What is Flexible Dieting? Here’s How to Get Started
Posted on March 21 2016
There are many diets out there and one that has been goggled more than others over the past year is the Flexible Diet.
Many peoples experience with diets lead them to believe some foods are good for you and some foods are bad for you. The way you lost weight was determined by the foods you cut out of your diet and so on.
Chicken + Brown Rice = Good. Ice Ice Cream + Candies = Bad.
“Eating Clean” is heard more and more all the time, however with the onset of the Flexible Diet Movement, Flexible dieting has been recently gaining momentum as a revolutionary new way of eating.
What is Flexible Dieting?
Flexible Dieting (Or commonly known as If It Fits Your Macros) is simply the tracking of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) to achieve a body composition goal.
Macronutrients or Macros make up the majority of our diets. There are three main macros: 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
Rather than typical calorie counting (e.g. Eating 2000 cals a day) Flexible Dieters would track macronutrients (e.g. Eating 150g Protein, 80g Fat, 170g Carbohydrate = 2000 cals) which more effectively influences body composition rather than just weight loss or gain.
Flexible Dieting follows the belief that there are no miracle weight loss foods. No good or bad foods, just macro ratios.
McGrilled Chicken Burger:
Brown Rice and Tuna
Both are the same macros and so both will achieve the same results in your body composition.
When food enters your stomach your body isn’t thinking “Healthy or Unhealthy?” it is simply breaking down the food and processing the macronutrients.
Essentially, to change your body you can eat whatever you want so long as you hit your macro goals. This was demonstrated in the Twinkie diet.
To maintain and improve overall health, although not necessary to change your body, it is recommended tracking your fiber intake as well. This will ensure that you are getting enough micronutrients as well.
The American Heart Association recommends eating 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed.
What Are the Benefits?
As mentioned before, there have been studies with a wide range of different diets. All of them have their merits but Flexible Dieting is one that as long as you can read the labels on packages and have a food scale to keep thing in perspective you can do very well in monitoring your food intake.
Below are three reasons why:
The most important tool in weight loss is understanding that a calorie deficit is necessary for losing weight. Although quality is still important, quantity is the greater determining factor in weight loss or gain. If you’re not in a calorie deficit you can eat all the “good foods” you want and go nowhere. By tracking everything that enters your mouth you stop the guess-work and take control over how & when you reach your goals. Tracking, whether it’s your macros or calories, is hands down the most effective way to change your body.
Flexible dieting is just that: Flexible. By focusing on your macronutrient intake rather than eating certain foods you can still achieve your goals while enjoying life with everyone else. You can have your cake and eat it too!
One of the challenges always found around dieting, was the awkward social element. There’s only so many dinners you can bring Tupperware containers full of rice and chicken to without feeling like a complete outsider. Research shows that a more flexible approach leads to less anxiety, by allowing yourself flexibility you can join in on meals with families and friends, so long as you keep track of what you’re eating.
Flexible Dieting, participants have stated is the first thing that they’ve been able to stick to consistently over a long period of time. From testing and case research, it seems to kill the “Diet, Binge” cycle many of us have found ourselves on.Since you can eat whatever you want (in moderation) it’s more mentally & emotionally sustainable.
When getting started with Flexible Dieting the most important thing to calculate is your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
Basically it’s the amount of calories you burn in a day. Consistently eat less than this and you lose weight or eat more than this and you gain weight. A great way to stay on top of this is to use an activity monitor like Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor this watch-like heart rate monitor can track everything you need to get specific data on the amount of calories burned.
Track Your Macros
This way of eating is all about tracking and measuring your macro intake.
There are multiple apps out there and we have found that the MyFitnessPal app (iOS or Android) is one of the better ones as it has the world’s largest nutritional database. It’s also available across all platforms.
Buy a Food Scale
A lot of nutritional information is available on food packaging, however, a scale will ensure you accurately track what you eat. Keeping a record of your daily consumption will also keep you aware of what you are putting in your mouth. It is the age old philosophy that anyone trying to lose weight. You need to eat less than the amount of calories you are burning each day in order to tip that scale back in your favor. By weighing your portions of proteins, fats and carbs you no longer have to guess about the caloric intake you are taking in at each meal. You will have the results recorded in black and white!! It is this type of accountability that will keep you mindful of how much you are actually eating each day.
Track Your Activities
Besides recording your calorie intake, you should also be monitoring and keeping track of your daily calorie burn. You can easily do this today by means of an Activity Tracker or even better a Heart Rate Monitor. In this way you can see how much of each activity you are doing related to the caloric intake you take in each day. With a heart rate monitor, you can measure the data from your monitor in order to tell you if your workout is intense enough or maybe too intense to maintain. You can best help your progress and help maintain your diet goals by tracking you physical activity as well as your daily consumption of food!
Like any other diet fad, Flexible dieting is proven to help a person lose weight while still maintaining a healthy food intake. Take a look at other research related to Flexible dieting and judge for youselves?