If you’re like me and you’re accountable to what you put in your mouth and follow a Macro-Managed Flexible Diet you must at times feel like the world is trolling you. People think you’re some kind of health freak who eats a restrictive diet of protein powder, peanut butter, chicken and vegetables.
How many times have you heard:
“I could never eat like you do, I’d get so bored of eating healthy”
“I’d offer you, but you don’t eat this sort of stuff”
Even worse are the little digs like:
“Oh you can’t have this can you? You’re on a diet.”
The worst thing is; they just don’t get it.
It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them about the importance of each macronutrient and how so long as 80% of the food you eat is wholesome, nutritious food (or often I just say ‘clean’ as people get that) the rest can be a little bit of what you fancy. They just don’t get it.
Or do they?
Do they really not understand these simple concepts? Because they really are simple; you track what goes into your mouth and so long as the majority is ‘good stuff’ you can enjoy some ‘bad stuff’. It really isn’t all that hard to understand, even from a young age we have been brought up like this.
Our parents focussed on making sure we get plenty of fruit, vegetables and nutritious food (or so we hope), and so long as we ‘eat our greens’ we can enjoy a reward which is normally a dessert type item. At school you had ‘Fish and Chip Fridays’ (if you didn’t — sorry for your loss) and the rest of the week would be mainly balanced meals. Moderation is not a new concept, so why are these people playing dumb?
[bctt tweet=”Moderation is not a new concept”]
1) Noob Troll
Ok the first reason may really be that they just don’t get it, you have to go real dietary 101 on their ass, break it down into the most simple terms for them. You forget how hard it can be, you’ve been counting your macros for ages, you’ve got guestimating meals out down, you eat when it suits you, you don’t sweat it if you screw up one day. You’re well and truly a flexible dieter.
[bctt tweet=”They’re called MACRO’s and all foods contain them in different amounts.”]
They however are still back in the stone-age, their sources of nutritional information have been largely made up of celebrities, magazines, the news and not evidence based material. They monitor your actions:
“Mate that’s too many carbs”
“How can you eat THAT, I though you were on a diet?”
They have rules ingrained in their head and make unsolicited comments about what you eat. So the fact you’re telling them they can pretty much eat what they like so long as they adhere to some basic foundations, is probably pretty scary. It throws dust onto everything they thought they knew:
“What I can eat carbs and lose fat?”
“You mean to tell me I’ve been avoiding eating after 6pm for no reason?”
“No WAY MAN you can’t eat pizza and stay lean, that must be a cheat meal?”
“No cheat meals?!?!”
You have to sit them down and give them the nutritional 101; define calories, explain what macros are, introduce to them the law of thermodynamics. Focus on the big rocks; calories being the biggest and explain how the reason cutting out junk or carbs or whatever food/food group works for fat loss or weight maintenance is down to total calorie intake. Show them your streak on myfitnesspal, show them what you ate each day of the week, take them through what a day for you looks like.
Give them time, once they start looking at you and how you’re acting they will begin to understand. Slowly you will see them talking about calories, comments like:
“I never realised how many calories were in ‘NAMED FOOD'”
— (probably something like nuts or granola; you know those ‘healthy’ foods). Soon they will be Snapchatting you their food with the macro breakdown and a big thumbs up (on that note — hit me up on Snapchat @revivestronger you can even send me your food). They will add you as a friend on myfitnesspal and you will start seeing them build up their streak (provide positive reinforcement and like it).
We’re all human right, new things scare us, and it might terrify them so much that even though you lay-out all the facts, they still ‘hate’ on the way you eat. That puts them into category number 2; the neophobes.
2) NeoPhobe Troll
So this troll continues to call you out when putting your plate on a scale before you put food on it, but they still take all their meals with them in tupperware, their only carb sources are sweet potato, oats and brown rice, oh and they think the fat burning food of gods is Tilapia. Or they think you’re weird for looking at the nutritional information on the back of packets and think you’re over-complicating the issue.
“You just need to eat lots of protein bro”
“I eat whatever I want and stay lean”
“Tilapia thins the skin brah — all kinds of shredzzz”
They’re essentially stuck in their old ways, they’re doing it ‘because that’s how it’s always been done’ they somehow have in their head that it is the best way to do things, without any proof of it being superior. Sure when you go from eating willy nilly to increasing your protein intake you will see good things initially. However, they’re now sold on their approach, it worked once so it must be the way to do things. They’re scared to try something new.
[bctt tweet=”Insanity- doing the same things over & over & expecting a different result”]
I’ve been there, I remember years ago coming across Alan Aragon in some bodybuilding.com forum posts. He was talking about if it fits your macros (IIFYM) and how there are no ‘bad’ foods, and everything can have a place in a diet, it depends on context. Me being the stubborn guy I am, who had for years restricted myself to only foods I deemed ‘clean’ thought Alan was talking crap (don’t worry we are now ‘bros’). The NeoPhobe troll probably feels the same way.
