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What is flexible dieting? Everything you need to know

What is flexible dieting? Everything you need to know

Find out how to eat your favourite foods and still achieve fat loss

What’s the first thing you think of if someone mentions the word diet? Endless meal prep, chicken, veg and protein shakes? Well there’s a new kid on the block and it goes by the name of flexible dieting. This method of losing weight encourages you to have variation in your diet, socialise and still enjoy the things you love.

IIFYM

If It Fits Your Macros. The main feature of flexible dieting are those five words. The rule is you can eat whatever foods you like, as long as it fits your daily macro and calorie allowance. Macronutrients (AKA macros) refers to the amount of proteins, carbs and fats you have taken in through food and need to be tailored and calculated to each specific person based on your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). As long as you stick to your numbers and remain in a calorie deficit, where you are burning more energy than you are taking in, you can eat the slice of pizza you’ve been craving and still achieve fat loss results.

But a chocolate bar isn’t clean…

For optimal health you ideally do not want to be filling your body with junk food just because it fits your macros; still aim to consume nutrient-dense foods 80 per cent of the time, including fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates. These foods will also keep you feeling fuller for longer. The other 20 per cent, you can have a little more fun with. Originally this is where the term ‘clean eating’ stemmed from, eating nourishing food to best fuel your body.

Unfortunately the term ‘clean’ has been taken to the extreme and now foods which haven’t been edited and uploaded onto the page of your favourite Instagram blogger are branded bad or dirty. A chocolate bar is neither clean nor dirty, it just tastes super sexy. Of course it has less nutrients than a plate of veg and won’t leave you feeling satiated, but your body processes carbs, protein and fats the same way, no matter where they came from.

Flexible dieting lifestyle

People love this style of dieting because it still allows you to eat out for your friend’s birthday, have your sweet fix and go out with your colleagues for Friday night drinks. It’s less restrictive than the traditional idea of dieting and therefore can be much more sustainable. You don’t have to commit your life to tupperware, but to being accountable for what you are consuming. If you know you are eating out one evening, you just need to save some calories throughout the day to allow for this.

Meet your new best friend

MyFitnessPal. This app asks you to enter your daily nutrition goals and track your food throughout the day, making sure you don’t go over your macro limits. You can easily search for foods and enter them manually or scan the barcode of that sandwich you bought for lunch and the app will usually come up with the product instantly. Once it’s logged, you can view the macros in that food. It also tracks alcohol and has popular restaurant menus already loaded, such as Nando’s and Wagamama.

Where to start…

1. Download the app and start to get used to its features.

2. Ask a professional to help calculate your macros and calories or have a look online about how to do this yourself.

3. Begin to educate yourself about proteins, carbs and fats to support your understanding of the IIFYM diet.

4. Prepare to get a little bit dirty!

For more…

Check out our ultimate guide to nutrition for more info on healthy eating.

Follow @aimeecorry for more advice about training and nutrition.