Are you afraid that you don’t have the willpower to follow a strict diet to lose weight? Then flexible dieting is the perfect solution to help you with your weight loss.
If you have read some diet books or followed some nutritional gurus, you may have been scared into strict dieting.
They will tell you that you need to avoid eating foods that you enjoy if you want to have a chance of losing weight or building muscle.
Foods like sugar, carbs, calorie-rich drinks, pizza, etc. are all to be thrown out the window, they say.
Live your life learning to enjoy eating chicken, beans, and vegetables the rest of your life if you want to succeed in your goals, they say.
Such experts will tell you that you need to undergo pain if you want to gain something. And that pain is to suffer not being able to eat your favorite foods ever again.
However, this is far from true. You can eat the foods that you enjoy every day of the week and still build muscle and lose fat.
You can free yourself from the deprivation of strict diets and the anxiety and depression they can cause.
What can help you achieve this is flexible dieting as we will learn more about in this post.
You may be surprised about a diet that allows you to eat your favorite foods, doesn’t restrict your carbohydrates intake, and even allows you to eat sugar.
No wonder flexible dieting is also called as the “anti-diet” because unlike a diet it does not seem to place heavy restrictions on what you want to eat.
However, this does not mean that you can eat as much junk food as you want.
Flexible dieting can be summarized in the below points:
Flexible dieting is a way to understand how much energy your body needs and to use that to create a diet that fits your lifestyle and helps you reach your fitness goals.
To understand how flexible dieting works, we need to look at what flexible dieting is based on:
Most diets tell you to eat the so-called “clean” foods if you want to lose weight or build muscle.
However, this is incorrect, because it is not the foods that will make you fat or help you lose weight.
Rather, it is a simple concept known as “energy balance” that will help you achieve this.
When you consume more calories than what your body burns, you are in a positive energy balance or a calorie surplus. This will make you gain weight with fat, muscle, or both.
When you consume fewer calories than what your body burns, you are in a negative energy balance or a calorie deficit. This will make you lose body fat and if you are not careful even muscle.
So, as you can see, it does not matter what kinds of food you eat. If you eat less calories to keep yourself in a calorie deficit, then you will lose weight. You don’t have to just eat nutritional foods and that will magically make you lose weight.
Of course, it’s always good to eat nutritional foods because it will provide you the required nutrients and keep you healthy. But it does nothing for you when it comes to a body recomposition.
Having said that, what you eat will matter a lot when you will be trying to build muscle because you need the macro-nutrients in the sufficient amount.
The best way to consistently follow any diet is to eat the foods that you enjoy.
If you go too strict with your diet, there is a high chance that you will fall off and not stick to it.
This is where flexible dieting works wonders because it is made so that you can fit it in your lifestyle for your goals without sacrificing the foods that you enjoy.
So, you just don’t need to stick to healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. You can also enjoy your favorite junk foods like pizza, pasta, ice cream, french fries, etc. Whatever you like.
Of course, you need to eat a majority of your foods from the healthy kind so that they provide the nutrients to your body, increase your longetivity, and keep you healthy overall.
As part of flexible dieting, you can consume about 80% of your calories from such nutrient-dense foods. For the remaining 20% of your calories, you are free to choose any foods that you enjoy. And you can do this every day of the week.
Using such a diet, it is very much possible to reach your weight loss, muscle gain goals without sacrificing the foods you enjoy and getting depressed.
So, the key is in the balance where you eat most of your foods from the healthy, nutritious options and balance them out with the non-nutritious foods you enjoy.
When you use a strict diet and restrict your calories a lot, there is a high chance that you will get cravings.
Such cravings will lead to you cheating on the diet and binging. And once that happens, a lot of people just give up on the diet.
This is where flexible dieting can really help a lot of people.
Since you are on a relatively moderate diet and you can consume you favorite foods as long as you are hitting your calorie and macro-nutrient requirements, you won’t end up getting those cravings.
This will make it more enjoyable for you to lose weight without the psychological worrying about what you ate.
If fact, it is OK even if you do cheat once in a while which we all do. You might eat a bit more than your daily calorie requirements on a particular day. And that is OK as long as you get back to your flexible dieting again the next day.
