What is flexible dieting?

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Flexible nutrition is a method that sets specific macronutrient targets while granting the freedom to select enjoyable foods to meet those objectives.

Differing from conventional diets, flexible nutrition refrains from categorizing food as inherently good or bad. This mindset fosters a positive connection with food and establishes a more enduring, sustainable lifestyle.

Think of flexible dieting as a budget

While many assume that flexible dieting entails unrestricted indulgence in unhealthy fare, reality diverges significantly.

Just like adhering to a financial budget doesn’t translate to unlimited spending on sports cars, lottery tickets, and boats, there’s a parallel with flexible dieting and macro targets.

Sure, it’s conceivable to acquire such items within the budget, but it might not be prudent. Overspending might compromise your ability to cover essential expenses like mortgage/rent, utilities, or clothing and stay within that budget.

Now, consider this analogy in the context of flexible dieting and daily calorie goals.

Manage your budget efficiently

If your daily calorie budget is 1800, allocating 800 calories to a sizable slice of cheesecake leaves you with only 1000 calories for the day. Meeting protein, fiber, and micronutrient goals while feeling satiated becomes challenging with such limited calories.

Conversely, with a daily calorie budget of 3000, incorporating a 900-calorie cheesecake might be necessary to meet the budget without feeling overly full. This leaves 2100 calories for the day to fulfill protein, fiber, and micronutrient goals – an achievable task.

Hence, a macro budget holds comparable significance to a financial budget!

All types of food are accepted

So, is “junk” food acceptable? Absolutely! It’s crucial to acknowledge that no foods are off-limits when practicing flexible dieting.

If you often dismiss specific foods as “bad” or stick to the same foods labeled as “good,” reconsider your perspective.

Evaluate food choices based on different criteria:

  • What macros does this food contribute to my daily budget?
  • Can I still reach my protein target by consuming this food?
  • Will I feel hungry later if I allocate most of my daily carbs to this food?
  • Have I included enough vegetables in my diet today?
  • Does this food cause digestive discomfort?
  • Most importantly, do I genuinely enjoy this food, or are there enjoyable alternatives?

While certain foods may be less suitable at specific moments, decisions should consider multiple factors. For instance, indulging in a substantial piece of cake or half a pizza right before bedtime when you’ve reached your weekly macros may not align with your goals.

So, keep in mind that foods exist in shades of gray, not strictly as “yes” or “no,” and certainly not as “good” or “bad.” There’s no reason why “fun” foods cannot be part of your dietary plan. In fact, some research suggests that adopting a flexible and less stringent approach to dieting enhances adherence.

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