I have been following a flexible diet approach for years now and it really has changed the way I live my everyday.
My 'day on a plate' looks completely different today than it did six years ago - instead of eating chicken and broccoli everyday, I now live a very food-filled life and consume 2500+ calories daily!
I love this approach because it has some give.
It gives me freedom and flexibility to eat foods I genuinely enjoy all while meeting my fitness goals. A night out to dinner with friends, or enjoying ice cream on the beach with my kids isn’t going to derail my progress - it’s actually designed to work with the things we love.
What is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting, also known as tracking macronutrients, is a popular weight loss plan that focuses on your daily macronutrient intake rather than eating certain foods. Essentially, it allows you to eat anything you'd like, as long as it fits within your macro limits.
While tracking macros has become a household name for dieters, this kind of eating is perfect regardless of your goals. You can be working towards fat loss, building lean muscle, or toward smarting your weight. The best part? You can transform it into a lifestyle. The key requirement to making flexible dieting work for you is to meet a protein, carbohydrate and fat intake.
How do I start flexible dieting?
- WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS
Make some time and write down your nutrition specific goals. They should be SMART goals -
- Specific - Well defined and not vague or broad
- Measurable - With specific criteria that measures your progress
- Achievable - Attainable and reflective of your circumstances
- Realistic - Within reach and suitable for your lifestyle
- Timely - Outline a clear deadline or timeframe
Keep your goals somewhere you can easily refer back to, maybe on your phone or printed and stuck on the fridge.
A goal example - I want to drop 5kg in body weight through adhering to my macros consistency over the next 6 weeks and weighing myself frequently.
- DETERMINE YOUR STARTING POINT
I recommend downloading THE BOD app to diarise your current eating habits. Do this for at least a week to understand your starting point. Be honest and include everything - bites of food, any drink that isn’t water, and so on.
From consistently tracking your eating habits you set a benchmark of where to go from here. If you have been honest with your entries, this calorie and macronutrient breakdown will reflect your current ‘maintenance calories’.
- DETERMINE YOUR MACROS
Formulas are used to determine the amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats you need to consume to reach a certain goal. We have a FREE digital Macro Calculator over on THE BOD where you can calculate your personal macros based off your goals.
Once you have your calculated breakdown, compare it with your diarised macros and calories - what differences are there?
The goal is to transition to these new calories and macros.
- BEGIN TRACKING YOUR MACROS
I always track in advance. Entering all the food I plan to eat the next day takes any ‘accidents’ out of the equation. Quite often, if you eat and return to tracking later you’ll find you may have gone over or left only a small allowance of food for the remainder of the day. You may even get to the end of the day and realise you’re nowhere near your protein goal and you end up chugging down two protein shakes! This is why tracking beforehand is such an effective tool.
I recommend entering your main meals first (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and from here you can take a look at your remaining macros to see what snacks you can fill the rest of your day with.
- STAY CONSISTENT
Find consistency and develop your own take on flexible dieting. Remember, this has to work for YOU. Be patient, once you get the hang of tracking then you can start getting creative and it’ll become second nature. Some people prefer to pick high volume foods so they can fill their day with plenty of snacks and meals, while others may prefer calorie-dense meals and less snacking. Find what works for you, and have fun with it!
We have so much more information over on THE BOD. We’re obsessed with this nutrition approach so we’d love to help you on your flexible dieting journey. Comment below with any questions you may have or reach out on socials @sophie_guidolin @thebod_