and just keep a pen & paper food diary, it's better than nothing.
Flexible dieting is unique to the individual, and in reality it doesn't really bother me, nor it should you what another persons dieting choice is, so long as they're not dogmatic about it.
I believe that everyone should strive for flexibility within their diet so that they can maintain a good level of health and body composition with as little stress as possible.
Eating intuitively is a great concept if you're capable of doing it. I feel the reason many people are overweight or in poor health due to their diet is because THEY HAVE been eating intuitively.
I'd question, regardless of tracking or not whether a person is actually eating intuitively as there must be some form of restriction there to create a calorie deficit, they will be consciously making an effort to cut back on certain things.
Unless you have a good understanding of nutrition, you're likely to have this black or white way of thinking when in actual fact YOU CAN have your cake and eat it... just in moderation
I hope this helped