Sound to good to be true? Well on this occasion, it really is true.
Expecting to read about some kind of Diet fad or gimmick? Not here.
Thinking that you are going to have to kill yourself in the gym to do it? Nope.
What I’m going to share in this article is a very simple and effective method of keeping your nutrition dialled in so that you can lose weight at a consistent, sustained rate without excluding the foods you love. I will try my best to keep it short, simple and jargon free. If you want to know more about the science behind it all, google can show you the way.
The concept is one which I personally use with myself and clients. It is known as “flexible dieting” and has gained quite a bit of interest lately.
The information is intended as a guide for healthy individuals, and as with any nutritional changes you make, your doctor should be consulted first.
What is Flexible Dieting?
Essentially it is setting your self a specific calorie goal for each day, based upon your own individual needs, and then tracking what you eat each day in order to meet that goal.
Calories are king when it comes to weight loss.
If you burn more than you need (known as a caloric deficit), you lose weight.
If you consume more than you need (known as a caloric surplus), you gain weight.
So setting a daily goal and tracking it means you know if you will be losing weight or not.
You will also set a goal for how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you eat each day. As mentioned earlier, I won’t be getting to sciencey or specific with this but these are called macronutrients.
Macronutrients are where your body draws its energy, vitamins and minerals for all of its daily functions. Energy is measured in calories. All foods contain varying amounts of these macronutrients( protein, carbs and fat), which is why different foods contain different amounts of calories. So we keep track of our overall number of calories but then split that number down into goals for protein, carbs and fats to ensure a healthy balance of all 3.
Working Out Calorie and Macronutrient Goals
The first step is to calculate how many calories your body needs in order to function each day. This is called your total daily energy expenditure or TDEE. This takes into account how many calories are needed just to maintain normal bodily function as well as your activity levels.
The easiest way to calculate TDEE is to use an online calculator like this one.
Now you should have a starting point to base your goal from. For weight loss you should begin by subtracting 500 from this number as we need to be in that caloric deficit. Now you have your calorie target.
You can work out the macronutrient goals as follows:
Protein target: 1 multiplied by your bodyweight in pounds.
Fat target: 0.4 mutliplied by your bodyweight in pounds.
Carb target: this makes up the rest of your calorie target. so you need to do a little bit of maths. I wont go too much into the reason for these figures since i want this to be a practical guide. Basically, 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories and 1 gram of carbs contains 4 calories.
Steps to working out how many grams of carbs:
Multiply your protein target by 4
Multiply your fat target by 9
Add these 2 totals together
Subract this number from your total calorie goal
Divide this number by 4 and you are left with how many grams of carbs you need to eat
How to track All of This
So you now know how many total calories you need to eat in order to lose weight at a healthy pace. You also know your macronutrient target. Fibre should also be trargeted at a minimum of 30g per day.
All to do now is to track them everyday to make sure you stick to them and get the results you want.
By far the easiest way to do this is with the online and smartphone app MyFitnessPal.
Using this app and the flexible dieting method I just outlined, means that you no longer have to ban the foods you find most delicious. As long as you stick to your daily targets, you will lose weight.
Take all required body measurements (weight, bodyfat %, circumferences etc.) regularly and be patient, give it a couple of weeks. If after 2 weeks of tracking your measurement, nothing has changed then you may need to reduce your calorie goal slightly. I recommend taking away another 200 calories, review this again after another 2 weeks. If you are making progress, leave it alone and keep going.
This method of dieting has been criticised by some for promoting the consumption of large amounts of “junk” food. This is down to a number of people not understanding the ideology behind it properly.
It is not an excuse to fit a load of processed crap into your diet. Yes you may still lose weight but you will be at risk of sacrificing other health aspects.
As a rule with this diet, the vast majority of you intake should come for a variety of natural, unprocessed whole-foods. This will help you cover your vitamin and mineral needs for the day.
I suggest using an 80/20 rule – 80% of you intake should be unprocessed foods. The remaining 20% is there for when you have a craving or fancy something else.
Try it out, Free Yourself of Diet Restrictions
Give it a go for a few weeks and see how you get on. I have seen great success with flexible dieting many times. This method has great psychological benefits as it removes that restriction on certain food. Everybody knows that as soon as you restrict a food, that food becomes the one food you crave the most. Then when you give into that craving, you open the flood gates to the inevitable binge that follows. Make these cravings and progress-haulting binges a thing of the past.
If you have any questions or would like further info on this article click to Contact Me now.