I couldn’t decide which direction I wanted to go with this week’s blog post. I was torn between realistic expectations and being honest with ourselves while we are pursuing our fitness related goal. I do think both of these topics can translate across many facets of life, and taking the time to ponder them is beneficial in numerous ways. I decided to move forward with being honest with ourselves, as this is something that I need to focus on, and I must admit that blogging has been quite therapeutic.
I was reading a blog post by Mark Springer titled Phantom Portions, and it hit home, not only for myself but for how my clients check in with me as well. I’m not sure if this is something we all do to protect our egos or if the truth hurts or if we just plain feel better about ourselves fabricating the truth, but it happens time and time again- especially during flexible dieting.
Over the holidays I received many check-ins with blank days (untracked), and I had some untracked days as well. I am ok with clients making the conscious decision not to track macros over a period. It is a free country, and I am not the kind of coach that is going to force you to do something you do not want to do. I do expect the decision to not track during a particular time to be premeditated, to exercise portion control, and to be realistic about the potential setback.
I will use myself as an example. I traveled to Idaho over Thanksgiving to visit my MIL. During my time there, I was mindful of my portions and did not over indulge. When I returned home, I was disappointed that I did not lose the average amount of weight after my weekly check-in. After reading Springer’s blog, I decided to review my log.
I thought back to the number of times I have grabbed a handful of berries, a few extra bits of this or that, shoved a handful of cereal in my mouth, snagged one chocolate, and had a moment of clarity how those things can add up. It is easy to forget about what we ate if we do not journal it. My mind was telling me I was spot on to my targets, but the physical results don’t lie.
So am I saying you have to log each and every morsel you put in your mouth from now until the end of time? Of course not. But I am saying, to be honest with yourself when you choose not to. If you want to see the true picture of what you are doing, I recommend logging it all.
Log the honest amount of what you did eat (no that cup of frozen yogurt was not 10 grams carbs). Take an honest look at the amounts you are eating to understand where you are falling short. The truth is that you might be living on Denial Island. I know I visit from time to time!
If you are frustrated with your progress, take a look at how honest your food log is. It is so easy to shout “I KNEW flexible dieting didn’t work!” and just chuck the smartphone and go on your merry way. I am here to tell you that it does work, but you have to work too.
You will still have to be conscious of having enough volume of food to satisfy your hunger; you will still need to make a conscious effort to hit your goals, will still have days when you are hungry or when you want more than your amounts allow.
Be honest with yourself; be honest with your coach; minimize frustration. Keep working hard and don’t give up on something you want. It is hard to change your body composition- like the saying goes “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”