Embarking on a highly restrictive diet, clearing out your cupboards to start afresh, and committing yourself to a whole host of radical changes…does it sound familiar? When many people embark on a fat loss journey, they can often fall into the trap of thinking that you need to make incredibly drastic changes to your existing diet and life-style in order to be successful. But that’s not the way we like to do things at Team BOX.
We all know that there are a whole host of diets you can adopt to help you lose weight, and many of them do work; whether its Paleo, Weightwatchers, Keto, or Carb Cycling, something they all have in common is they can get you into the required calorie deficit…but, I would dispute how many of them are truly sustainable for the majority.
So, in this blog I am going to talk a little more about “flexible dieting” and three reasons why it might just be the answer to your fat loss prayers.
Firstly, what do we mean by “flexible dieting”?
When I talk about flexible dieting I am simply referring to when you track calories* to help lose body fat, whilst adopting a flexible approach with your food choices. Whilst there is a degree of flexibility, we would aim for a 80/20 split of single ingredient foods to more processed food. This can also be referred to as IIFYM (if it fits your macros) however this term is less frequently used these days, and many can abuse how flexible to be with their diet, neglecting the importance of whole, single-ingredient, nutritious foods.
*If you’re unfamiliar with calorie tracking, a fantastic tool you could check out is an app called MyFitnessPal.
So let’s get into it: below are three characteristics of flexible dieting that I believe make it an incredibly accessible and simple method for anyone embarking on a period of dieting, and if you do decide it’s right for you, hopefully this blog will help you understand how you might adopt this approach in your own life.
Flexible dieting isn’t restrictive
One of the main reasons that diets might be unsuccessful, is that they restrict way too many foods. Whilst initially this might work well in terms of reducing calorie consumption, usually there will come a point when you really crave those foods you used to once enjoy! Wary that some of most favourite foods (chocolate, pizza, a nice cold cider at the local!) are pretty substantial in calories; when adopting a flexible dieting approach, these of course aren’t going to feature as the majority – but that doesn’t mean they cannot be present at all. It’s just a case of understanding how much you can have to ensure you aren’t regularly consuming more than your body really needs. Further, by enjoying your favourite foods every now and then, you probably won’t feel the same urge to over-eat on them. Simply knowing that no food is off-limits really can work wonders.
Put it this way, when someone tells you that you can’t have or do something, I know that I definitely get an urge to want it even more! Flexible dieting prevents this from happening, as all foods can be enjoyed, just in moderate quantities. It also supports you in maintaining a healthy perspective on food, preventing you from labelling particular foods as ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’, and so you develop the habits to not only enjoy them in the right amounts, but also for the right reasons.
Flexible dieting fits your lifestyle
So many people today are leading incredibly busy lives, always on-the-go, and so adopting a diet that can work around this is definitely something to consider. It can be so disheartening to feel that your brilliant efforts have to be put on the back burner should you have a day when you can’t take pre-prepared food to work with you, for example. This is where flexible dieting again comes out on top! By understanding your daily calorie consumption and food choices, you can allow yourself to take every day as it comes. If one day you eat more calories – that’s ok; if another day you eat less – that’s also okay; and if one day you have to eat out on the go – don’t sweat it! As long as you stay in that calorie deficit over the week as a whole, you’re golden.
No-one wants to have to eat six meals a day or have to cook steak at breakfast. They want to live their life, but also keep on track with their fat loss goals, and for this, there is no better diet than flexible dieting.
On this topic, if you haven’t already, check out our most recent blog on the top 5 food swaps for fat loss, which can all be part of a flexible diet.
Flexible dieting is achievable long-term
The best diet you can be on is the one you can realistically see yourself on in ten years’ time.
I remember being told this when I was just starting out in the industry and it is so true – yet very few people really heed this vital bit of advice. Ultimately, with regards to fat loss specifically, it all comes down to calories, and whilst you can take time to evaluate the best low calorie/ high volume foods, and your sources of protein, all food can be enjoyed. This is what makes flexible dieting realistic and attainable for so many people. Flexible dieting is also instrumental in educating you about calories, so that you can successfully sustain your fat loss, long after your period of dieting, having a developed a better understanding of foods. It’s important to note that flexible dieting doesn’t mean you have to track calories long-term – far from it, but in the initial stages of a diet, tracking can be a really insightful way of learning about the calorie content of foods – knowledge that you can take forward with you long after achieving your weight loss goals.
Hopefully this blog has opened your eyes around why flexible dieting can be so great! But if you want to know more and specifically think about how you can put this great diet into action and set your own calories and macros to lose weight, then download our FREE E-BOOK “Have your cake and eat it’. It’s an easy and educational read and fingers crossed this will be the start of the last diet you ever need…