Accuracy, Flexibility, and Consistency
Implementing quantitative changes to your diet is all about balancing these three qualities. If you become overly focused and accurate, you’re going to lose some of your flexibility, you’re going to lose your sanity, and inevitably you’re going to make a diet very difficult to follow.
We only have so many things that we can focus on at a time, and our willpower and ability to juggle and handle multiple stresses is not infinite. You can’t expect to chase down every grain of rice that falls off the food scale every time, 3 to 5 times a day while hitting your macros with perfect accuracy and expect for that to be a sustainable plan.
That will stress you out eventually or at the very least take your time and energy away from more important things in life.
What will stress you out even more than the process of trying to be overly detailed and accurate is what happens once you run out of energy to do this, and you can’t do it consistently anymore. Then, you start to bounce back between the extremes of losing control completely and overeating, and rigidly tracking until you lose it again. Living in the two extremes is something to avoid, and to do so we really want to make sure that we have a balance of these three factors.
We want to be only as accurate as we need to be in order to be consistent enough that we can get to our goals.
Different goals are going to require different levels of accuracy, but they all require consistency, which means adapting your flexibility to your goal. In research, dietary restraint is highly associated with people who can lose weight, but flexible dietary restraint is associated with those who lose weight, keep it off, and stay sane while doing so .So determining the appropriate amount of flexibility for your situation is very important.
For example, a bodybuilder who is in the final stages of prep trying to get shredded glutes is going to need more accuracy than someone who has an undetermined time limit to lose 100 lb.
The more accurate you are, perhaps the more consistent you will be in hitting your targets and achieving your goals. However, you might also be more stressed depending on how rigid you are in your pursuit of accuracy, which could negatively impact long-term consistency. The less accurate you are, the more flexible you might be. But if you are too inaccurate and way too flexible to the point where you’re not consistent, you won’t get to your goals.
As you can see, this is a balancing act that must always be appreciated when considering nutrition.