Are You Unconsciously Incompetent?

People who practise both flexible dieting and deadlifts fall into one of the following 3 categories:

1 - unconsciously incompetent 

2 - consciously incompetent 

3 - consciously competent 

The first group of people aren’t doing it correctly but don’t know it. They are unconscious of their incompetence.

The second group also aren’t doing it correctly, either flexible dieting or deadlifts, but with one fundamental difference - they know it. The conscious recognition of their incompetence is a vital step if competency is to ever be reached. 

I mean… how can someone improve on what they're doing and reach a competent level if they don't recognise they aren’t doing it correctly to begin with? I think we all know someone who is practicing something, thinking they are crushing it but in reality there is a lot of room for improvement.

The third group of people, the consciously competent, are who the first group of people think they are. This third group of people are the only ones who will reap the full benefits from their practice as they are actually competent in their practice and therefore making forward steps.

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But a deadlift is a deadlift and flexible dieting is flexible dieting. How can someone be ‘incompetent’ at either of these things? 

The benefits of a deadlift is a stronger back and core, stronger grip strength and legs as well as a perkier peach, not to mention improved general posture. But if deadlifts are performed incorrectly, aka by an ‘incompetent’ deadlifter, the results could be torn muscles or bulging disks sending the health and strength of the deadlifter in the opposite desired direction. 

And if the deadlifter is in group 1 and therefore don’t know they are doing their lifts incorrectly, they have a pretty slim chance of seeking improvements in how they go about their deadlift.

Same goes with flexible dieting. Lots of people give flexible dieting a go but aren’t sure how to set their calories and macros so they just do the best they can, sometimes taking a stab in the dark or copying the claimed calories of their favourite #instamodel they follow. #1200standard

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As you can imagine, starting on an inappropriate calorie target isn’t going to produce optimal results, if any, not to mention the weird and whacky amounts of protein, carbs and fats people decide is best to eat within those calories. 

If these people THINK they have set themselves up for success you’d be right to this they belong in group 1, the ‘unconsciously incompetent’ group.

But let's say a person does set their calories appropriately and their macros too, and they also know how to adjust them accordingly as the weeks progress….

… Let's also say that this person isn’t ‘forgetting’ to log some of their food in their food diary and is ending each day within a few grams of each of their macros targets. In this case, the dieter should be seeing results, right? Wouldn’t this dieter be in the third group of people, the ‘consciously competent’ group?

Usually no and here is why... 

Other than setting targets incorrectly in the first place or ‘forgetting’ to log some food, the biggest mistake an everyday flexible dieter makes is using the incorrect macros for the food they record. 

There are various ways to keep track of your food and macro intake with the most common one being ‘My Fitness Pal’. This app has a database of food the user can search and an option to scan the barcodes of packets so the nutrition info can be instantly transported onto the app and the macros calculated for you.

The problem here is that the there are various options for any one search that all have very different macros. 

Which of those options is correct? 

Usually people have no idea how to tell so just take a guess.

When the dieter scans the barcode of a food in the app, it’s not uncommon for different info to appear in the food diary to what the actual macros are as per the packet info say it is. Too often the dieter assumes it will be correct so does not check. 

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Finally, user error can be in the form of dieters not recording what they eat properly either because they estimate portion sizes instead of actually weighing it on the kitchen scales or they eat out often and have to guess some of the ingredients and amounts, commonly underestimating the amount of butter and oil used i food. 

Clearly we can see here that many of those who THINK they are ‘consciously competent’ at their practise of flexible dieting are indeed not and their lack of results is likely due to their user error or ‘incompetence’, not the claim the ‘flexible dieting doesn’t work’. 

The recognition of incompetence, pushing dieters into the second group, the ‘consciously incompetent’, is necessary if skills of macro counting are to be improved to a competent level where results will follow. 

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There are ways to find accurate information on foods you’re eating and ways to add this info into My Fitness Pal, as well as ways to overcome the barcode situation and inaccuracy from not weighing food or eating out. 

Nobody likes to admit they are incompetent at something. I encourage you to do so in the name of personal growth, humility, progress and results. Nobody knows everything and it more than ok to admit it. 

Let's take a moment to think about the methods of which you set your calories and your macros. How often you actually stick to your macros and the methods you use to track your macros. 

Which group do you think you fall in? 



Diet Smart. Not Hard.

Flex Success Coach: Lizzy