If you’re anything like me, your fridge already has a few Easter eggs on chill, and the anticipation for some workplace chocolate gifts this week is strong.
So naturally you’re thinking there’s no way I can fit THAT chocolate bunny into my macros – my dietary fat target is too low or, I’d have to starve all day to make it work.
Whilst there is some truth in that thinking, it doesn’t have to be a completely miserable or restrictive experience. After all, flexible dieting is all about reducing the restrictions and maximizing the enjoyment around food, without sacrificing your hard work.
So if you want to enjoy a 650 calorie Ferrero Easter Bunny (or two) and still keep your abs, it’s all about strategy.
Rather than concerning yourself with your daily macronutrient intake limitations, you can think of the bigger picture and consider your protein intake as the most essential macronutrient for holding onto the type of gains we want – that lean muscle. So lets keep protein as a daily priority now and throughout the Easter break. That means you’re tracking your protein intake daily and hitting your desired intake (consider your body weight in KG x 2-2.5 as a decent intake if you’re still new to this).
Although we generally pay pretty close attention to our daily carbohydrate and fat intake, it is far less important in the grand scheme of things in comparison to your daily protein intake and weekly caloric intake.
Did you notice that? I said weekly caloric intake, not daily.
So rather than looking for ways to fit that hazelnut chocolate into your daily macros, make things easier by fitting it into your weekly caloric intake, and just adjust a few days here and there to end up exactly where you’d typically be on a total caloric intake load for the week, with a pretty consistent daily protein intake in the process.
If you’re slightly confused, this is what it might look like, assuming you have quite a restricted caloric intake in a fat loss phase.
Typical Daily Caloric Intake: 1,650 (OMG, that’s so low?? Relax, it’s just an example).
7-Day Total Caloric Intake: 11,550
– Allow 1-2 days at 2,300 calories per day (that’s your normal diet with the addition of a bunny per day in case you’re wondering)
Lets say you go with the 2 days of fun. 2 bunnies in total, or you end up with those cheap tasting non-branded Easter eggs, but you eat them anyways.
The remaining calories of the 7 day period will be 6,950.
With two days of fun locked in, that’s 6,950 calories spread over 5 days positioned before or after Easter to keep things on track. In other words, essentially 1,390 calories per day for 5 days if you’re looking to keep things consistent.
Now if we’re being honest, all that math and strategic planning can seem like more work than you’d care for, and a few days at a lower than comfortable caloric intake to make up for the Easter fun isn’t very exciting either.
Well, there’s always option two.
Rather than stressing yourself out during a time we’d rather relax and enjoy with friends and family, it might be the perfect time – for some of us, to shift to a mindful eating approach.
Based on my coaching data, I’ve noticed a high level of success with clients who take a periodic mindful eating approach, as often times they find themselves consuming less total calories over the week, as their hunger levels shift based on daily intake and physical activity. In some cases this could mean a day of overfeeding followed by a day or two of reduced hunger.
Mindful eating is an approach I would consider to be the end goal when it comes to flexible dieting. I mean after the learning curve involved in flexible dieting, you start to learn enough to ditch the food scale and guesstimate things day to day.
Could the Easter break be the perfect timing for the transition? Or are you already filled with fear just thinking about it?
At the end of the day, Easter is a time to celebrate and relax. If you aren’t in a definite time-based fat loss phase, don’t get so caught up on the specifics of your diet. You’ve probably been tracking macros and seeing positive results for many weeks, so regardless of a 2-4 day setback, you know what to do to keep moving closer to your goal.
I always say the worst position you can be in is not seeing any results in respect to your physique or training performance, and not having any idea why. Regardless of how you approach the Easter break, when you jump on the scale or look in the mirror a day or two later, will it really effect how you look a week or month later? In most cases it won’t, because getting back on track is already in your nature.
If you’re wondering what my personal approach is, I’ve got a powerlifting meet on the Easter weekend, so I’ll be sticking to my macros to ensure I make weight for the competition. Once I step off that platform you can bet I won’t be holding back on a bunny or two, with no regrets or concerns attached to it.