Before Flexible Dieting, the word “dieting” felt like temporary suffocation, and a means to an end.
As a recovered yo-yo dieter with a history of body dysmorphia and eating disorders, I’d feel my anxiety levels rise whenever I attempted a new diet.
I’d tell myself that I had to fit into the parameters of whatever program or eating plan I agreed to do. Most diets are set up to fail because of unrealistic approaches and extreme methods. As participants, we hope the next diet we try is the one thing that will change what we don’t appreciate about our bodies. When in reality, it’s our mindset, behaviors, and habits we have to lean into before our bodies change.
Most diets will leave us feeling hungry, irritated, unfulfilled and emotionally exhausted. Worse, many diets create a warped perception of food in general which lead to eating disorder, excessive weight gain, and confusion of what to do next.
My decision to enter my first fitness competition was for all the wrong reasons. I was searching for perfection, assuming once I had the leanest, skinniest body I would experience a deeper sense of worth.
My relationship with food during that phase of my life was complicated. As a bikini competitor, I had to change my overall perception of diet and nutrition to reach my goals. Looking for a new way of eating, led to the discovery of Flexible Dieting. I learned what worked best for me and my body, rather than following everyone’s else’s food “plans.”
What is Flexible Dieting?
With Flexible Dieting, there are no set ‘foods’ that are inherently “good” or “bad” or “healthy” or ‘junk,” and there are no foods that will magically make you lose weight. To achieve the desired body goal, you can eat whatever you want as long as you maintain a caloric deficit while hitting your targeted macronutrient goals.
Flexible dieting is simply calculating your daily caloric intake then breaking it down into macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) to achieve a desired body composition goal. Once you have determined your total daily calories, the calories are then broken down into three main macronutrients: Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate.
One gram of each macro has a calorie value.
1 Gram of Protein = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Fat = 9 Calories
All foods contain calories and all calories consist of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients “Macros” are large molecules (protein, carbs, fat) whereas, micronutrients “Micros” are smaller nutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Flexible dieting works best when you know how many macros you need in a day.
Why it Works!
From my research and experiences, it’s has replaced the antiquated methods of dieting while eliminating the diet cycle I had struggled with in the past by creating a lifestyle diet I’m now able to maintain.
No foods are off limits while Flexible Dieting. The concept teaches you how to choose foods that will help you achieve your desired body. The approach to Flexible Dieting is maintainable and sustainable, which you’re more likely to adhere to for its mental and emotional benefits and stability.
There are levels of Flexibility Dieting. The first level is understanding the nutritional value of the foods you choose. The second level is to learn how your body responds to the foods choices. The third level is listening to your body and asking your body what it needs to feel fueled and fulfilled.
Have your cake and eat it too!
By learning how your body responds to the foods you eat you give yourself the flexibility to enjoy life i.e. social and special events, holidays, and meals with your friends and family. The real key to flexible dieting is holding yourself accountable and keeping track of what you’re eating. The keyword being: tracking.
While other diets require you to count your calories, Flexible Dieting is about the makeup of the caloric food intake. By focusing on your macronutrients, you can still achieve your goals even while enjoying life with everyone else. As with all weight and fat loss diets, Flexible Dieting included, one must create a caloric deficit. If you’re not creating a caloric deficit, you can eat all the “good foods” you want and still not get the results you desire.
How to Manage Your Macros
For simple math purposes, let’s think of it as setting a (cash) budget. For example, you have $2100 for the day, and you must spend it the three “macro” departments, $700 on protein, $700 on carbs, $700 on fats.
Don’t worry, you’ll get more money/calories to spend the next day. Unlike real shopping, unfortunately, you don’t get a refund on your poor (food) choices. Choose wisely!
You wouldn’t fill up a fancy car with low-grade gas, neither should you fill your body with low-grade (nutrient) foods.
The quality of your food choices matter and will determine the quality of the outcome. I recommend using an 80/20 approach consisting primarily of whole real, foods, while still being able to enjoy treats resulting in creating long-term adherence. Although it’s a macronutrient based diet, it is essential to get your vitamins and minerals for optimal health and wellness. Balance and moderation are key.
Keep in mind that just because something fits your macros, doesn’t necessarily mean it should.
Flexible dieting supports a healthy mind, body & soul connection.