The Chicken Wing Phenomenon

Part 2 of 5 Crazy Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight.

< Back to Weekend Delight.

“Every once in awhile” is usually anything but… I’ve heard it referred to as the chicken wing phenomenon:

Monday: I haven’t had wings in awhile, so this one time won’t hurt.

Tuesday: I crushed my workouts all of last week, and I’m just not feeling it today. I’ll be fine if I miss just today. 

Wednesday: I haven’t had pizza in, gosh, at least a couple weeks. I’ll just have two or three slices.

Thursday: I’m on it today. Got my workout in and ate well! Super under calories, so no need to track anything at dinner. Insta-selfie #noexcuses

Friday: Crushed that week. I was on point almost the WHOLE time. A couple drinks with the gang won’t hurt – I haven’t had alcohol all month. Oooh, somebody ordered appetizers. 

Saturday: Weeeeekenddddddd! Yes, finally a cheat meal – I’m getting a milkshake with lunch; I haven’t had dessert all week!

Sunday: Going to eat well and prep for an awesome week to come. I deserve just one tiny piece of chocolate. Dang, I crushed it.


It’s easy to see how crazy this looks from the outside looking in, but it’s near impossible when you’re in the thick of it.

Our poor perception of “every once in a while” is exacerbated by a common misconception: quality of calories is not the same thing as quantity of calories. The two get confused often. Just because you make quality choices 90% of the time, does not mean you’re going to lose weight. It’s all about total calories, and that other 10% of the “time” is usually the calorie-dense food that throws people over their goals. 10% of the time can be 30% or more of your calories.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 1.37.33 PM.png

Alternative #1: Get black and white with it. Most of us suck at moderation. This is why people usually have (short-term) success with hardcore diets. Every once in a while means once or twice a week – set an acceptable goal and monitor it for efficacy.

Alternative #2: Track everything you eat while you’re losing weight to hit your deficit goals, and adjust as necessary.

***But, I’m so careful about that other 10%, there’s no way it could make that big of an impact… actually, it often does: we suck at judging portion sizes, and it’s not just our own fault >

2 thoughts on “The Chicken Wing Phenomenon

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