What is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting is just as it sounds. FLEXIBLE. As in, it doesn’t cut any foods out of your diet ala the keto or paleo diets. Instead, flexible dieting allows you to eat the foods you love as long as it will enable you to reach your calorie and macronutrient goals for the day.
We love flexible dieting because of that. For example, if you have followed us for a while, you know Melissa’s obsession with French Fries. Flexible dieting allows her to devour (Yes, Meli. I said “DEVOUR”) french fries a couple of days a week without hurting her weight loss process.
Benefits of Flexible Dieting:
- It allows you to eat the foods you love (within a limit).
- I.e., eat three slices of pizza instead of 5.
Research has shown that when calories and protein are equal, a low sugar diet isn’t better for weight loss than a high sugar diet (1).
- It is sustainable. Long gone are the days of eating nothing but salads to no end just to hate life.
- No more cheat days. By eating your favorite foods, you don’t have to eat like a crazy person on the weekends.
- It doesn’t feel like you are dieting.
- There is data that suggests that flexible dieting yields fewer eating disorders, fewer anxieties about body image, and a lower body mass index (BMI) when contrasted to strict dieting (2) (3).
- Researchers also found a higher likelihood of a successful weight loss when they included flexible dieting in a one-year weight loss program. In addition, the researchers also found that people who incorporated flexible dieting were less prone to overeating, had a lower BMI, and had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who followed a strict diet (4).
Cons of Flexible Dieting:
As with everything in life, flexible dieting also has some drawbacks.
- Some people may abuse the freedom a flexible diet can give them and eat nothing but cakes and m&ms (although that sounds amazing).
- People may only eat foods they can track.
- You would have to weigh and track all the food you eat, which could get annoying, especially at the beginning of the diet.
- Some people might struggle with the idea of extra flexibility.
Understand that weight loss is about creating long-term sustainable habits. Although not easy, we believe flexible dieting gives you the best chance to form those habits — especially when compared to other diets.
The issues with many diets out there are that:
Popular diets eliminate the foods you love.
- The Keto and Atkins diets eliminate carbs.
- The Paleo diet eliminates dairy, sugar, flour.
Studies show that people who completely eliminate sugar from their diets end up craving sugar, even more, making it hard to stick to their weight loss diet (5).
Most Popular diets are not sustainable.
- Many people hop on a Keto or any other popular diet and lose weight. But as soon as their diet is over…BAM!! They start eating like before their diet started and regain their weight back and, in some cases, put on even more lbs.
You can’t reward yourself.
- It’s the weekend, and you stuck to your diet throughout the whole week. You are at a birthday party, and that cake looks mighty delicious. But you are on a keto diet. That means you cannot eat even a tiny slice of cake because you’ll probably fall out of ketosis. But that’s not the only diet that won’t allow you to eat that piece of cake:
- Low carb – too many carbs
- Vegan – the cake has dairy
- Whole30 – you can’t eat sugar
- Paleo – you can’t eat sugar, flour, or dairy
Guidelines for a flexible diet:
1. You need to know your TDEE ( Total Daily Energy Expenditure). To find out your TDEE, click here.
2. Decide if you want to lose weight, maintain, or gain weight.
3. Calculate your macronutrients. To calculate your macros, click here.
4. Track your food intake. I know this is a pain in the ass. But how exactly will you see if you are eating on a caloric deficit, at maintenance, or a surplus if you don’t track what you eat?
5. Don’t eat like an asshole.
- Just because you are on a flexible diet doesn’t mean that you get to eat six candy bars in a day. You still have to hit your macros. So, while you might be able to eat those candy bars and reach your calorie and maybe even your carb goals for the day, there’s no way in hell you would reach your protein and fiber goals. So, if you are going to eat your favorite candy bar, do it in moderation.
6. Hit your macros. Although, that doesn’t mean you have to hit every macro goal down to the decimal point.
- I.e., If your macro goals are:
- 170 grams of protein, 190 grams of carbs, 88 fat, and 32 grams of fiber
- But you end up with:
- 176 grams of protein, 187 grams of carbs, 84 grams of fat, and 36 grams of fiber
- I.e., If your macro goals are:
Try to get as close as you can. If you end up within 5 grams of any macro, you can call that day a success.
7. Consume enough protein to stimulate muscle growth (6).
8. Eat enough fiber. A good number to shoot for is 15 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories you eat.
9. Flexibility is the name of the game. On a flexible diet, some days you can eat more carbs than fat, while on others you can eat more fat than carbs. It’s all up to you.
10. At least 20% of your calories must come from fat, though. The body NEEDS dietary fat. Dietary fat is essential for our bodies.
11. The majority of your focus should go to nutrient-dense foods. Foods that will keep you satiated during your fat loss journey.
There’s no reason why you should restrict yourself from eating some of your favorite foods. Flexible dieting allows you to not only eat these foods but it encourages you to do so. Doing this helps you stick to your diet and prevents you from binge eating.
If you are serious about losing weight, we highly recommend you give flexible dieting a try. It is easy to stick to, it allows you to eat the foods you love (in moderation), and it’s very sustainable.
Are you struggling to lose weight? “The complete fat loss guide” teaches you not only how to lose weight but how to keep the pounds from ever coming back.