Simply put, Flexible Dieting means meeting your nutritional requirements with a plan based around all of your favourite foods.
The only reason to “go on a diet” should be to ensure and develop a habit of consuming an appropriate intake to suit your lifestyle, and to train your appetite to match those requirements.
Once your requirements, your appetite and your intuition (re: choices of foods) are in tune, you’ll feel like you are just eating whatever you fancy whenever you’re hungry, and you’ll be seeing better results from training than ever before. Sadly as we all know, this is precisely the opposite strategy that most people have in mind when they think “diet” and adopt restrictive, starvation plans requiring the elimination of any foods that they enjoy eating. The results of these conventional diets are the opposite as well.
For Weight Loss:
Contrary to popular belief, you do not lose more weight by eating as little as possible, and you don’t “earn” weight loss by forcing yourself to eat things you don’t like and depriving yourself of any indulgence. Quite often, my weight loss clients actually eat MORE following my guidelines than they have done previously, and there is no guilt involved when they include some indulgent foods within their plan.
Here’s what we need to consider when building your Flexible Dieting plan for weight loss:
- Expected maximum calorie target to fuel your lifestyle and maintain your goal body type, long term.
- An interim maximum calorie target, at a suitable deficit to promote weight (fat) loss, shorter – medium term.
- Minimum calorie target required to fuel your lifestyle and see results from training. Regularly falling below this target would be detrimental.
- Suitable fibre intake, and a suitable balance of macronutrients. That’s protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables for an adequate supply of micronutrients. That’s your vitamins and minerals.
Within that target calorie range, we know that absolutely everything we put into the body WILL be utilised as fuel, for recovery and to adapt to training. Obviously some choices of foods will be easier to fit into a plan to meet these targets than others, but there is no need to avoid anything entirely or to start feeling bad whenever you eat something that’s “bad”. If you enjoy it and can fit it into your plan and still hit your targets, it’s all good and will all be put to use. Even ice cream.
For the fussy eaters:
If you’re good at eating your vegetables, get a good variety and this should go a long way towards meeting your fibre and micronutrient requirements. If your choices are more limited; include the ones that you do like regularly, and if there a few that you “aren’t crazy about, but can stand now and then” you should try to include a little of those as often as you can, too.
This is all about making the best choices for the most suitable plan that you can stick to. It is NOT about trying to force feed yourself things that you can’t stand. If your success with this plan inspires you to experiment with and include some new choices of vegetables all the better, but if not, hey it is still an improvement. You don’t have to be perfect.
Fruits are another excellent source of micronutrients (fibre too), as well as being absolutely delicious and enjoyable. I encourage you to indulge on a variety of fruits every day, within the context of a plan that meets but does not exceed your targets. Don’t listen to any idiot who tells you fruit is not a great choice. Tell them to shut their damned dirty lying mouth.
If you’ve been a victim of crash or yo-yo dieting with conventional, restrictive approaches you already know how damaging they can be to both your body and your mind. The first thing, and perhaps the hardest thing that people need to understand about recovery is that it does not mean “accepting defeat” and giving up on the idea of your goal body type. It means the opposite.
Here’s my best advice on how to use Flexible Dieting to create the mindset for recovery:
- Focus on exceeding your minimum requirements to ensure you are fuelled up for great results, rather than on restricting intake.
- Train productively to build your goal body, rather than just exercising “to burn calories”.
- Understand that so long as you are within your target range for total intake, every calorie you take in will be put to good use in making you stronger, healthier and happier – regardless of the source.
- Stop thinking that results from training (and for that matter, your worth as a human being) is dependant on having the willpower to abstain from anything enjoyable at meal time. You’re here to enjoy life and indulge your passions. You have to do the work too, but that is something to take pride and satisfaction from.
- Believe in your own potential for greatness, and be motivated by that belief.
Isn’t this exactly what you need? If so, jump to my new Flexible Dieting sign up page for a whole lot of important free information.