What is “Flexible Dieting”?
Flexible dieting is a style of dieting that is based around counting the three main macro-nutrients that you consume daily (carbohydrates, protein and fat). This style of diet can lead to long term success because of its ability to be less strict. You are able to choose the foods you want to eat and when you want to eat them.
The word gets a bad reputation because 95% of them fail. The reason they fail is because they are a short term solution, are unrealistic and unsustainable. Most dieters attempt to lose weight and reach goals by making radical changes and completely restrict themselves from eating a certain foods or entire groups all together. Going between the extremes often results in a failed diet attempt. Flexible dieting allows you to find balance.
For this style of calorie restriction these are a few of my recommendations:
- Body Weight Scale: I recommend that you weight yourself daily. Weigh yourself naked, every morning when you wake up and after using the restroom. Your weight will fluctuate week to week and using the same scale every day over the week you can see you average change over weeks’ time. Many things will fluctuate your weight: water intake, hormone levels, exercise intensity, travel, salt, large meals etc.
- Food Scale: a food scale will allow you to be as precise as possible. The size of cups can be deceiving and 1 table spoon could turn into 2 very quickly. The most accurate way to work flexible dieting is to weigh everything.
- Calorie Tracking App: this will be essential so you can track what you are eating each day. I recommend MyFitnessPal, MyMacros, and LifeSum. For the foods without labels, a helpful website to find accurate macro-nutrient is: www.calorieking.com .
- Weekly progress photos: this will help you monitor changes in your body composition that will help me make custom macro-nutrient breakdowns.
- Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate
- The primary role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body. We store energy from carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in our liver and muscles.
- Protein – 4 calories per gram of protein
- Protein is a well-known macronutrient for it’s role in muscle recovery from exercise. Protein is are the ‘the building blocks of life’. Unlike carbohydrate and fat, there is no way for our bodies to store excess protein for further use, so it is important to have an adequate amount of protein on a daily basis for health and recovery.
- Fat – 9 calories per gram of fat
- Dietary fat plays a crucial role in hormone balance.
- Alcohol – 7 calories per gram
- Does not provide any nutritional value other than calories.
Feel free to eat as many or few meals as you desire. The most important factor is total daily calories. As long as you hit your target macro-nutrients goal for the day, it doesn’t matter if you have 2 meals or 10 meals.
To optimize performance and recovery around exercise, I recommend a higher amount of quick digesting carbs before and after a workout with a lower amount of protein and low fat.
Other terms or tricks to keep in mind:
- RFFYM – real food fits your macros, this will be used in different recipes
- Macros – short term for flexible dieting macronutrients
- IIFYM- if it fits your macros, commonly referred to when looking at different recipes because a lot of things will fit your macros
- Cook in bulk, it makes life easy
- As long as you hit your protein and stay within your calorie goal you are in range.
- Carbs – a “5 point variance” once you determine the number of carbs you are eating try to stay within 5 above or 5 below. The more consistent the better, if your lifestyle is not conducive to this strict style then concentrate on protein first and calories second
- Fats- a “2 point variance” once you determine the number of fats you are eating try to stay within 2 above or 2 below. The more consistent the better, if your lifestyle is not conducive to this strict style then concentrate on protein first and calories second .
- Fiber – try to remain above 25 grams.
- Water: half your body weigh in ounces, +4 oz or every 15 mins you workout and +8 for every cup of coffee you consume.
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