Today, I wanted to share with you a topic that has been very popular in the fitness world, which is Flexible Dieting or IIFYM. Before I explain to you the meaning of flexible dieting, I want to quickly mention that I don’t believe in strict diets. More specifically, I have made negative experiences in the past due to being on restrictive diets. In addition, I disagree with the separation of “good” and “bad” foods. In fact, splitting foods into different categories will just allow a higher chance for failure. For instance, I would always feel guilty of myself whenever I eat a donut, because my mind had already associated donuts as something negative. For that reason, I have chosen to do an intuitive approach for the past five weeks. So far, this way of eating has worked well, because it disregards the typical diet mindset. I also have learned how to appreciate my body cues more when it comes to eating intuitively.
What is Flexible Dieting?
Although I am very satisfied of my progression in terms of eating, I am still highly interested in flexible dieting. So, what is flexible dieting? Flexible dieting is basically a form of eating that focuses heavily on macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrate and fat in order to attain a body composition goal. Flexible dieting is not necessary a “diet”, but a form of eating- same as intuitive eating is. They both share the same value, which is the fact that there is no magic pill in weight loss. Most importantly, there is no good and bad foods. You can find more information about flexible dieting on http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-complete-guide-to-iifym or https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting.
It is all about discipline
In general, flexible dieting is still quite new to me. Moreover, it will be a challenge for me since this approach relies heavily on pre-planning. I am not a big PREP person, because I find it tedious and tiring to plan my meals ahead :). However, there is one essential lesson I have learned so far, which is the importance of discipline. In a previous post, I talked about how you should not rely on motivation alone for success, but rather it is discipline that will get you further in life. Therefore, it is dedication and discipline that play big parts in reaching the goals you wish in life, rather it is health, career or anything else. With that being said, the idea of PREP is vital to success, because it allows you to focus and understand what is important.
No more restriction
Furthermore, another reason why flexible dieting is so enticing to me is the belief of portion control. In fact, portion control is a great aspect when it comes to weight loss goals. Often times, we overestimate how much we are actually eating thereby we tend to overeat. This usually leads to weight gain rather than weight loss. Even with the intuitive eating approach, it sometimes is easy to overlook how much you are really eating. With flexible dieting, you are able to pay attention to portion control by tracking your macros. In this case, no foods are off limit as long as it fits in your macros, which is the beauty in flexible dieting.
How to get started
To get started, it is best to figure out your calorie intake, which is based on your age, height, activity level, etc. Once you get your calorie intake, you would have to use that number to calculate your macros. There are many sites, that offer a free calorie counter such as http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm. When you have all your macros figured out, you can plan your meals ahead. At this point, I would suggest to get a food scale to track the exact amount of your foods and a meal tracker app on your phone, for instance MyFitnessPal or MyMacros+Tracker. In the end, what you like to eat is really up to your preference since there is no food restriction. Nonetheless, it is always better to opt for healthier and wholesome foods that provides you the necessary micronutrients your body needs. In addition, good sources in protein, carbohydrates and fats allow you to feel fuller and more satisfied.
Once I get the hang of it, I will tell you more about my progress. So, stay tuned for the upcoming posts about my new way of eating.