The problem with restrictive diets
Are you tired of feeling trapped by restrictive diets and constantly battling with your cravings? Diets which remove food groups are often marketed as the solution to weight loss, but they come with a lot of problems. These diets usually involve cutting out entire food groups or severely restricting their intake, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, metabolic damage, and even binge eating.
When you deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy, you’re more likely to give in to cravings and overeat. This can cause you to feel guilty and frustrated, leading to a cycle of restriction and rebound that can be difficult to break. The truth is that restrictive diets are not sustainable in the long term and can lead to more harm than good.
What is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting, is a more balanced and sustainable approach to nutrition. It focuses on overall calorie intake rather than strict restrictions, allowing you to eat the foods you love while still making progress towards your weight loss goals.
The idea behind flexible dieting is that you can eat anything you want as long as it fits within your daily calorie goals and the spread can come from any of the macronutrients. Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. By tracking your calorie intake, you can ensure that you’re working towards your weight-loss goals while still enjoying the foods you love.
Benefits of flexible dieting
One of the biggest benefits of flexible dieting is that it allows for a more balanced and sustainable approach to weight management. Unlike restrictive diets, which often involve cutting out entire food groups or severely restricting calorie intake, flexible dieting allows for more freedom and flexibility in your food choices.
Flexible dieting also allows for a more enjoyable eating experience. You don’t have to give up your favourite foods or feel guilty for indulging in a treat. Instead, you can fit those foods into your daily macronutrient goals and still make progress towards your weight loss goals.
Another benefit of flexible dieting is that it can help to prevent binge eating. When you’re not constantly depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy, you’re less likely to have intense cravings and give in to binge eating episodes.
How to get started with flexible dieting
Getting started with flexible dieting is easy. The first step is to determine your daily macronutrient goals. You can use an online calculator or consult with a nutritionist to determine the right requirements ratios for your body and weight loss goals.
Once you’ve determined your macronutrient goals, you’ll want to start tracking your food intake. There are several apps available, such as MyFitnessPal or our very own app that we use with our private clients, that allow you to easily track your food intake and calorie goals.
To help you stay on track it can help to have an idea of what you’re going to consume throughout the day but don’t feel meal prep is must and avoid making impulsive food choices. Meal prep can be as simple as making a larger portion at one meal, so you can utilise leftovers or as complex as prepping all of your meals for the week.
Understanding macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fats
Macronutrients are the building blocks of our diet and provide us with energy, support muscle growth and repair, and help regulate our hormones. The three main macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues. It’s also important for maintaining a healthy immune system and producing hormones. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, and tofu.
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. They provide us with the fuel we need to perform daily activities and exercise. Good sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Fats are important for brain function, hormone production, and nutrient absorption. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and fatty fish.
Tracking your food intake
Tracking your food intake is an essential part of flexible dieting. It allows you to ensure that you’re getting the right balance of macronutrients for your body and weight loss goals.
When tracking your food intake, it’s important to be as accurate as possible. Use a food scale to measure your portions and read nutrition labels carefully. Overestimating or underestimating your food intake can impact your progress towards your weight loss goals. To be honest I always encourage people to opt for the highest value, this way you’re not going to be accidentally over-consuming your calories and thus ruin your weight-loss goal.
Common misconceptions about flexible dieting
There are several common misconceptions about flexible dieting. One of the most common is that it’s all about eating junk food all day. While it’s true that you can fit in treats and indulgences, flexible dieting is also about ensuring that you’re getting the right balance of macronutrients for optimal health and weight loss.
Another misconception is that flexible dieting is only for athletes or bodybuilders. While it’s true that flexible dieting can be beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders, it’s also a great approach for anyone looking to achieve their weight loss goals in a sustainable and balanced way.
Tips for staying on track with flexible dieting
Staying on track with flexible dieting can be challenging, but there are several tips that can help. Understand what your week looks like, plan ahead, know where you want to ‘spend’ your calories in the week. This can help you avoid making impulsive food choices and ensure that you’re staying within your daily goals.
Another tip is to be consistent with your tracking. Don’t skip meals or forget to track your food intake, as this can impact your progress towards your weight loss goals.
It’s also important to remember that flexible dieting is not about perfection. There will be times when you go over your macronutrient goals or indulge. The key is to get back on track as soon as possible and not let one slip-up derail your progress. There is always tomorrow and we share all of our amazing tips and strategies in our 4 Weeks 4 Kilos programme.
Flexible dieting is a more balanced and sustainable approach to nutrition that can help you achieve your weight loss goals without sacrificing the foods you love. With flexible dieting, you can still indulge in your favourite treats while making progress towards your goals. By tracking your macronutrient intake, planning and preparing your meals in advance, and being consistent with your tracking, you can break free from the cycle of restriction and rebound and achieve your weight goals once and for all.