Flexible Dieting as a strategy for recovery

Photo a client sent from breakfast. Just look at those pancakes!

I’ve had the idea for this post for a while now, and I’ve been trying to reconcile my hatred for jerk offs who market weight loss stuff towards people with eating disorders, with the fact that I seem to have a good system here that can help people in their recovery. Well, this site is all about my FREE program anyway… so it’s not really “marketing”, it’s just a blog post designed to help people. So I feel like that’s all right.

As far as I can remember and if I’m not mistaken, I don’t think I’ve ever written on here specifically addressing people with eating disorders. Of course the whole site was inspired by being appalled with a lot of what many people and organisations within the diet, weight loss and fitness industries promote, which I consider dangerous and harmful misinformation.

For example, anything that suggests any or all of the following:

  1. Being an “historically normal” size and weight is some highly unlikely and unreasonable goal, that only applies to other people and not to you.
  2. You need to “trick” your body into shedding fat, through some unusual or unnatural (not to mention top secret) method or product.
  3. All these foods that you like to eat are BAD and you should never eat them. They make you fat and sick. You shouldn’t eat for enjoyment.
  4. To lose weight, eat less. And less. AND LESS. Burn more and more and more through pointless exercise as well. We’ll sell you some gadget or other to track how many calories you burn, as if you need to make up for not having gone without food today.

ALL OF THAT SHIT IS DEAD WRONG and the OPPOSITE of what you should be thinking if you actually want to be happy and get into what ever your idea of “in shape” for your body type is. It’s definitely the message you keep getting from products, articles and adverts on the tv and the internet though, isn’t it?

Well… I’ve been highly critical of this sort of stuff, called the offending marketers and authors out about it, told them they’re scumbags and said “what a terrible, horrible, damaging idea that is to put into the head of a person who’s already struggling with their self image”. And I guess a lot of people have read some of this, read a little more, and thought to themselves “this is exactly what i needed to read”… and I get a lot of messages from people who’ve finally learned to reject all of those lies, believe in themselves a bit more, and they write in and tell me they’ve stopped restricting their intake, stopped feeling guilty about eating foods that they enjoy, AND they’re also seeing better progress than ever before with their physical transformation as well as making huge strides with their mental health.

Now that part there is so important so I’ll say it again: recovering and eating a normal amount does not mean giving up on your goal body. It actually means you will see much better results from training, because at long last you are finally getting enough fuel! Your BRAIN will be getting enough fuel as well, meaning you’ll be able to notice and appreciate the positive changes in your body.

Now, hopefully by now you’re feeling a bit inspired, and you’re starting to believe that you CAN get healthy, happy, and into your goal shape if you switch up your way of thinking a little bit and adopt a healthier, more productive strategy. If that’s the case, good.

Get comfortable while I fill you in on why Flexible Dieting is perfect for you.

1. We do not restrict to low calories.

If you want results, you need to be fuelled up appropriately. We covered this already. Therefore, the way I approach Flexible Dieting is to focus on exceeding a minimum calorie target. Any less than [this much] means you’re under fuelled.

Initially, we do log our meals and track our intake. Partially so we can fine tune the balance of protein, fats and carbs, but primarily to make sure we are getting enough of everything. Enough total calories, and enough of each macronutrient.

A lot of the people who come to me for Online Coaching are already so active that the idea of them eating too much is so remote as to be ridiculous. Especially the taller people! We’ll still set an ideal daily range, but again we focus on making sure we don’t under fuel, and to a lesser extent on balancing our macronutrient ratios. We’re not terribly concerned with the unlikely possibility of “over eating”, for reasons I’ll get to shortly.

2. Nothing is off limits.

That’s what Flexible Dieting is all about. You build your own plan, to meet your requirements, consisting of all your favourite foods in appropriate amounts. Since we’ve established a sensible and appropriate calorie range in step one, we KNOW everything up to that limit is going to be utilised as fuel, and to recover and adapt to training. All of it, even the ice cream. If you can fit it into your target calorie and macronutritient ranges, it is all making you happier, healthier and stronger.

