We know that creating a calorie deficit often means surrendering the things we love to eat, all those sweets and treats go by the wayside in order to lower that magical number on the scales. I can understand how hard that can be, so when new eating patterns like IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and cheat meals come along it’s not hard to jump on the bandwagon and allow all those goodies slip easily back into your life.

But knowing your off switch is important!

Diets that allow a bit more flexibility with eating whilst you are losing weight have become really popular in recent times, which is fantastic for the industry. Allowing clients to eat more palatable foods can help reduce cravings and binges in the long run, meaning that adherence increases and we all know with better adherence comes better results. But you still have to proceed with caution as flexible eating can also become a barrier to results.

A common theme within flexible eating is living for the weekend. This means you are going to be really good in the week, creating yourself a calorie deficit so you can let go a bit at the weekend. This may include having a drink with friends, snacking on your favourite treat or even having that takeaway you’ve been craving all week. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, you just need to know where your off switch is and not let your eating get out of control.

What does the maths say?

We know that we need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight so if our maintenance intake (the amount of calories to keep our weight the same) is 2000 kcal we need to eat less than that for weight loss to happen.

So we set about a diet that will feed us 1700 kcal a day, Monday to Friday, that’s 1500 kcal under maintenance and in theory creating enough of a deficit to start losing weight. So if we plan on letting ourselves off the leash a little bit at the weekend we only have a 1500 kcal buffer over 2 days to ensure we continue to lose weight. Let’s be fair, 1500 calories of those nice palatable foods isn’t hard to consume. Before you know it you’ve eaten into your deficit and stopped all your progress for that week. Eat like this for a few weeks and you’ll be permanently in a plateau.

So whilst it is important to enjoy a treat here and there, we need to be a little bit more savvy in what we do to ensure we’re not using up all our hard earned deficit and the results keep on coming.