Flexible Dieting seems to be slowly taking over the fitness world. “Bro science” aka clean eating used to be the only method bodybuilders, competitors and your average Joe trying to shed some pounds would turn to when it came to losing weight. There are a lot of misconceptions about what flexible dieting truly is, and we can guarantee it’s probably a lot different than what you think.
I remember seeing on Instagram a year or so ago all of these top fitness accounts posting these crazy looking pancakes, desserts, donuts & ice creams, yet they were claiming that eating these things didn’t hinder their progress, but it actually helped them. Up until the end of last year, I was a strict clean eater. I would have weekly cheat meals but that was the ONLY time I would consume something that wasn’t chicken, fish, or veggies. It was a constant struggle and my cheat meals would usually be all-out binge fests resulting in a terrible bloated stomach. This was the only lifestyle I knew that would help me achieve my goals. So how were these top fitness moguls eating all of these delicious treats yet still making progress in the gym? Turns out there’s way more to it than what is shown on social media. Here’s the top 5 misconceptions about #IIFYM or #FlexibleDieting:
#1) You can eat sugary, processed foods all day long.
This one is my favorite and simply exists because people on Instagram usually only post the exciting stuff they fit into their diet. Obviously beautifully decorated bowls of ice cream and gourmet donuts are fun to post on your account, however what you don’t see is all of the “boring” vegetables, chicken, and fish that are also eaten. Nutrient-dense foods provide a base to any diet, and your Instagram-famous fit chick or muscle-man is most-likely omitting posting these meals. We suggest 80% of your diet comes from nutrient-dense sources leaving you with about 20% of freedom.
#2) It’s a diet.
It is extremely important to know there is nothing about Flexible Dieting that resembles a diet. You are not restricting food groups or any foods whatsoever. Flexible Dieting is more of a lifestyle that is sustainable for long periods of time. With a diet like Atkins, clean eating, etc, there always comes a point where you “cheat” on your diet or fall off the bandwagon. Since Flexible Dieting allows you to have such freedom, there is really no reason or want to cheat or go back to your old ways.
#3) Flexible Dieting may give you abs, but it is not healthy.
This couldn’t be further from the truth and kind of relates to #1. Fitting in balances portions of what you may consider “not healthy” options of food does not mean you are ruining your insides. Many people see just the junk foods of flexible dieters so they assume that their entire day looks like that when in fact whole foods consume most of the day. Fiber is a staple in anyone’s nutritional intake including those who practice flexible dieting. In order to hit your fiber goals for the day (at the very least 25g), you need to be consuming foods like fruits and vegetables which are high in fiber.
#4) Flexible Dieting won’t work the same for me as it does for other people.
“The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about yet refuse to investigate.”- Dr. Wayne Dyer.
Flexible Dieting is based on pure science. In a sense, the diet you are following currently is a macro-based diet- simply because every single food you eat is made up of macronutrients. Your plain chicken is mostly protein and a little fat, your brown rice is made up of carbohydrates and your almonds are most fat with some carbs. Just because you aren’t tracking your numbers, doesn’t mean your diet doesn’t consist of macros. There is no golden rule that means you need to incorporate junk food into your diet, however if you do fill your day entirely with nutrient-dense “clean” foods, and screw up on the weekend but still make it fit your macros, guess what? You didn’t ruin your progress OR cheat your diet. Flexible Dieting is whatever you want it to be, and with the correct numbers for your body based on your weight, activity level/BMR, it WILL work. Need help calculating your numbers? Send us an email: FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com.
#5) It takes too much time and effort to track everything I eat.
I’m not going to lie to you, this method does take time and effort however if you want to achieve a goal, chances are it’s going to take some work. If losing weight or gaining muscle is something important to you, why wouldn’t you put your very best effort in to reaching that goal? I can also guarantee you that you do in fact have time to take maybe 2 minutes before or after each meal to write it down or log it in your app. Those hours you spend scrolling on social media can be easily cut down- it all comes down to how much you want it.
So there you have it folks- Flexible Dieting totally deconstructed. Before you judge someone based on what you see on Instagram or Facebook, take a step back and educate yourself on the topic first. It may just be something that may not only interest you, but change your current outlook.