If you are interested in losing weight or are otherwise into fitness and toning your body to make it look the way you want, you probably know all about diets. With so many different diets out there, it can be difficult to know which are the easiest and most effective. New diets seem to pop up all the time to replace yesterday’s diets, so it can be difficult to keep up with all of them.
Traditional diets focus on avoiding certain foods while eating more of other foods instead. It’s possible that you may or may not lose weight on these diets, but what is for sure is that they are very difficult to follow. Depriving yourself of all the foods you like to eat and only being able to eat certain foods that are a lot less appealing may work for a little while, but it is a recipe for failure in the long term. Fortunately, there is a different kind of dieting that stands out from all the other diets you’ve heard about. It’s called flexible dieting.
The first question you probably are wondering about is what is flexible dieting. Before answering that question, let’s clear up a misconception. Flexible dieting isn’t actually a diet at all. It’s more of a concept or a philosophy of eating. With this kind of “diet,” you are actually allowed to eat whatever you want. The key is that whatever you eat has to fit your nutritional goals, or the macronutrient levels you are trying to hit.
Macronutrients are what make up most of what we eat. The three main macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. We need each of these macronutrients in our diets in certain ratios. Rather than counting calories as a traditional diet might do, a flexible diet involves tracking these macronutrients to make sure you are reaching the targets you have set for yourself.
The beauty of this kind of dieting is that you don’t have worry about what kinds of foods you are eating or not eating as long as you are eating in accordance with your macronutrient targets. You don’t have to avoid that bowl of ice cream because it has fat or skip the burger because it contains carbohydrates. What counts is making sure you are meeting your targets for the right amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Reflecting the idea of eating based on macronutrient counts is another term often associated with flexible dieting, which is “if it fits your macros” or IIFYM. What this means is that you are able to choose any food you would like to eat as long as the foods you choose are in line with your macronutrient goals. All you have to know is how many grams of carbs, how many grams of fat and how many grams of protein the foods you are choosing have. As long as it doesn’t put you over specific targets you design for yourself in line with recommended amounts and the goals you are trying to achieve, those foods are perfectly safe to eat. Finding good flexible dieting IIFYM strategies can be a lot simpler than with other kinds of diets.
How do you decide what ratios of each macronutrient you should aim for? Well, part of it depends on recommended guidelines from nutritional professionals. The standard guidelines from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up from 45-65 percent of a diet, fat makes up 20-35 percent and protein makes up from 10-35 percent. But those standard recommendations may need to be adjusted depending on your goals. If you would like to lose weight, you may need to cut fat and/or carbs. If you want to put on muscle, you’ll want to increase your protein intake. It all depends on what your desires for body composition are.
To begin with a flexible diet, you’ll need to calculate how many grams of each macronutrient you require daily. It depends on a number of factors including your health, metabolism and lifestyle. For more details on these factors and some formulas you can use to determine where you should set your macro counts, click here. You will then need to actually keep track of the macros in the foods you eat, which you can do with the help of an app such as MyFitnessPal.
What are some of the most of important benefits of the flexible diet? Probably the number one benefit is that the diet is effective. Contrary to what certain infomercials might want you to believe, the only way to truly lose weight is to burn more calories than you bring in. Tracking your macros helps make sure you stay within the caloric limits that will help you achieve your goals without preventing you from eating the kinds of food you want to eat.
A flexible diet also lives up to its name by bringing with it a great deal of flexibility. You don’t have to just stick with foods that are considered “healthy,” meaning the next time your family wants to head out for dinner at a restaurant, you can join them.
The flexible diet is also something you can stick with for the long haul. Since you don’t have limit yourself to “cheat days” that come just one day a week or avoid all of the foods you’ve always loved eating, it makes it more likely you will find the motivation to stay with the diet and achieve the goals you are dreaming of.
The flexible diet offers many advantages over other kinds of diets. Unlike most diets, it doesn’t deprive you of any specific foods or control the kind of foods you are allowed to eat. Flexible dieting IIFYM can be an excellent choice for achieving a variety of body composition goals such as losing weight and gaining muscle. Instead of just asking what is flexible dieting, why not try it for yourself and see the advantages of going with a “diet” that is actually a philosophy of eating?