You’re challenging everything they know, they have ingrained beliefs, even if they’re wrong, they are hard to budge.
3) Jealous Troll
The final category is jealously, at first it may not seem like they’re jealous, but if they’re neither a noob or neophobe, then likely they’re jealous. You go through your day eating pretty much what you like, and are in good shape. They on the other-hand probably aren’t lean, muscular and fit, or they’re stuck spinning their wheels, either way they want results like yours. They’re insecure about the way they look and they take this out on you.
“Counting your calories is weird and obsessive!!!”
“Can’t you just enjoy food for being food!!!”
This is the sort of comment you will get from those who are jealous. Their insecurity has led them to be critical of what you do, it isn’t so much that they really think you are weird, it is that by saying so makes them feel better.
[bctt tweet=”People will try to sabotage your change because they’re afraid of what you’ll achieve”]
So while they may make you feel uncomfortable when you opt for having your dressing on the side and asking for no butter on your vegetables, they continue to be jealous; because they want to lose fat, they want to be strong, and you are.
The Best to Deal with Flexible Dieting Trolls
These ‘trolls’ are of course people you know, they could be family, friends and so you can’t just ignore them, block them out. Also making jokes about it and shrugging it off is tiresome;
“Yeah I know I’m a health freak”
— saying stuff like this to get them off your back. Sure it makes them feel better because you have confirmed their thoughts, but you have unnecessarily talked yourself down. So if blocking people out and making a joke of it aren’t long-term solutions; what can you do?
You keep being you, you don’t lie to make someone feel better about the way they are, you don’t become unresponsive — you keep doing your thing. You know you’re bettering yourself each and everyday, you know the food you’re consuming is stuff you love and is taking you to your goals. Keep that up and you will see amazing results, you know who else will these amazing results? The trolls.
Actions speak louder than words, sure you might talk the talk about calories, macros, energy balance etc. but to truly get your point across what better way than with your own progress. You’re not doing it to prove a point, you’re not doing it to convince the trolls, you’re doing it for you and that is what it’s all about.
How do you do this with the constant hate and non-support? I’m lucky, I work in fitness so people are not surprised when I eat differently to them, in fact they expect it.
My advice is to join a group or get into a crowd of like-minded people. Surround yourself with them. It has never been so easy to find people with similar interests to your own, all you have to do is google it or better yet search for a group on facebook. Personally I am in multiple groups where people lift heavy and follow a dietary approach like mine. I recommend you seek these people out and they will provide the environment you need to stick to your guns. You could even join my free facebook group today, because what have you got to lose? Trolls, that’s right.
Your Free Support Network:
- Facebook Groups – Join my free group here
- Snapchat – Join me on snapchat @revivestronger
- Join a fitness forum such as bodybuilding.com
- Get daily motivation & tips daily by signing up to my newsletter.
Final Important Point on Flexible Dieting
Having said all this I want you to take a step back for a minute, because I have been there in the past when the way I ate was impacting others and myself negatively. This was back when I was following a restrictive diet plan, and would shun my mothers food and not go out with friends to eat, I’d only eat ‘my food’.
Now we’re better placed, because we do not restrict our food choices and are flexible with our dietary practices — but are we? This is where you need to take a step back, really assess what you’re doing and if it is something that constitutes a flexible diet. I say this because we all like to think the best of ourselves and sometimes we need someone from the outside to pick us apart.
- You will only eat out at restaurants that have their nutritional information available (Cheeky Nandos anyone?).
- When you eat out you have to take your scale to measure out the food (yes people do this).
- If a food isn’t on MyFitnessPal you stress out big time and send photos of your food to random people on facebook to help you guestimate the calories (happens more often than you think).
- Say you eat out one night, like a normal flexible dieter. But you end up going over your ‘calorie allowance’ by quite some margin, so you decide to do extra cardio and cut calories really low rather than just getting back to your normal eating.
[bctt tweet=”Asking people online to help you guestimate your macros is not flexible dieting.”]
If any of those touch home then you might need to re-consider your response to the trolls and re-think your current eating habits. Are you really enjoying the way you eat? Does it respect personal preferences? Is it socially acceptable? Is it something you could see yourself adhering to for the long-term? — Ask yourself these before moving forward.
The only time the above might have to be necessary is when your goals call for it e.g. you’re in your final months of prep for a physique or bodybuilding show or you have a wedding in a few weeks and really want to look your best. At these times you no longer use flexible dieting to its fullest, you have to pull in the reigns for a short period of time — but you relax them shortly after (this is key). Flexible dieting is a lifestyle after all, and being overly restrictive is not sustainable.