If you are like me and so many others who have had some cruel experience with dieting, you might also have discovered that most diets are more like punishment rather than the self-improvement they should have been. Obviously these fears and dreads about dieting – either to lose weight or gain lean muscles – are coming from most dieticians and nutritionists that will tell you:
“….the combinations of foods you eat are either ‘bad’ or ‘good’….”
“…If you want to lose fat or gain muscles, you have to let go of some particular foods because they are ‘bad’….”
….Red meat; grains; anything gluten or sugary; carbs; dairy; caloric beverages….. They say “throw them all away; they are bad”. And most of the time, these foods are one’s favorites so letting go of them is like a nail in the head.
However, either losing or gaining, you may want to consider the new revolutionary way of eating; which is Flexible dieting. With flexible diets, you can perfectly transform your body to the type you have always dream of while you still enjoy those favorite foods of yours.
“But I have to also tell you early enough now that flexible dieting is not a diet, but a nutritional concept you follow to achieve the desired body structure.”
What Is Flexible Dieting?
Flexible dieting, which is often referred to as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a nutritional concept where you count your daily macronutrient consumption in order to achieve a set body goal. It simply means you have a target body goal you want to achieve; so you determine the amount of daily macros needed to achieve such body structure and follow it regardless of the type of food you eat – either it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’; ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. You just enjoy them all.
“Flexible dieting agrees with the belief that there are no miracle weight loss or bodybuilding foods, just macro ratios”
What Do You Mean By ‘MACROS’?
‘Macros’ is the short form of ‘macronutrients’. For the utmost growth and development of your body, it needs two categories of food; the micronutrients and macronutrients.
Just as the names imply, micronutrients are the nutritional components required in small quantity by our body to grow. This group consists of the vitamins and minerals. The macronutrients, on the other hand, are the ones that are relatively needed in large amounts. The major members of the macronutrients are protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Other members may also include some macro minerals as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and phosphorous.
However, flexible dieting only pays attention to the three major macros; protein, carbohydrate, and fat. So this is how flexible diet works, you already know the type of body you desired and so have the daily calorie (carbs, protein, and fat) you need to meet that target. All you need to do is make sure you hit that number of daily calorie intake irrespective of the type of food you take to make up that number.
“A flexible diet is all about numbers. So stop thinking about if the food is ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’. Instead, start thinking about the nutrient values of such food. So a McGrilled chicken burger is no longer the ‘dirty food’ you call it, it is now 367 calories”
How Do I Track My Macros?
As earlier said, numbers are more important to flexible dieters. When you already know the amount of macros you need daily, then it’s good you also know how to count the macros in your foods.
4 calories are present in 1 gram of protein; 1 gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories, and 9 calories are found in 1 gram of fat.
- 1g of protein = 4 calories
- 1g of carbohydrate = 4 calories
- 1g of fat = 9 calories
Therefore, rather than saying “I need to eat 1000 cals a day”, as a flexible eater, you should consider tracking the macros and say something like “I need 75g protein; 40g fat; and 85g of carbohydrate” which will also make it 1000 cals for that day. This will more effectively influence the body composition rather than just weight loss or gain.
A typical example is the McGrilled chicken burger and Brown rice with Tuna which both contain the same amount of calories (25g protein; 33g carbohydrate; and 15g fat). So it doesn’t really matter if you take the burger (which some will term ‘bad food’) or the rice as both will achieve the same result in your body.
When these foods enter into your body, your body doesn’t discriminate by saying this one is ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’. It simply breaks them down to simple macros for its use. Therefore, to change your body, you can eat whatever you like as long as you hit your daily macro goals.
In trying to count your food macros; food labels now carry nutritional information to help you know what’s in there, however, you can get a scale to ensure you accurately track what you eat.
Benefits of Flexibleble Dieting
With my well of experience with different diet plans, I could boldly say flexible dieting is one of my favorites. It rose above many diet plans on my list because of some reasons which these three are part of them:
1: It is very effective
Either you plan to lose weight or gain some lean muscles, it is no doubt you will have to pay more attention to what goes on your table in terms of numbers – though quality also matters, quantity is most times a basic determinant. When you decide to go on a weight loss diet plan, the basic focal point always remains calorie deficit. Calorie deficit is very important to weight loss and without it, you can go anywhere. Even if you eat all the ‘clean foods’ as they are called, without taking yourself through the journey of calorie deficit, every effort you put into workout both in the gym and on the street will no doubt, amount to nothing significant.
However, flexible dieting allows you track everything that enters into your mouth and thus offers you the chance to stop the guess-work and take control over when and how you reach your goal. Flexible diet is an effective way to change your body.
2: It is of course, flexible
Flexible dieting is just as the name – flexible. This diet allows you to eat your cake while you also have it. It allows you enjoy all those deserts of yours while you still achieve your body transformation goal so far you accurately keep an eye on your daily calorie intake. You would not have to be afraid of getting in on meals with friends and families in as much as you daily hit your calorie goal; the type of food you eat doesn’t matter at all. That is what I call flexibility.
3: Easy to stick with
One of the challenges being faced with dieting is the inability to stick to it. it can be very difficult especially if you are also the type that can follow the bend with foods. You start the diet and binge, you stopped. You start again for few days, and binge; you burst it again. Trust me, no significant achievement can be gotten from any diet plan in such a way, dieting involves consistency. Therefore the best thing to do is to find a diet plan that is easy to stick to.
Flexible dieting doesn’t confine you to any specific foods. It allows you eat whatever you like – just watch the numbers. So it is super easy and sustainable.
How To Get Started With Flexible Dieting
- Determine your daily calorie requirement
This is where your BMR comes into play. That is Basal Metabolic Rate. It is the base calorie you need to sustain your weight. When you know your BMR, eat your calories to make up that number.
This is how you can calculate your daily base calorie requirement:
For men: BMR = 10 × weight(kg) + 6.25 × height(cm) – 5 × age(y) + 5
For women: BMR = 10 × weight(kg) + 6.25 × height(cm) – 5 × age(y) – 161
- Count Your Macros
Tracking your macros can be done easily by the use of few apps like the ‘My food Diary’ or MyFitnessPal. These apps are great for beginners.
- Get a food scale
Although food packaging now has enough information on their labels, however, you can as well get a scale to ensure you accurately track what goes into your mouth.
So, it’s time to stop running away from your favorite foods all in the name of dieting.
No more ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ foods; ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ foods. Just eat them all and don’t forget to hit your target daily macros.
Flexible dieting gives you superb body transformation while you still enjoy those deserts of yours. I recommend you give it a try.
Things to Remember:
- Flexible diet is not a ‘diet’, but a nutritional concept you follow to achieve the desired body structure.
- whether losing or gaining weight, you don’t have to keep off all your deserts; you can still enjoy your favorite meals while you cut
- the most important thing in flexible dieting is to know your daily calorie target and ensure you accurately hit that for the day regardless of the time of food you eat.
- either ‘clean’ or ‘bad’ food, your body sees all of them as one and also digests them equally.