Ahhhh walking out of work on a Friday afternoon. No more work for two days. No more worry for two days. No more diet for two days. You ate well all week, so you can relax and enjoy a little indulgence this weekend, right? Unfortunately, this is where a lot of people trip up in their dieting plans. They reward themselves for 5 days of discipline by washing away any progress in 48 hours. Even if you’re not a 9-5er, the weekends are for social gatherings and throwing back a few with friends. The temptation is going to be there regardless of your work schedule. We’ve been there, too. What we have found recently in doing IIFYM is that although it may be hard, it isn’t unmanageable.
Control Freaks United
If you’ve decided to try the whole “If It Fits Your Macros” or IIFYM diet or lifestyle, chances are you have a little control freak in you. If you didn’t have any when you started, you certainly do when you get knee deep in it. It feels good to control and track the amount of fats, protein and carbs you take in. Especially when the results start showing up. You look at the scale or the mirror and think, “Nice! I did that!”. It wasn’t luck, but your control over your balanced intake that has delivered these results. We’ve seen the “Once you see results it becomes addicting” quote about 1,352,687 times on Twitter and Instagram since we’ve started this thing. It’s SO true, though. The thought of relinquishing that control is frightening, because you finally found something that WORKS.
Therein lies the problem: when you go out to eat or drink, ALL CONTROL IS LOST. It’s a free for all. Suddenly, your food scale is nowhere to be found. Who knows how much fat is in that burger or how many grams of protein are in that piece of salmon (that’s probably taken a lengthy bath in fatty oil or butter)? Not many people.
BUT, what you can do is worry about what you CAN control.
Before you go out for drinks with friends or to a big family dinner, do your best to eat well during the day. One thing that you should keep in mind is how the balance of your diet will play out when the day is done. Which macros can you almost certainly count on when you are eating at a restaurant or at a normal (non-food tracking) human’s house? You guessed it, fats and carbs. My wife and I usually try to eat things high in protein before we meet up with friends. This way, we know that as we have a burger or some dessert the inevitable fats and carbs will balance with the protein we’ve already taken in. Is it a perfect plan? No. Is it better than just saying “F*ck it” and throwing all discipline out the window? Absolutely.
The thing about flexible dieting is that it should remain flexible. Do your part when you have the control to do so, then enjoy the time with friends and family without thinking about grams of carbs, fats or protein. Enjoy the food, enjoy the night. Quit being a control freak for a few hours. Think about it: an obese person will not be shredded after having one salad, so you’re not going to lose the physique you worked for if one of your macros is over the limit you’ve set for yourself in one day (Disclaimer: If you let one day turn into 45 days of missing your macros “on accident”, that’s on you. We’re talking one day here buddy).
An Assist From Technology: Plan ahead!
There are also plenty of ways that you can prepare yourself and have a plan before going out to eat. If you’re going to a chain restaurant, it’s almost guaranteed the MyFitnessPal has the nutrition and macro info in their database. That way you can arrive at the restaurant knowing what you’re going to have (less time staring at the menu) and an estimate of what your macros look like. Being proactive never hurt anyone. We’ve also found the app “Tell Me Foods” to be helpful. You tell the app how many macros you have to play with and it can tell you what options are available at a whole bunch of chain restaurants. Pretty convenient if you’re not going to some obscure local restaurant.
But I’m going out for drinks….
It’s all good. Just do so in moderation. Face it, alcohol (and many other non-alcoholic beverages) have calories, but no real nutritional value. The macros you get from food and supplements will help your body do what you want it to: grow muscle, lose fat, recover from workouts, etc. Booze won’t do that for you, but it’s okay. If you plan on having a couple drinks once or twice a week (i.e. in moderation), it shouldn’t derail your health and fitness plans. So again, kick back, enjoy a few and get back to tracking tomorrow.
Well hopefully you found these tips helpful. We’re about to unwind for our Friday night, but are doing so with a plan and in moderation. If you get anything out of this we hope it is those two concepts for your weekend tomfoolery: have a plan and enjoy your indulgences in moderation. Life’s too short to be stuck to a scale. Own the title of flexible dieter.
Until next time!
-Nick and Christina