Flexible Dieting Like A Pro With These 5 Tips!!
What if you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, isn’t it? If so, why bother dieting you ask?
If the word “diet” sends shivers down your spine; it’s normal and we understand.
Most “diets” feel like a punishment.
Most diet/ fitness “gurus” promote fear-mongering and severe food restrictions, instead of actually teaching nutrition, energy balance, exercise, and how human physiology/metabolism really works.
Gluten, sugar, high-glycemic carb, processed food, nasi lemak, char kuey teow… just kiss goodbye to everything you like eating, they say.
This got you thinking, maybe you’re just not doing enough. Maybe you’re not mentally tough enough. Maybe abs aren’t worth it after all.
On the other hand, maybe you can survive on chicken breast, rice, and broccoli? That this is nothing compared to starving children in Africa…
Stop! Stop beating yourself up and read this.
What if we told you that you could transform your body and still get to eat foods you actually like?
What if all you need to do to lose fat and gain muscle is to follow a set of flexible dietary tips…not starve and punish yourself.
What if we promise you that you could be free from the restrictions and fear most people relate with dieting and learn to love it instead?
Sounds too good to be true?
We are here to tell you it’s true and it works. Well, only if you don’t abuse the freedom.
So, what is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting is a popular and effective weight loss program/methodology that’s founded in the knowledge that no food in isolation is inherently good or bad.
How much(calorie) you eat is more important than what you eat.
This statement alone would have the “clean foods” zealots all bent out of shape. But you cannot escape from the fact that the laws of energy balance apply to everyone.
Energy balance is the fundamental law governing fat loss, to lose fat one must eat fewer calories than what the body needs/burns.
Every single diet in existence works to reduce your calorie intake(by restricting certain food groups or even macronutrient) so as to induce a negative energy balance (eating less calorie than what your body needs), which leads to fat loss.
In other words, eat too much of the “cleanest” foods in the world and you will gain weight still.
Yet, maintain a calorie deficit while eating a “teenager diet” of junk food and empty calorie crap and you will lose weight still.
Just look at Professor Mark Haub who lost 12 kilos on a diet of protein shakes, Twinkies, Doritos, Oreos, and Little Debbie snacks. He merely ate fewer calories than what his body needed, albeit all empty calories from sugary junk food. Yet, as the first law of thermodynamics dictates, this leads to a reduction in body fat mass.
1 calorie from whole foods and 1 calorie from processed food is the same. As a calorie is a measurement of energy. A calorie is a quantity, not quality.
Yes, you get to eat whatever food you like…but that does not mean you get to stuff yourself silly.
Getting Started With Flexible Dieting
Calculating Your Energy Needs
As you have now come to understand, the key to losing fat/weight is to be in a calorie deficit over a long period of time. Hence, you first need to determine your calorie and macronutrient needs.
You can calculate your total daily energy expenditure(TDEE) as follows:
- Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) + 5
- Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) – 161
This number is then multiplied by an activity factor to estimate your total calorie needs:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise): x 1.2
- Lightly active (1–3 days per week): x 1.375
- Moderately active (6–7 days per week): x 1.55
- Very active (every day): x 1.725
- Extra active (twice or more per day, elite athletes): x 1.9
To lose weight, you then subtract a percentage of the calorie from your calculated total daily energy expenditure to create a calorie deficit. A safe and sustainable amount would be a 20% deficit.
For example, a person who has a calculated TDEE of 2,000 calories would subtract 400 calories; eating 1,600 calories daily to lose weight.
Or you can use an online calculator, just key in your numbers and they will do all the calculations for you!
Calculating Your Macronutrient Needs
After determining a calorie goal, you then calculate your macronutrient or “macro” needs.
They are nutrients that your body needs in the largest amounts, for good reason.
They provide calories and have numerous important functions in the body, which is why it’s never a good idea to cut one of them out of your diet.
Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram, typically 45–65% of total daily calories
Proteins: 4 calories per gram, typically 15–35% of total daily calories
Fats: 9 calories per gram, typically 20–35% of total daily calories
Tailor your food choices to your personal preferences, fitness goals, and lifestyle.
If you’re someone who loves starchy foods such as rice, noodles, potato, and bread, you may want to go for a higher carb range while keeping fat intake in the lower end.
If you’re always craving greasy foods such as fried chicken, pizza, nasi kandar, definitely go for higher fat intake while reducing carb intake.
Isn’t it fun and easy? No complicated recipes, food plans or endless lists of forbidden foods.
You get to choose the foods you would like to eat, but staying within your set macronutrient range and calorie limit.
