When people start calorie counting for the first time, it is often liberating:
Learning that you can have some chocolate without ‘blowing it’ or that you can have the occasional Chinese takeaway or curry without ruining your progress can bring great freedom.
Flexible dieting should be about:
The knowledge that you can and should enjoy a wide range of foods,
Being able to fit your favourite foods into your day to day diet,
Having no banned foods,
Keeping your protein intake up to help retain and build muscle,
Eating mostly nutrient dense foods,
Knowing your calorie intake is the biggest factor in controlling your bodyweight.
But problems can start if we then become overly strict…
I must stick to 1800 calories a day
I must hit my macro targets each day
I must do 10,000 steps per day
I must sleep 8 hours a night
Things then start to become super strict and rigid.
The thing is, unless you are going to do some very complicated maths every single day;
Your daily calorie goal will always be an average across a week or even a month!
Day by day the amount of calories you burn will vary as your activity levels vary.
The amount of calories you consume can also vary without it being a problem!
Your body responds to periods of time, rather than moment to moment. Your average calorie intake over weeks and months is the thing to be concerned about. You will have days when you are not as hungry – so don’t eat as much! You will definitely have days when you are more hungry and will eat a little more.
This is fine and natural.
What you don’t want to do, is see that you are going to go over your calories one day and then press the self destruct button:
“Oh well, it’s been a crappy day and I’ve blown it anyway, let’s have takeaway, wine and ice-cream”
“I might as well enjoy the weekend now and I’ll start again on Monday”
It is moments like these that ruin our progress.
Far better to allow yourself the flexibility to go a couple of hundred calories over one day;
Safe in the knowledge that over the course of the month, your daily calorie average is still moving you towards your goal.