With flexible dieting, there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Only different choices that may be more or less easy to fit into your targets. This means no more guilt or feeling like you’re “failing” at your diet because you want to eat something just for the enjoyment of it.

This part is SO important.

3. But what if I go over my targets? What if I eat too much?

As we’ve talked about above, for highly active people, or just people who fit in some strategic training most days to make up for an otherwise inactive lifestyle (like me, believe it or not), your fuelling requirements are so much higher than you probably realise right now. For the people who are both extra tall and extra active… forget about it, you’d really have to go out of your way to eat a huge amount of “highest calories in smallest serving size” type of products to have any sort of negative impact on your progress. Seriously, check in with some of my girls via my facebook page and ask them how much they get to eat. It’s not because they’re “lucky” or anything like that, it’s just how things work.

Let’s say you’re trying to lose a significant amount of weight though, so it is more important to keep within your ideal target range as often as possible, to ensure that you make consistent progress towards your (lower, but still healthy) goal weight. What happens when you do go outside of those targets because you had a bad day, had a party to go to, or just felt like a big pizza session because you’re awesome, pizza is awesome, and it just makes sense that you should put two awesome things together?

This is something I don’t hear anyone else talking about. I see a lot of people giving out advice about how to avoid temptation, or how to make the healthiest choice when you have to go out to a restaurant for some unavoidable social function, or whatever else.

I say screw that, eat up and enjoy yourself. Am I crazy? Well… a little bit, but this is still sound advice, read on.

4. Think medium – long term, not day to day.

This is the opposite of the crash diet mentality, right? We want to establish good habits that are suitable to long term maintenance of our physical and mental health, while also getting our body shape into it’s best shape.

Let’s think over the course of say, 12 weeks. We dial in appropriate targets, and generally speaking we’re getting “not too little, not too much… just about right to produce our goal body weight and type” for 12 weeks. You’d expect quite tremendous progress over that period of time, wouldn’t you?

Now let’s say you did have that one day when you threw those targets out the window and ate pizza until there was none left… completely obliterating your maximum calorie goal for that day. In the context of 12 weeks of getting it “about right”, would that really make any difference whatsoever? Would it really bring all your results to an end? No chance in hell.

If you get it about right most of the time, long term, you’re going to see great results without having to worry terribly much about anything. Personally I have demolished an entire family sized pizza every Saturday night (in fact, I’m about to order one as soon as I’m finished writing this entry) this Spring, while still dropping 6kg to trim up in time for Summer. In fact, I actually dropped below my goal weight and had to increase my daily targets… while still eating a massive pizza every weekend. Why? Because one day out of seven is a statistical anomaly, at worst.

Results come from what you do most of the time, not what you do on occasion.

Let’s not get too carried away with this pizza stuff though. My fuel requirements are massive even while trimming up for Summer. You guys and girls should probably just have a medium sized pizza, not a whole family sized one.

5. We are retraining our appetite, and our intuition.

Your appetite can be trained the same as anything else. If you’ve been under eating for a long time, you’re likely to say “but I can’t eat any more, I’m not hungry”. Soon though, your body gets used to getting that amount. Once your appetite is in tune with your actual requirements, and you have gotten a good feel for about how much of different food types you can fit into your daily intake… you’ll be able to make good decisions on the fly, without needing to plan or track your meals.

The most common feedback I keep getting over and over again from paying clients is “I feel like I’m just eating whatever I want all day, and I’ve never looked or felt better”.

Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

I’ve just updated my official business site with a post explaining How Flexible Dieting Works In Weight Loss And Recovery, as well as my pricing options and other information. Check that out, or just study up on my free program right here and put this stuff into practice. If you have any questions about working more closely with me, shoot me a message via facebook.


Author: davehpt

I'm DaveHPT, Maybe you've heard of me? Musician, rock star and recording artist. Published author. Former security industry professional. Personal Trainer, Online Coach and the INNOVATOR in Sports Nutrition.

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