Now that you know how much calories you need, let’s get started!
TRACKING YOUR CALORIES
Just like how you would track your finances to avoid overspending, you too should track your calories if you want to see serious and consistent results.
One systematic review found that weight loss programs that employed calorie counting led to an average of 3.3 kg more weight loss than those that didn’t.
There are plenty of ways to track your calories, from an endless list of mobile apps to a good ol’ excel spreadsheet. And it doesn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes a day.
There really isn’t an excuse for not tracking your calories.
MyFitnessPal is the most popular calorie counter app right now. It saves your favourite meals and foods for convenient logging.
If you’re a fan of the ol’ reliable excel spreadsheet, you can create a list of your favourite foods on it, complete with the calorie and macronutrient count.
Here’s an example of how it would look like:
Having a meal bank of calorie friendly foods that you find enjoyable is key to a healthy and sustainable long term fat loss plan.
Piece them together to create your meals and keep your daily calorie intake within 50 calories of your target.
Know your portions
Portion sizes have consistently increased, in some restaurants, a single meal can provide way more than what the average person needs in a well-balanced meal.
Here are some balanced serving sizes compared to common items to help you estimate your portion sizes:
1 serving of rice or noodles (1 cup): a computer mouse or your fist.
1 serving of lean meat (100 grams): a deck of cards.
1 serving of cheese/butter (20 gram): The size of your thumb.
1 serving of fresh fruit (1/2 cup): a tennis ball.
1 serving of green leafy vegetables (1/2 cup): a tennis ball
1 serving of vegetables (1 cup): the size of your palm.
1 teaspoon of oil: 1 fingertip.
Calorie counting often relies on rough estimation(eyeballing/agak-agak), it isn’t an exact science, unless you weigh and measure your foods.
But it’s not of life-or-death importance to be spot on with your estimations, just try to be as accurate and unbiased as you can when recording your intake.
As time goes by, your experience will bring higher accuracy.
Quality still matters
Just because you can eat a bunch of junk food while staying under your calorie needs and lose weight, doesn’t mean you should.
Know that your body needs adequate fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals to live a strong and healthy life. Unfortunately ice cream, cookies, and fried food alone won’t get you there.
Also, the effects that whole foods and processed foods have on your hunger, appetite hormones, and the number of calories burned for digestion can vary significantly.
The difference being that whole, non-processed foods will keep you full for longer and require more energy for digestion.
This can make all the difference in eating fewer calories and sustaining it in the long term.
Here’s a simple list of enjoyable and nutritious foods that we at KD Trainer eat regularly:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grains like wheat, barley, oats, brown rice
- Seeds & Nuts
- Lentils, peas
- Salmon, white fish, shrimp, tuna
- Lean beef, lean pork
- Grilled/baked skinless chicken
The list goes on, and of course, yours may look different.
The idea is to understand what foods are unprocessed(and nutritious) and what aren’t. And consume the majority (70 to 80%) of your daily calories from relatively unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods.
Planning for success
Failure to plan is planning to fail.
If you know you’re going out for a big dinner, then eat less throughout the day and save up your calorie quota so you can enjoy the dinner without guilt!
And when you know you’ll be eating out somewhere unfamiliar, look up the menu beforehand, find out the calories from your calorie tracker app, then structure the rest of your day’s calorie intake around it!
Have you ever experienced telling yourself you’ll have just a few potato chips or just a spoonful of ice cream, but the next thing you know you’re licking up the crumbs or the bottom of the ice-cream tub?
That is why you should set up your environment for success. Remove temptations: Reduce the amount of junk food in your house and replace them with calorie-friendly alternatives.
Eat More Protein
Protein is the single most important macronutrient for losing weight.
This is due to protein being the most satiating macronutrient and its appetite-suppressant effect.
In other words, eating more protein in your diet is the easiest and most effective way to help you eat fewer calories and lose fat/weight.
Aim for a daily protein intake of around 25% of your daily calorie goal.
For example, a person with an intake of 2,000 daily calories would need 500 calories from protein alone. Since one gram of protein has 4 calories, this equates to 120 grams of protein(400 grams of cooked chicken or 3 large chicken breasts).
You can eat the foods you like and have the body you want.
Calorie counting may not be necessary for weight/fat loss, but at the end of the day, calories still count.
There is no need to further elaborate on the tips above, do it and see the results for yourself.
There’s a lot more we could teach you about optimizing flexible dieting (and we do in our exclusive Fit-From-Home group – CLICK on the link to be a VIP for free today), but this article should give you everything you need to get started and see results.