What does it mean to be a flexible dieter?
People tend to get the wrong idea about what flexible dieting really is. I think mainly the issue arises from the use of the term IIFYM (If it fits your macros). Now, don't get me wrong, the term is catchy and all, but I feel it sends out the wrong message. Because the problem is that most people take the term too literally, and actually think that you can eat whatever the hell you want as long as it fits your daily macronutrient requirements. But as a true flexible dieter knows, this is far from being true.
We don't just eat whatever fits our macros, we eat according to our daily nutrient requirements. And by this I mean, we see food by its micronutrient (vitamins minerals, etc.), macronutrient, caloric and fiber content. Because there's a lot more to proper nutrition than just the caloric value of a meal.
In my opinion, a real flexible dieter has more knowledge about proper nutrition and eating healthy than any other dieter out there.
Why? Because most people have no clue what a proper diet really is despite the fact that they preach "clean eating", "paleo" or whatever dietary philosophy is being hyped at the moment. And I'll give you an example...
If you ask the common dieter about what their daily sodium intake should be, most of the time they'll tell you you should avoid it completely.
Really? How can you possibly think that avoiding and essential mineral for life is healthy?
And if you ask them what they think about saturated fats, they'll probably tell you that it's worse than slapping your grandma.
But is this true? Is saturated fat that bad?
No, no it isn't. You don't need to avoid saturated fats, you need to know how to balance your overall fats by having an adequate intake of saturated and unsaturated fats. And it's this balance that's going to contribute to your overall health.
And these are all things that a true flexible dieter knows. He knows that health doesn't come from avoiding foods, he knows it all comes down to knowing how to find balance with your nutrient intake. Because at the end of the day this is what matters.
This is what flexible dieting really means, it's about finding balance and understanding how important food is, not only for your physical wellbeing, but also for your mental sanity. It's about breaking this bad relationship with foods that these restrictive diets have brought upon the general population.
You shouldn't fear food, you should embrace it as what it is, the fuel that gives you life!
When people talk to me about the diets they follow or how you should be avoiding certain foods to reach your goals, I always ask them the same question:
¿Do you see yourself doing this for more than a few weeks at a time?
There's always an awkward silence followed by the questions before I receive an actual answer. And it's exactly this that causes so many dieters to fail at reaching their goals.
Fitness and health aren't a one time thing, this isn't a short term goal, you're in this for life! So you need to find a way of approaching your goals in a manner that you can see yourself doing this for years and not just a few weeks.
Do you think you can really restrict yourself from one of the greatest pleasures in life that is eating good food? Do you think you can stick to a meal plan for more than 12 weeks at a time? I'm guessing you can't.
We all have cravings from time to time, it's part of human nature and we shouldn't be punished or feel guilty when we give into these cravings. You should be allowed to enjoy those indulgences every once in a while, it's one of the things that makes life worth living!
So why not find balance and enjoy the things you love in moderation?
Not only will this improve your adherence to the plan, but it will also help you from going absolutely crazy from following a restrictive diet.
To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art!... Be a strict dieter, not a restricted one!
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.