What exactly is flexible dieting? Well sit back and take 5 minutes to have your questions answered. Some of you may have heard this term before, while others may be thinking “flexible dieting….??” It is my hopes in this short post, you will learn the ins and outs of flexible dieting and how it could benefit you.
I am continue the mini series on “What’s New” in the Nutrition world with this post on Flexible Dieting. Make sure you read up on Intermittent Fasting from a few weeks ago.
Again, lets not shun the word “diet” – after all it started as a good thing. Diet should just refer to how one eats, not the restrictions one has. Although, some of us do have a diet that has restrictions, i.e. gluten free, dairy fee, nut free, etc. Dieting in the sense of restricting yourself from carbs, fats, sugars, etc is very different.
The definition of Flexible Dieting is as follows: [also known as If It Fits Your Macros or simply Counting Macros] is simply the counting and tracking of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) to achieve a body composition goal – once you obtain all the correct ratio of macros you can eat what you want.
Others will follow a 80/20 rule: eating healthy 80% of the time and allowing for some splurging 20% of the time. No foods are left off limits, so no restrictions.
The Pros of a Flexible Dieting:
- It’s easy to follow – since there are no restrictions, nothing is off limits so there’s no weird recipes to follow. You can simply chose what foods you want to consume as long as your meet your required macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats & proteins)
- May help keep weight off over time – Studies show that when following a flexible plan, dieters are more likely to keep their weight off
- Freedom for dieters – Flexible dieting allows users to have more freedom with food choices, making it easier for dieters to stay on track at parties, restaurants or when in situations with limited foods
- Beneficial to those with specific needs – it’s easy for those to follow diets that have specific macronutrient needs or those required to be on a specific diet (diabetics, ketogenic, etc)
The Cons of Flexible Dieting:
- The splurging – Some dieters can take “eating whatever they want” to the extreme, sabotaging their healthy lifestyle by eating unhealthy food options.
- Just because you are eating all your macros doesn’t mean it’s healthy – A dieter can be eating all the wrong types of macros, i.e. those high in saturated fats, or simple carbohydrates instead of complex carbohydrates.
- Not getting all the vitamins needed – If one isn’t eating nutritious foods, they may be missing out on the important vitamins and minerals needed in their diet. White bread can fulfill your carbohydrate needs, or fried chicken your protein, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what your body needs.
- The tracking isn’t for everyone – some may find it tedious to be tracking their macros everyday, which can lead to more stress for the individual, which isn’t what is needed. It can lead to unhealthy food behaviors, or an eating disorder for some.
I like the 80/20 rule in all honesty. Trying to consume all the fruits and vegetables you need, proteins and healthy fats. Not necessarily needing to measure out all your macros daily, and being able to enjoy some chocolate or ice cream on occasion. Restrictions aren’t healthy, unless medically necessary for some time or necessary due to food allergies, etc. Restricting foods to simply lose weight, isn’t always effective.
An 80/20 diet is a little different than flexible dieting, in that you don’t need to count your macros, but you still aren’t restricting yourself.
I hope this gives you some more clarity into Flexible Dieting. Let me know your thoughts below.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit