Why Flexible Dieting Is The Only Diet You Will Ever Need by Tyler Read
As a personal trainer who has worked with hundreds of clients, I know for a fact that exercising or even following a rigorous workout plan is the easy part. Yes, you read that right. All the sweat and effort you see in the gym is not the difficult thing.
What really challenges most people is the dieting. Staying on top of your diet all day, every day, and watching what you’re eating, how much you are eating is what really challenges people. Not binging after months of caloric deficit and just being strict with everything is the hard part.
There’s this saying that abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. I couldn’t agree more. You can spend hours doing cardio and crunches. If you are not eating the right stuff, all your effort will be for nothing. I would even go as far as saying that your diet will determine 60% or your results. So even if you would follow a super high-intensity program such as the P90X or Insanity, you will be still struggling with stubborn fat, unless you clean up your diet really good.
Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.
But dieting doesn’t have to be such a pain. Luckily there’s this thing called “If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)” or flexible dieting which will make your life so much better. You will be able to enjoy the foods that you love, have a normal social life, go out and eat with your friends while still losing weight.
But let’s start with the beginning, shall we?
What is flexible dieting?
Actually, I think I would explain it better if I tell what it’s not.
Flexible diet is not your traditional type of diet. It doesn’t tell you what to eat or when to eat. It doesn’t tell you how many meals to have each day. It’s nothing like that. All it does is to limit your caloric intake and set your macronutrient split to numbers which are the right ones for your fitness goals.
Once you’ve correctly got your caloric intake and macro split, you are free to eat whatever you want as long as you meet the numbers. Yeah, I know that counting calories are boring, not to mention counting macros which can be a real struggle at first.
Eventually, after a month or so of tracking calories and macros, you will learn so much about the nutritional value of the foods you enjoy eating, that you will not really need to keep tracking of everything.
Why flexible dieting works?
Apparently, flexible dieting looks like a rubbish diet. Eat whatever you want? And still, lose weight? That sounds like a scam. That’s what I thought of it at first too. But if you really think about it a little bit, flexible dieting goes back to the very roots of weight loss, or weight gain – depending on how you want to look at it.
Gaining or losing weight is all down to calories in versus calories out. That’s all there is to it. And if somebody else tries to convince you otherwise, he’s either an ignorant or wants you to buy a shady product.
Flexible dieting will actually clean up your diet a lot, as opposed to someone might think. Yeah, the words “flexible” and “eat whatever you want” are a bit misleading. When you have a specific macro split to get and a challenging caloric intake threshold, you will soon notice that you will have to be pretty picky about the foods you chose to eat.
Yeah, you will still be able to eat most of your favorite foods, because you get to design your own meal plan. But you need to do it in a smart way. You want to include in your diet foods that have a lower caloric density. These foods will fill you up faster and you will be actually eating more, quantity-wise while getting in fewer calories.
Let me give you an example so you get a better grasp of the point I’m trying to make.
Let’s say your target caloric intake is 1,800 kcal with a macro split of 120 grams of protein, 240 grams of carbs and 40 grams of fats. If you’re a person who likes avocados, obviously you won’t be able to eat more than 1-2 avocados a day because you will eat too much fat. Instead, you can include in your diet foods that are higher in protein and carbs.
Lastly but not least, flexible dieting works because it is a diet which you can adhere to in the long run. And adherence is probably the most important factor you need to consider when it comes to dieting.
What is the point in following this crash diet which gives you great results really fast, but it burns you out in 4 weeks? Your mood will be a mess, your social life will be non-existent, you will be very likely to damage your metabolism, and when you can’t take it anymore you will gain back all the weight you’ve struggled to lose.
Dieting is not supposed to be a struggle. It is supposed to be something you can incorporate into your lifestyle effortlessly while enjoying the foods you like. And that’s what flexible dieting is all about.
What is a good weight loss rate?
A common question I get asked as a personal trainer sounds something like this: “How long does it take to lose 10 pounds or 20 pounds?” Or “How can I lose weight faster? I want to be in shape for the summer.”
I get it; everybody wants to get rid of fat fast. That’s not something I stand behind though. A natural and healthy weight loss rate is somewhere around 1 – 2 pounds per week. Anything more is just too much and can potentially have a bad impact on your hormones or metabolism.
So whenever you are setting your calories for weight loss, aim for a deficit of no more than 25% of your maintenance level. So if you are maintaining your weight at 2,000 kcal, don’t go lower than 1,500 kcal. That’s going to be too tough to adhere to and any extra weight you’ll lose will actually come from muscle mass instead of fat. You don’t want that.
With that being said, I encourage you to give flexible dieting a try and I bet it will start to grow on you. You’ll never want to go back to any other kind of diet ever.
Just try to be consistent with it, eat the foods you like and be really strict with tracking your calories and macros in the first couple of weeks. Once you know your way around the numbers it will all be like a walk in the park.
Here’s how to stay on top of your diet effortlessly. Flexible dieting aka. If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) will make everything a breeze.
Tyler is a NASM certified personal trainer with over 10 years of experience. In addition to training a wide variety of clients, Tyler is also the founder and senior editor of PTPioneer.com; a website designed to help people become industry leading personal trainers. You can also check out PTPinoeer’s YouTube channel as well.