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Flexible Dieting and Why It’s My Favourite Approach To Fat Loss


When I initially start off with a client I ask if there will likely be any factors that will stop them from achieving their goals. This could literally be anything from family problems, to emotional problems, even time management issues.

But a lot of the time, it's going to be chocolate, wine and cheese. Or a combination of highly palatable foods they cannot part with.

We already know that for a diet to work you have to be able to stick to it and enjoy it. A diet that gives you the freedom to indulge without the 'all or nothing' approach to dieting. You know; a diet that includes more food than chicken, broccoli, salads, oats and rice.

The way to do this is to stop thinking of certain foods as evil. As soon as you remove yourself from the ‘good vs bad food’ paradigm of dieting you start to gain back control.

So how can we do this?

I’ve touched on it a few times in previous posts but haven’t gone into much detail until now.

Enter flexible dieting

The diet to end all diets. It’s not even really a diet. It’s just common sense. Once you figure this out things will become 100x easier and you'll suddenly start to realise that your pre-conceived notions on how to diet successfully were completely wrong:

“Nope, you can't have chocolate, it's fattening.”

“There's too much sugar in Coke, you better avoid it.”

“Jane's on a diet. She better have a water whilst we can all have a glass of wine”

If you follow any of the above blanket advice then it's goodbye long-term sustainable success, and hello yo-yo dieting, binge eating, anxiety and a very negative relationship with food.

Instead of this what you should focus on is eating a mostly single ingredient, nutrient dense diet, with a sprinkle of your favourite foods. Other than avoiding trans-fats (for the most part) there's really no other cause for concern.

If we had to assign percentages – 80% of your diet should be meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Pretty much what you would expect a diet to look like from the top-down anyway.

You then allow yourself 20% wiggle room to enjoy your ‘treats’. That could mean a few glasses of wine, or a few scoops of ice cream after dinner.

I've seen so much success with clients who use a flexible dieting approach that it's almost shocking more people are not doing it.

But with everything, there's an extreme that needs to be addressed.

If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)

This is flexible dieting taken to the extreme. This is when you aim for a set number of protein, carbs and fats in a day, and then eat whatever you want as long as you hit your targets.

For example, if you had to eat 2,000 calories per day in order to loss body fat, you might set yourself with a goal to consume around 125 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 78 grams of fat.

As long as you hit these numbers, and thus remained in a calorie deficit you would lose body fat.

You could eat a pizza, down a protein shake with a big spoonful of peanut butter, and nibble on some crisps. As long as your are in your macro range, you'll be on target to achieve your goals.

Can you clearly see the problem with this approach? Yep -nutrition and ultimately health, completely go out the window. Your body needs vitamins, minerals and fibre (which potentially a diet like this will lack) in order to thrive and be in a more optimal state.

There's no point in having a decent physique if you do not have the health to go with it. That's like having a shiny red Ferrari, without an engine.

I hate extremes. To the extreme. I despise concepts that say you should only eat 'clean' foods, whatever that even means? I also despise when people say you can eat whatever you want, as long as you are in a calorie deficit.

Health should always be your priority. Without health you are nothing. Which is why the flexible dieting approach works.

You still eat your greens and ensure that your body is properly looked after from a nutritional perspective, without the need to be extremely rigid by removing your favourite foods, and by limiting the amount of sub-optimal choices that you could make if you only aim to eat to your ‘numbers’.

I’ll continue to advocate and coach this diet. My clients will continue to see amazing results. Because great health and a wonderful physique is the one!

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