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Have Your Cake And Eat It - 10 ways to be balanced with your diet and still get results.

As part of the Box Programme we encourage people to be balanced i.e Not feel like you’re on a diet. Life is for living after all.

However it’s this living life to the full, which often leads to an expanding waistline and fluffy middles.

But I get it, I also want to have my cake and eat it. Literally. I want to perform well, I want to look good in my speedos, but also I want to eat biscuits, drink beer and eat peanut butter with a spoon out of the jar.

But can you have both?

How can you too be like the IG ‘celebrity’ sporting 6 packs, golden tans, back squatting 180kg and gloating of their post workout binge of pop tarts and Oreo’s. Is it down to genetics, assistance (steroids), a bit of both or can we also scoff fast food and expect to see results.


Maybe a little, but how….

1. Find our your cost of getting in shape

What sacrifices are you willing to make to get the results you want? We don’t always know what it takes to get in shape, which can create a false sense of realism that can affect our motivation going forward.

Think about and try and identify what it really takes to reach your goals. Obviously to lose a few pounds and feel healthier is going to take less dedication and time than a chiselled set of abs to bench 140kg. Knowing your cost of getting in shape will also enable you to become more at ease with what you have to do.

Precision Nutrition, have come up with a fantastic infographic depicted what it takes to get to certain levels of body fat. See what you think:

2. Don’t ban foods

There are no such things as bad foods (except kale), just bad habits. By saying you will NEVER eat that food again (pizza, crisps, ice cream, peanut butter) will only lead you to want these foods even more. And guess what happens when you crack… A spoon and an empty tub of Ben and Jerry’s.

3. Don’t stop and start your diet when you go ‘off plan’

Just because you have a bad day, it does not mean you need to wait until Monday to get back on the horse. An eating pattern should not be set in stone but something that evolves over time. If you have a bad day, accept it and move on.

4. More is not better

Starving yourself, removing all foods that you enjoy will end in failure. Lower the bar initially by slowly building in habits over time. Increasing your benchmarks gradually is what will lead to long-term success.

5. Drop the quick fix mentality

Do you know the story of the hare and the tortoise? Yep, the same is true here, the tortoise wins the race. The choices we make over time, not one day or one hour, dictate the way that our bodies will look and feel. Looking for diet pills (juice plus, weight loss pills), crash diets (Cambridge, Dukan) and jumping headlong into an excessive exercise regime inevitably leads to failure. A drastic drop in kcals is not sustainable and more than likely lead to subsequent weight gain or a performance decrement. Don’t let quick fix thinking distract you from the hard work of changing the unhealthy behaviours that are the root cause of weight gain and poor performance.

6. Focus on your diet as a whole

Foods in isolation aren’t the problem, it’s your whole diet. This is why it pays dividends to step back and analyse your eating as a whole. Is it the gluten that’s making you fat, or eating too much?

7. Be strict with being balanced

An oxymoron I know but calculate how much flexibility you’re allowed over the week. There’s 2 ways you can do this.

Calculate your flexibility - With my clients I try and allow them between 10-20% of leeway. To work this out simply calculate how many meals/snacks you eat on a daily basis, multiply this by 7 to give you your total weekly meals. Then it’s just finding 10-20% so multiplying by 0.1- 0.2.

If you have 35 meals/snacks over the week, you can have 3-4 ‘flexible meals’. (10%) (35 x 0.1 = 3.5). If you eat 6 x daily and have 42 meals over the week, you can have 4-5 ‘flexible meals’ (42 x 0.1).

Fuelling The Functional Athlete is the must have nutrition book if you do sports like CrossFit(tm) or any types of functional fitness.

Track - Get the book or Use our macro calculator or nutrition course to figure out your numbers, then using, track your food and drink intake to stay within your numbers. Although not perfect, the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) approach enables you to be flexible with what you eat and still get success. Obviously you still need to consider the nutrient density of what you’re eating, but still means you can squeeze in booze, bad foods and sweet treats without the guilt.

It is important to note that I’m NOT advocating striving for as many cheese strings and pop tarts as possible in your diet. A healthy athlete IS a better athlete! Tracking will also help you understand the calorific value of different food groups, the amount of fibre, protein and fat will help you make better choices without sabotaging your results.

8. Build an environment conducive with your goals

Do you have access to those sweet things, are they in your house? Usually if something is in the vicinity, it’s in reach and there’s not much effort to grab it you will eat, and keep eating it. So don’t buy it. The harder it is to get hold of a food the less likely you’re going to eat it.

9. Get strict for 8-12 weeks

If you have a short time frame and want results. Set yourself some goals, give yourself a time frame and give it everything. It’s only for a short period of time.

10. Control hyper palatable foods

Foods that are high in salt AND fat AND sugar are very hard to control. Limiting these over a period of time can actually dampen cravings so you’re not seeking out these types of foods (Further reading - Energy density, diet composition and palatability: influences on overall food energy intake in humans:

If you want to find out more about how we work then check out the Box Framework here.

Or, if you wanted to find out more about one of our coaching programmes check out:

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