The Four Essential Principles of Flexible Nutrition*
Be less strict and rigid with your diet by using a flexible dieting approach and following these essential principles:
- Modify your diet based on personal preferences, goals and tolerances.
- Enjoy your favourite food in moderation without feeling guilty and deprived.
- Stay calm and stick to your diet if you do overeat or have something not “on” your diet.
- Adopt a long-term view on maintenance and sustainable fat-loss.
Instead of trying to change your whole diet and eating habits overnight – as most diets require – flexible dieting is about modifying and improving on your existing diet based on your own preferences, goals and food tolerances. This means that you can eat more of the foods you enjoy, and also stop eating the foods you hate, because you think that they are healthy or aid in weight-loss.
It’s about including your personal food preferences, while also making room for treats, as opposed to rigid, “exclusive” diets that forbid many foods or even entire food groups. The aim of flexible dieting is to be able to eat a balanced and enjoyable diet! There really is no point in excluding foods unless you choose to do so because it helps you stick to your eating plan or if you have a medical condition such as diabetes or Celiac Disease.
Don’t believe the fear mongers who use scare tactics that would have you believe that most foods are “bad” or “fattening”.
Fear makes for captivating headlines, but it brings an enormous sense of relief and peace of mind to let go of all this bullshit!
In moderation most foods can be enjoyed and do not need to be excluded for any reason (other than discussed above). These “forbidden foods” are neither good nor bad, fattening or any sort of barrier to weight-loss! Cereals, breads, wheat products, foods containing gluten, milk, cheese, and other dairy, eggs meat, sugar sweeteners, sugar and carbs do not need to be crossed off your shopping list in order to lose weight, build muscle and be healthy. Flexible dieting is about learning to how to incorporate your chosen foods and achieve your personal health goals.
So the flexible dieting approach is learning to enjoy eating your favourite foods without feeling guilty or deprived. It’s easy to feel like a failure when you end up eating so-called “bad” foods that are supposed to be excluded from your diet (if you are still wanting to listen to the fear mongers). It’s easy to fail on the harsh, rigid diets that prescribe exactly what to eat and NOT to eat, and even tell you WHEN to eat regardless of the demands of your personal and professional lifestyle.
Rigid dieting restricts certain foods and food groups. Flexible dieting, however, is inclusive and there are no forbidden foods. Foods are rather seen as varying in nutrient- and calorie-density. Flexible dieting encourages a tolerant, growth mindset towards “slip-ups” because they are inevitably going to happen. So staying calm and sticking to your diet if you do overeat or have something you weren’t supposed to is an essential principle when following a flexible dieting approach. Expecting perfection from a diet (or yourself) is a recipe for a dieting disaster!
Most diets do cause initial weight loss, but are so restrictive, failure will inevitably occur. Flexible dieting focuses on maintaining fat-loss through the development of sustainable, enjoyable habits and behaviours.
So by following these four essential flexible dieting principles, you’ll be able to eat the foods you enjoy, make the choices around eating and nutrition that suit your preferences and lifestyle, while still being able to achieve and maintain the results that you are striving for!
*Adapted from Armie Legg’s Podcast “The Four Laws of Flexible Dieting”
Flexible nutrition and dieting is an advanced eating approach for the highly motivated individual committed to a serious body transformation.
If you really want change and are ready to put in the effort, this is THE most effective approach to weight loss and muscle gain. And that’s why it is used by athletes, body builders and other physique competitors.
Because everybody is different and has unique preferences, tolerances and goals; one-size-fits-all, mass-marketed, over-hyped fad diets are definitely not the best approach.
Research shows “Why Rigid Diets Don’t Work” and that a rigid, self-depriving dietary approach, that restricts foods and food groups, is less sustainable than a flexible approach. The characteristics of a flexible approach being those of inclusion and moderation, and a more tolerant approach to dietary lapses. Instead of being a black-and-white approach, in which the individual sees eating anything that is not within the plan, as the justification for giving up; the flexible approach is centred around the mindset of the dieter. Teaching the understanding that slip-ups are a natural part of the process, and helping them to move past these and continue on their individual eating plan.
A diet should be temporary!
Your unique, flexible eating plan should be permanent. Once you have lost the weight, your maintenance plan will include eating a lot more food. And eating is a pleasure when you can include your favourite foods – in moderation!
I am pretty sick and tired of the rigid approach of good and bad foods, clean and dirty eating, carbs are evil, sugar is the devil, and red meat gives you cancer. This has been a long, and oftentimes frustrating journey for me. And I have left it all behind me. Now I love eating, and am in the best shape of my life!
We all want to find our own way of eating that keeps us happy, healthy and in shape. If something doesn’t agree with you – don’t eat it! Otherwise let’s eat and be happy!
Is there really a best diet?
Yes, because very simply, the best diet for you is the one that you can stick to.
For example, some people love Banting or low carb, and get good results eating that way. It’s not for me! I love carbs. I also look better and perform better eating plenty of them.
So the bottom line is: Find the diet that’s best for you! Or rather, find a way of eating that you can sustain. It’s important to remember that a diet (to lose weight) should be temporary. Because once you have lost the weight, you maintain the weight eating a lot more than when you were “on diet” and focused on losing weight. So once again, you remain on your chosen eating plan, even once you have lost the weight, it’s just that you get to eat more food.
And this is why you need to find, or create, a way of eating that you actually enjoy and can therefore sustain in the long-term. Anything else will fail sooner rather than later!
The best diet is the one you can stick to! So it’s behaviours and habits, not ideas, that are the “secret” to losing weight. Let me support you while you develop the habits that will give you the long-term results you have dreamed of!
If you are ready to focus on weight loss and/or muscle gain, and are frustrated and overwhelmed, then put down the weight-loss supplements, cleanses and detoxes, and herbal teas. Stop with the fad diets and together let’s focus on sound, scientifically proven nutritional principles. Let me help you customise your unique solution to sustainable fat loss, and a healthier, happier life.
Flexible Nutrition Programme
What ACT can offer you:
- Full assessment of current lifestyle & eating habits to help identify”limiting factors”.
- Behavioural goal setting to develop healthy habits.
- Daily tracking of eating habits & weight management.
- Weekly tracking & graphing of body measurements.
- Dietary adjustments, feedback & goal setting.
- Live/Skype coaching session(s).
- Ongoing support, accountability & education through email, social media & messaging platforms.
The Flexible Nutrition Programme will also include:
- Individualised dietary set-up including calorie & macro-nutrient guidelines based on food preferences.
- Full education & support on macro-tracking via My Fitness Pal with ongoing feedback, adjustments & check-ins.
- Coaching on sustainable progress and maintenance.
- Optional exercise programming for enhanced weight-loss results, strength training, muscle gain & physique transformation.
Read the article “How to Love Eating & Still Lose Weight” for more information on Flexible Dieting.