As I mentioned, the reason a lot of people fail when it comes to dieting is because they cannot continue with it consistently for the long-term.
Such crash diets might give you the results for the short-term but you will burn out sooner than later and get back to your old self.
Flexible dieting can help you follow your regular lifestyle and not worry too much about what you are eating. This makes it a lot easier to incorporate into your lifestyle so that it is something that you can use consistently to see the long-term results you need.
Flexible dieting is also known as if it fits your macros.
This is because it promotes making your diet flexible enough as long as you can hit your daily macro-nutrient requirements.
A macro-nutrient is a component that is required by the body in large enough quantities. This includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, etc.
Once you are able to calculate the amount of macro-nutrients you need, this will automatically create the number of calories that you are required to consume as part of your flexible dieting.
OK. So let’s take a look at how you can make use of flexible dieting as part of your own meal plans.
Make sure 80% of your calories come from highly nutritious foods
Flexible dieting means that you choose to eat your favorite foods every day. But that does not mean you should eat all of your meals as junk food.
Your body requires a sufficient amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for its proper functioning. And junk foods will not give you all these require components.
So, the thumb rule is that you need to consume 80% of your daily calories from nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds.
For the remaining 20% of your calories, you can eat any kinds of food that you like and this includes junk foods.
You should eat your meals as per your lifestyle and preferences
When it comes to flexible dieting, it does not matter when you eat as long as you can get your daily required calories and macro-nutrients.
So, if you feel like eating three times a day or six times a day, do it. It is entirely up to your choice based on your lifestyle.
The important thing is to track your calories and macros and stick to it consistently.
However, if you are looking to build muscle, it might be a little more efficient to eat a high-protein meal before and after your workouts.
You can also have a meal with more carbs before the workout so that it gives you the energy for your workouts. And the same after a workout so that you can regain your energy.
Let’s look at how we can use flexible dieting to create our own meal plans depending on our goals of weight loss or muscle gain.
By now, you must already know that the only way to achieve weight loss is to go on a calorie deficit where your body burns more calories than what you consume.
To know how much calorie deficit you require, you must first determine the number of calories that you require to maintain your weight. This is also known as your “Total Daily Energy Expenditure” or TDEE.
Use the calculator below to find out this number.
Find out your calorie deficit
Once you have calculated your TDEE, you can then calculate the calorie deficit that you require so that you can start losing body fat.
It is recommended that you achieve a calorie deficit of around 20% to 25% so that you can optimally lose body fat without losing muscle.
For example, if your TDEE comes out to 3000 calories per day, then the calorie deficit that you need to aim for should be 2300 calories per day.
Find out your macro-nutrient targets
If you are lean, then you will need to consume,
If you are fat, then you will need to consume,
So for someone like me who has a TDEE of 2000 calories and weighs 141 pounds I need to consume 169 grams of proteins, 28 grams of fats, and 141 grams of carbohydrates to lose fat.
Make a meal plan out of the above-defined numbers
Once you know the calories you need to consume and the macro-nutrients, you can use a tool like MyFitnessPal to figure out the foods that you enjoy and that can fit those macro-nutrients for the day.
Here is a sample of what a meal plan looks in MyFitnessPal with the calories and macro-nutrients break down.
You can combine any foods that you like as long as you keep 80% of the foods relatively clean and can hit your daily macro-nutrient needs.
You need to continue using this meal plan consistently to start seeing results for your weight loss.
In case you get tired of some of the meals, then you can switch those with any other meal as long as they fit in the calorie and macro-nutrient requirements.
When you want to lose fat, you have to be in a calorie deficit where you eat lesser calories than your TDEE.
When you want to gain muscle, you have to be in a calorie surplus where you eat more calories than your TDEE.
It is recommended that you eat around 10% more calories than your TDEE when you are trying to gain muscle.
This will give your body the sufficient calories required for the muscle building state as you get more energy to expend in your workouts.
So you will need to consume,
I hope this post helped you understand that it is very much possible to lose fat and build muscle by using flexible dieting.
This diet will help you achieve your fitness goals without sacrificing the foods that you enjoy while adjusting to your lifestyle.
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