If you’ve heard of flexible dieting and aren’t sure what it is or how it can help you get in incredible shape, then you should read this now
Chances are, you’ve heard of flexible dieting before.
Maybe you’ve heard of IIFYM (if it fits your macros)
But what is it and how will it help you lose weight?
Well, to start, flexible dieting has definitely grown in popularity over the last few years for a number of reasons.
Every personal trainer seems to be talking about it right now, in fact, if you have a quick peep on google, there are literally like 400,000 results.
For starters, it doesn’t mean you have to be lugging around tubbaware with you 24/7.
It’s something that I’ve had to come to terms with.
It’s also not a diet, it’s a concept.
I’ve been guilty of prepping my meals and taking them with me everywhere before.
It’s a bad habit I built upon and engrained it into my daily routine.
It’s not a bad thing, by any stretch. It taught me discipline and commitment and certainly helped me reach the goals I set myself.
However, I began to ask myself if I had to prepare all of my meals for the rest of my life?
The answer was no.
Life doesn’t always make it easy for you and sometimes in a week, you just don’t have much time to prepare anything.
If a personal trainer tells you you’re not committed because you can’t prepare your meals beforehand.
You need to get rid of your trainer.
He’s failing you, you’re not failing the diet.
And so when my online coaching clients needed an alternative we turned to flexible dieting.
So what is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting is setting your calories per day (we use the katch-McArcle formula) and then making sure you get as close as you can to hitting your macro goals.
At the end of this post you should have a clear understanding of how many calories you need to eating to lose weight and how many P/C/F’s you should be having as well.
Not only that but how to keep it flexible, hit your macros and be able to track your foods so you know you’re on track.
Be careful when setting your calories.
Keep yourself in that deficit and we’ve created a video for you here so you can set your calories the right way
Once you’ve nailed your calories then the next step is to hit your protein targets.
Protein is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it’s the only macronutrient that builds muscle.
And when you’re trying to get stronger and leaner having more muscle increases your metabolism.
Secondly, the TEF of protein is higher than any other macronutrient too. Meaning that your body burns more calories eating protein than any other macronutrient.
Lastly, when you’re in a deficit your body may find it harder to maintain muscle mass and since protein helps prevent the breakdown of muscle, you may just start to uncover those abs of yours after you’ve dropped some fat.
We don’t want you getting skinny now do we?
For protein, I’d advise 2g per kg of bodyweight.
As a minimum.
When you’re dieting that will may need to shoot higher, as your demand for protein is greater.
I’d start with 2g per kg and increase it by .2g depending on how your body is reacting.
You may need to go as high as 3g per kg of body weight.
After protein it’s important you hit your fibre intake.
Again, fibre is super important for your digestion. Being able to extract more nutrients out of the food you consume will help you burn fat, build muscle and increase your energy.
Shoot for around 35g a day.
That should be more than enough for now.
As for the others?
Fats and carbs aren’t really that important to track when you’re just starting out.
In order to lose fat, Calories and Protein should be tracked and that’s it.
However, if you’re looking at increasing your performance, then of course monitoring your carbs and fats is pretty wise.
Say for instance I have a female who has the following stats
32% body fat
Let’s call her Sarah, for arguments sake 🙂
Her BMR is 1472 but she’s lightly active, you know, Sarah goes walking and has an active job. Walks everywhere.
We’d apply an activity multiplier to the number above (1.375) and give Sarah a moderate deficit of 15%.
That means in the deficit she’s taking on 1721 calories a day.
How much of that should be protein, carbs and fats?
Protein = 165g
Carbs = 117g
Fats = 66g
However, Sarah is new to this flexible dieting thing and she really doesn’t have the time to be tracking everything right now.
She does. After chatting to her, we realise A LOT of her day is spent on Facebook and Candy Crush. Time that can be spent better elsewhere.
Like tracking her foods perhaps?
How do you track your food though?
You can use myfitnesspal.
It’s so simple, unless you perhaps either don’t have a smart phone.
(Who doesn’t have one of those these days?)
Or you’re over 8o and you really shouldn’t be worrying about your food. You can just live and enjoy total freedom. Pretty much like my grandma. Cake and a tea for breakfast and a dinner. Happy days.
P.S She has no fitness goals or motivation. She’s in relatively good shape and enjoys it.
All you do is scan the bar code of your food or read the back of the packet and enter the protein, carbs and fats of the foods you’ve been having.
I’m assuming you can read if you’re on my blog?
When you’re starting out though your sole goal is probably to drop fat and not much else, which is why it’s MORE important to keep tabs on your calories and proteins.
Keep it simple.
And when you get leaner and used to tracking your foods, you can pay a little more attention to carbs and fats.
And what’s the ratio of carbs and fats?
Get your fats up to and around .8g per kg of bodyweight and you’ll be fine. It’s a good place to start and then carbs are left for whatever calories are left.
See Sarah’s example above.
Does this all seem too much for you?
If it does, simplify it.
It’s called flexible dieting for a reason.
Hence the name so don’t beat yourself up if you miss your carb requirement for the day. I’ve been there and that thought process normally leads to:
‘Ah well, I’ve messed up, I’ll just eat whatever now’.
A few carbs here and there won’t really matter.
- Set a Calorie goal. Stick to 100 calories either side of it.
- Set a Protein goal. Stick to 20g either side of it.
Don’t worry about it for now. It’s small details and in the grand scheme of things will really make no difference.