Five Ways To Make Flexible Dieting Work For You
What would you say if I told you that you could donuts and lose weight? Not only that, but do so everyday while improving body composition? Would you tell me I am full of shit? Well, it is possible. You just can’t be an idiot about it.
If you are new here, flexible dieting is pretty self explanatory. It is the idea that you don’t deprive yourself of anything because you believe you have to. Anything is allowed, provided you follow a few simple rules. Before we get into those, it helps to know what macronutrients are.
They are: carbs, protein, and fat. A simple way of thinking of it is to think of them as the big components of calories. Macro means large.
Next, figure your macros out if you don’t already have them.
1. Don’t Eliminate Things You Like
I am going to use myself as an example. Since I am a human and am subject to the same things other humans are, I feel it fitting.
Over the holidays I gained weight. Not in a good way. In a “Goddamn, I got fat,” kind of way. As a result, I went back to diligently tracking every single thing I put in my mouth. Provided it contained calories.
Right now, my current target macros are 200P/188C/74F every day.
As it happens, I like pizza, and donuts.
Part of the problem was that I could (still can) eat a whole pizza. So if I have a 12 inch hand tossed pepperoni from Domino’s, I am looking at 1278 calories for the whole thing. 48P/150C/54F for the entire pie. This creates a problem for following my numbers for the rest of the day.
Left with 38 Carbs and 20 Fats, and 152 Proteins, finding some stuff I can eat is going to be a real pain in the ass. I would be sucking egg whites down all day.
Take one slice of pizza, and life becomes a bit easier. One slice has 213 calories and a macro breakdown of 8P/25C/9F. Suddenly, the pizza I love so much doesn’t throw me into a metaphorical ditch when I decide to have it.
Donuts work the same way. Eat a half dozen, you might be fucking yourself. Have one, and you can move on.
2. Eliminate That Which You Hate
Implied in the name, flexible dieting is about flexibility. The overall message is that there are no definitive “good” or “bad” foods. This isn’t Star Wars. In a galaxy far, far away, we know Luke is a good guy. We know Grand Moff Tarkin is kind of a dick.
You don’t have to eat asparagus or chicken titties. You don’t even have to eat eggs, if you don’t have to. Asparagus is definitely one of my least favorite things ever, so I do not eat it. I might revisit it in a few years, but until then, fuck asparagus. There’s no magic to it.
Though I should note, asparagus does have nutrients in it. For example, Vitamin C and Iron. You can also get iron from steak. Or spinach. Vitamin C is available in oranges as well. So you have options. You don’t have to eat foods you hate.
3. You Need To Eat Fiber
This is a given, I would hope. Fiber helps you poop and it slows the absorption of sugar.
According to Dr. Layne Norton:
Fiber is important because it’s thermogenic, almost as thermogenic as protein. So someone eating 300g carbs with 15g fiber per day vs. someone eating 300g carbs with 40g fiber per day is not the same thing metabolically due to the difference in thermogenesis. Fiber is also helpful for digestive health and gut motility. In fact, sugar has been demonized in the media but much of the research suggests that it really isn’t sugar that’s the problem, rather the problem is that sugary foods are typically low in fiber. This is why refined sugary foods that have low fiber tend to lead to problems when over consumed, but consumption of fruit does not seem to have the same effect, because fruit has fiber! (Source)
This is where it’s beneficial for you. If you have a medium apple with 30 carbs and and five grams of fiber, you also get some Potassium and Vitamin A. Eat a Pop-Tart and you get 35 carbs, less fiber, and some added fat grams.
What is the key take home point? If you can make it work, and it makes you happy, do it.
4. Don’t Be A Weirdo
I had a friend who was working with a coach that promoted flexible dieting. One night, we all were hanging out at a park, waiting to surprise a friend of ours. Our other mutual friend was going to propose to his boyfriend. After that, mirth and merriment would ensue, thereafter.
The moment came, the proposal happened, and everyone filmed it and uploaded it to Facebook. He said yes, then we all celebrated by having a nice, big, fat ass, New York style pizza delivered to us. Everything about it was delicious. Dripping with cheese, and pizza grease, there was enough for everyone to get a slice. And who wouldn’t want one? This place is so damn authentic they get water shipped from New York to make their pies.
That’s when the unthinkable happened. The friend I came with took out her tupperware, and busted out a rank, cold, dead piece of tilapia. With broccoli. Making matters worse, she would occasionally comment about her shitty lot. “I’m just here having cold tilapia,” and other such sentiments. That’s not only weird, I believe it is also self flagellating. And unhealthy, especially since the pizza can be tracked.
Don’t be that person.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Break The Rules
Sometimes, it is ok not to track something. I wouldn’t want anyone I train to track their macros on their wedding day. Or when their first child is born. Having the freedom to be able to even worry about this kind of stuff is an immense privilege that many will never be able to have.
So what do you do when you eat too much? You let it go. You move on and get back to it the next day. We are human. We are fallible. Don’t dwell on the past. Look to the future.
And now you know. The idea of flexible dieting is to eliminate the negative connotations foods have. Things like “cheating,” “clean,” or “dirty.” These are terms that shape the lens through which we view our food intake. Don’t let them ensnare you. Let your flexibility free you. Now, do me a favor. Head over here and sign up for some awesome emails about flexible dieting, and other fitness content that will benefit you.
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