What is flexible dieting and how does it work? This diet, unlike other strict diets, allows you to eat what you want and like, even when you want to lose weight!
The only “rule” to follow is the count of macronutrients, which must be set together with the calorie intake. In this article, you will find the definition of flexible dieting and the way to set it into practice.
What Is The Flexible Diet?
The flexible diet (flexible dieting) is a dietary approach that allows you to eat what you want and reach your goal. Unlike others, in fact, it does not have rigid limits that determine which foods you can eat and which not and it does not specify at what times to take nutrients or what food combinations to do.
The great advantage of this approach is that the resulting food plan will be highly personalized and sustainable in the long run.
When the indications of a diet do not adapt to the person and his habits, it is easy that after an initial period of enthusiasm and adherence to the diet, it is no longer pursued.
Sustainability is therefore the key to achieving results, for which you need much time.
How Does The Flexible Diet Work?
The flexible diet is based on some principles, which allow it to be a food approach that works. The first is respecting the energy income based on your goal:
- If you want to keep the weight? Stay in normal calorie
- In case you want to lose weight? Establish a calorie deficit (-300/500 kcal) and follow a low-calorie diet
- Do you want to gain weight? Set an energy excess (+300/500 kcal) and stay on a high-calorie diet
The energy balance is the fundamental prerequisite for changing one’s body weight and, after understanding how many calories to introduce it is the turn of the macronutrient setting, which is further explored later.
Another point of the flexible diet is the choice of food sources and having a restrictive diet limited to a few foods is not very sustainable.
Varying sources is important, but this does not mean that there is a green light for junk food and unhealthy foods: the quality of food is essential for health, which is why a diet that, in addition to being varied, is always balanced.
When to eat? There are no fixed hours, organized primarily from a work and social point of view to make the diet even easier to follow and adaptable to your commitments. If you exercise, pay attention to meals before and after training.
How To Calculate Macros?
Based on the energy needs, the macronutrients can be divided as follows:
- carbohydrates, minimum 2-3 g / lbs of body weight,
- protein, minimum 1 g / lbs of body weight,
- fat, 0.5-1.5 g / lbs of body weight.
However, it is not that easy there are many variables that come into play, and which are to be considered as: are you a sedentary person or not? Do you exercise? Do you have good muscle mass?
Do you have to maintain the weight, increase it or decrease it? How Much Fat Mass Do You Have? And many others. Let’s see, how it is not so simple (if it were easy, everyone would not have so many doubts about what to do to achieve their results, right?).
Some general considerations for setting macronutrients:
- set proteins and fats first, then what remains to reach the caloric intake dedicate it to carbohydrates;
- if you are active, sporty, have good muscle mass, give space to carbohydrates (on average, 3-7 g/lbs, even up to more than 10 if you practice endurance sports);
- are you more sedentary and with more fat mass, based on the ranges given by less space for carbohydrates and more for lipids;
for an athlete, for normal/high-calorie proteins consider the range 1.6-2.2 g/lbs;
- when you want to lose weight, raise your proteins even beyond 2 g/lbs.
Flexible Diet For Weight Loss: What To Eat?
Even more, speaking of a flexible diet, there are no foods that make you lose weight (or get fat): if you follow a low-calorie diet, in fact, you can lose weight even by eating junk food every day.
Where is the problem? That by choosing these foods, which are densely caloric and unhealthy, you would be hungry and your health would not benefit.
However, there are guidelines that allow you to be more satiated and also have a healthy diet. So, what do you prefer when you want to lose weight?
Foods are rich in fiber, protein, water: all characteristics that make a meal more filling. It is the case of:
- Whole grains,
- Dried fruit,
- Fresh meat,
- Milk and dairy products.
Flexible Diet And Bodybuilding
A flexible diet can also be followed if you do bodybuilding both in the definition phase and in the mass and maintenance phase. Depending on the phase you will need to recalibrate your caloric and macronutrient intake as well as your training.
Workout with weights is helpful because:
- in the definition phase, it allows to better maintain muscle mass,
- during the mass phase, it allows to better manage the caloric excess and to count on a better partitioning of the nutrients, which will be preferentially directed towards the muscle cell, not the fat one.
The caloric deficit can be established both through the decrease in energy intake given by food and with the increase in energy expenditure, especially if a cardio component is added to the weight training.
This is because resistance training allows you to burn many more calories than a weight training session in which 300-500 kcal are consumed on average.
In the definition phase, it is worthwhile:
- give more space to proteins to maintain muscle mass and lose weight from fat mass,
- pay more attention to the timing of nutrients, concentrating most of the daily calories in the pre and post-workout to limit that the chronic energy deficiency heavily affects the performance in the gym,
- consuming fat away from training.
In the mass phase, there is no danger that the performance is limited by the energy context, indeed: it is an opportunity to exploit the excess of energy and push harder.
To promote muscle growth, less importance is given to proteins and more to carbohydrates in this phase.
Conclusion On Flexible Diet
The flexible diet is certainly a food approach that works, when wisely set up it allows you to reach your goal by adapting the diet to your food preferences, habits, and commitments.
Although many are looking for quick and easy ways, in reality, it takes a long time to effectively lose weight or gain it sometimes months and years. This is why sustainability in the long and very long term is truly an essential element.
However, even this is not the definitive answer or the best diet: probably someone, on the other hand, is better off when there are stakes to respect. As always, the best diet is the one that works for you!