Wish someone had told me about this sooner! Overview of flexible dieting and what to do next.
Watch the video or read below.
I didn’t learn about this until I started to get into body building.
And when I first heard it, I thought
“This makes so much sense. Why don’t more people know about this?”
So today I’m going to tell you about flexible dieting.
And if it doesn’t make sense for you, that’s okay. But if it does click for you after you hear about it, I’ll share some resources at the end so that you can learn more.
Flexible dieting is not really a diet. It’s more of a way of organizing what you eat based on what your body needs and your goals.
Instead of putting limits on the foods you’re allowed to eat, you set daily limits on the amount of each macronutrient you’ll eat each day.
Flexible dieting uses macros to provide a structure to help you plan meals for each day.
Macros are proteins, carbs, and fats.
All foods have some combination of macros because macros provide the calories.
One gram of protein has four calories. So does one gram of carbohydrate. And one gram of fat has nine calories.
Beyond the calories they provide for energy, our body needs a certain amount of each macro for different functions.
Carbs are the body’s preferred energy source.
Dietary fats make food taste better – which is amazing – and the body uses them as an energy source, they regulate hormones, and they work as carriers for fat soluble vitamins and other micronutrients.
And protein is so important for so many things that I made a whole video about it.
Each of us requires a unique combination of proteins, carbs and fats to function optimally.
When you want to change your body by losing fat or building muscle, you adjust your macros to support what you’re going to do with your exercise to make that happen.
The nutrition piece is actually the hardest one for many people to maintain consistently.
Many people find that this flexible approach is easier to stick with because they can use foods that they like.
You may have heard the phrase “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM) used by people who are posting pictures of foods that aren’t really considered to be diet foods or even very healthy. So what is that about?
Well, think of your macros like a budget. You need a certain amount of money to pay your bills, but you might also set aside a little bit of money for fun stuff too.
If you approach nutrition in the same way, you can use most of your macros budget on nutritious foods you need, but set aside a few carbs and fats for that ice cream you want to have after dinner. It will fit in your macro budget if you make a plan to make it fit.
Anything you’re doing that is super restrictive can backfire.
We start to think a lot about what we aren’t allowed to eat and we miss it.
It’s a lot easier to stick with a plan that isn’t really restrictive about which foods you can choose.
It’s easier to stick with the plan long term when you are the one picking the foods.
Plus eating is part of being social, it’s enjoyable, and that’s important.
Any program that you try to do that is so strict that you feel like you can’t go do those things with your friends and family – that’s just not going to work long term.
After a few weeks of flexible dieting with macros, many people figure out that sticking to those macros, no matter what they ate, had positive results.
The old mindset might chime in telling you that you’re cheating when you take one of those treats.
But a new food mindset will take over. The mindset will gradually become very empowering.
It will be one where appetite isn’t a sign of weakness.
It becomes easier to have a portion size of a treat and not feel like you went off the rails.
But in practice, no matter what people might be posting on their social media accounts, in order to make flexible dieting work, people end up using whole, natural foods because they need that nutrition.
Remember – macros are the fuel because they provide the calories.
But the micronutrients in the foods are what promote good health.
What you choose is based on your personal preference, not some restrictive food list.
So it’s really easy to work around things like food intolerances or food allergies.
It’s not complicated to get started with flexible dieting, but it might seem like it because it’s really an individual, customized approach.
Personal variables make a difference.
Some people need more carbs, some people need more fats.
And the goals you have matter, too.
Some people want to lose fat and build muscle.
Others have lost weight already and they want to rebuild muscle that they lost during that process.
All these things need to be taken into consideration when you set your macros.
Ok, so how do you find out how to start?
You could hire a nutrition coach and they’ll set things up for you. That’s a great option if you just want someone to set up a plan for you to follow.
The Internet is loaded with information about this, and while you may feel like you’re getting all the information from a fire hose, it’s all there. And if you’re willing to put in the time and do a lot of reading, you can figure this out without any guidance.
But if you’d like something that’s between those two approaches, I created a self-paced online course. It will teach you the process of setting up macros step-by-step.
And here is that video about protein…
Know you need to change, but aren't sure where to start? I created this free training to answer the most common questions women have asked me over the years.
- What to eat?
- Why lift?
- How to stick with it?
- How to get started?
Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's!
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.