I’ve talked about macros and eating to hit targets of protein, fat, and carbs (as IIFYM) before. I’ve also talked about moderation being key. Despite the title “all the food” I’m going to do another post on it because I believe the ideas need exploring a bit more.
I also think, like this article from Adam Ali at Physiqonomics very eloquently sums up, that often people abuse the notion of meeting macros and take it to silly extremes. Or view it disdainfully under the impression that people who do care about their macros do so only to be able to avoid nutritious healthy unprocessed food.
That said, no food is inherently bad for you. I had to try very hard not to use the words clean and junk in that previous paragraph! I don’t believe that way of thinking helps. It enforces that something (food items in this case) is forbidden, which then makes us want them even more. Because, let’s face it; we are all still toddlers at heart. We will have a little internal (or even external) tantrum about it 😉 And washing up flavoured food is pretty gross 😉 The Moderation Movement published a great article on this subject just before Easter. I suggest you give it a read if you still hold these views about food.
It is important that however food is approached, whichever diet you choose to follow, that it does not lead to Orthorexia. Disordered (or obsessive) eating (or not) is not helpful towards your goals, or leading a normal life. Orthorexia is not clinically recognised, but the idea of it is becoming more appreciated by health professionals. It seems to be more prevalent with “clean” eaters, rather than those who can take a slightly less restricted approach. But that does not mean that IIFYM practitioners are immune. Some people take the hitting of macros to a complete extreme. Having to fill the last few grams of each macronutrient with a flex bowl at the end of each day rather than a meal or snack that roughly fits. Any extreme is a disordered way of handling food. It needs to be moderate!
Life will throw good and bad (and even extremely sh*tty) days and weeks at us. You might have a rubbish workout, had a colleague annoy you or have forgotten to add something to myfitnesspal then realised later and by adding it found it had taken your over your target. You could be having a bad day through body dysmorphia or just feeling fed up for no obvious reason. It’s how you deal with this that is important!
If you go off track or choose to go have a pizza with friends, instead of your planned chicken, broccoli, and rice, enjoy the moment. Treat it as a distraction from the bad or as a celebration of the good. Enjoy the different/unplanned food. But then move on. Get back on track. Don’t make it a week of untracked food or pizza. Friends and family should understand that. The diet doesn’t start next week or month. (A silly concept anyhow, because the way you eat should be a lifestyle.) Get back to normality and accept it as a nice deviation. Be thankful you have friends to enjoy sharing a pizza with. Be thankful you can afford a pizza even! It’s not a failure of commitment or focus. It is called being human, and living life.
I’m not disputing that at times, e.g. pre-competition, that you may need to hit training targets and weight for a weigh in. In that situation, you will need to be a bit more restrictive, whatever the emotional burden of the day. But good friends will understand that and support you. And it should not lead to disordered eating, or even not eating. That won’t help you achieve anything beyond a very short term drop in body mass.
Progress is important. Perfection is unobtainable. And that’s speaking as someone who used to be a bit too much of a perfectionist. I’ve learnt a lot since then! Keep plugging away. Being consistent means you can live a normal life and eat all the foods (in moderation). However, you can still make progress on training and body composition goals.