What Is Flexible Dieting Lifestyle And What Some Tips To It?
So you may have heard of the term but what is flexible dieting? In this article we are going to discuss the topic of flexible dieting as well as explore its pros and cons and a few ways it can work for you.
Diets are hard to stick to because they are restrictive and not sustainable. Many dieters have experienced yo-yo-ing from restricting ‘bad foods’ like ice cream. The thing about restricting is, as soon as you don’t restrict you tend to overeat that food. Enter: flexible dieting.
So, what is flexible dieting? With flexible dieting, no foods are ‘off-limits.’ You can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits in your daily macros plan. In this sense, flexible dieting is more of a lifestyle than a fad diet.
But can you really lose weight eating whatever you want? This article will explore the pros and cons of flexible dieting and a few ways it can work for you.
What Is Flexible Dieting?
Flexible dieting (AKA If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM), is the diet theory that you can eat any food as long as it fits within your daily macronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
So, while you can eat anything, you still need to track your macronutrients in flexible dieting. You calculate your macros based on your goal weight loss and daily energy expenditure. Then, a flexible diet requires you to track your macros daily while eating normally.
What Are Causes Of Flexible Dieting?
Your body doesn’t differentiate between ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ foods. Once it’s in your stomach, food is just food, made up of different nutrients. Flexible dieting stems from the idea that the proportions of macronutrients in foods may have more impact on your overall health than the types of food you eat.
What Are The Benefits of Flexible Dieting Lifestyle
You’re In Control
With Flexible dieting, you are in control of your own meal plans and can choose the foods that work for you. It’s flexible enough for you to control your eating whether you’re traveling, quarantined at home, or on-the-go.
Less Social Anxiety
Plus, it removes the social anxiety of eating on a diet. When eating out with friends, or having company over, you don’t have to worry about restricting your eating to certain foods.
Forget Calorie Counting
Flexible dieting only requires you to track your macros, not your calories. For many dieters, calorie counting can lead them down a path of obsessing over calories. But it should be noted that just because a food is low in calories does not necessarily mean that it is good for you. Counting macros instead will help you get the recommended daily nutrients
What Are Some Issues about Flexible Dieting?
The main con of flexibly dieting is that you have to consistently track your macros every day. If you are not prepared to take the time to stay on top of your tracking, flexible dieting may not be best for you. With any diet, you need to be able to maintain habits over a long period of time. If tracking your macros is not sustainable for you, then you are unlikely to be successful in losing weight on a flexible diet.
Best Tips For Successful Flexible Dieting Lifestyle
If you’re interested in trying flexible dieting, here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Calculate Your Energy Expenditure
You’ll need a good estimate of how many macros you need every day if you want to lose weight. You can find a macro calculator online for free, but make sure it also calculates your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This includes how many calories you burn at rest (your resting energy expenditure) and calories burned during daily activities and exercise (non-resting energy expenditure).
2. Calculate Your Macros Accurately
Once you know how many calories you burn on average each day, you will need to set a calorie deficit of about 400-500 calories a day.
Typically, a person needs a majority of their nutrients in carbohydrates, proteins and fats as follows:
- Carbohydrates: 45-65% of total daily calories
- Proteins: 10-35% of total daily calories
- Fats: 20-35% of total daily calories
You can adjust your macros amount for your lifestyle and weight loss goals. For instance, athletes will have different macro needs than non-athletes.
3. Track Your Macros Daily
In any diet, consistency and sustainability are key. The key to success in flexible dieting is to constantly track your macros every day.
One of the best ways to track your macros is with a website or app like MyFitnessPal. These apps can calculate your macros for you, and they have databases full of foods that you use to track your intake.
4. Track Fiber Too
Most people on a flexible diet also track their fiber intake. Although fiber is not a macronutrient, it’s an important part of a healthy digestive system. The recommended fiber intake is 38 grams of fiber a day for men and 25 grams a day for women.
5. Buy a Food Scale
A food scale can help you track what you eat. You can easily track foods with labels, and some apps allow you to scan the barcode on foods to see the nutritional information. However, for foods without labels, you’ll need a food scale.
You can easily use a food scale in your kitchen at home to determine portion sizes and help simplify food tracking.
6. Plan Ahead
Especially when starting with a flexible diet, it can be helpful to plan ahead your meals for the next day or week. If you calculate your meals and macros ahead of time, it will be much easier to stick to your flexible diet and actually get the right number of macros each day. Otherwise, temptation may draw you away from your goals!
7. Combine Flexible Dieting with other Diets
If you are also doing a vegan, paleo or ‘clean eating’ diet, you can combine that with tracking your macros to get a better picture of your overall daily nutrients.
So, what is flexible dieting? It’s a lifestyle that allows you to stop labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and improve your relationship with food. Suffice to say that at the end of the day, you as an individual are in control of what you decide to eat.
Flexible dieting can help reduce social anxiety and calorie counting, but it does take time and a little planning to be successful. Different diets are best for different people, but if keeping track of your macronutrients can help you it doesn’t hurt to try it. Just be prepared to patiently and consistently keep up with it over time.
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