Don’t let perfection come in the way of good enough. Something is better than nothing. Consistency over time is always going to be better than perfection for a short period.
Client check in comes in. I open it and it’s half blank. “Sorry I didn’t track this weekend it was too hard in Whistler or when I had 3 parties in 2 days and wasn’t sure what I was eating.” Now this is common at this time of year, and that’s a fair point, and I get it. But I also think we can do better, and I can do better in fully explaining what tracking is for and what it is not for.
Full disclosure, this post was inspired by a post on Facebook by Stesha Gulick from In3 Nutrition to give credit where credit is due. And it totally got me thinking. When we can’t be perfect, why is giving up our go-to?
What it tells me is that as a coach, I have failed my clients along the way and I am allowing them to continue to feel like they either succeed and win my praises or fail and have behaved badly.
Tracking and sending your macros is not for you to win your coach’s approval; it’s not for me to pat you on the back and say it’s a job well done. If I ever made you feel that way, I am truly sorry. I never want this to feel like a report card for you to get graded on.
Think of tracking as data collection. The data we collect through tracking provides us with the feedback we need to continue identifying changes we can make in order to move you towards your goal. Without attaching emotions to it, without making behaviours good or bad. Collecting the data for the week lets us see patterns and trends and better helps you find that right balance, and that balance may very well include a daily cheat meal planned weekly into your macros. We all need to find our own individual balance and ways to succeed. And in my mind, there is no perfect way to do this. What will be successful is what we can sustain long term.
Let’s say your sister is in town and you know you will be eating out most meals. It is tempting not to track, because one, it will be hard to be eating within your macros and two, you will be mostly estimating and guessing macros.
By continuing to track, even if it’s not perfect we can gather more data.
Say you go over your fat all weekend and realize that you actually had slept much better. That is great bio-feedback to collect. Or inversely, you realize that your digestion was terrible all weekend. Or you go over your carbs all weekend and Monday set all kinds of PR. Maybe then it is time we revise your prescription.
In my case, for example, I know that when I have alcohol the scale bumps up for a few days and I retain water. Now it does not surprise me anymore and I know it can take as long as 3 days for me to get back to my baseline. I have observed this over time. This doesn’t mean I will never have a drink again, it just means that I know what to expect and I won’t freak out the next morning on the scale.
Try to step back, see it objectively and learn from it. We are trying to build a lifestyle, not set some strict rules and guidelines that will be impossible to follow long term. Be open with your coach. There does come a point where we all need to accept that success requires a level of compliance. But no one expects perfection overnight, or ever. I am a firm believer in consistency over perfection.
So enjoy your Christmas parties this weekend and log in your macros without judgment because we know that making memories with loved ones over eggnog can also be part of the plan!