The basics of Flexible Dieting
FITIMPROVE believes in the principles and effectiveness of flexible dieting. In short, the idea behind flexible dieting is that someone can achieve their desired physique by eating what he or she wants as long as it fits within their macronutrients, and is therefore not tied to a certain type of food such as crackers, rice, chicken or broccoli.
In this article we first will talk about the theory of flexible dieting, how it works and how FITIMPROVE applies this in their diets. Then we will talk about the requirements for flexible dieting and how to monitor progress by using a so-called weighttracker.
What is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting should actually be called a flexible lifestyle, because once you start with flexible dieting, it will become a big part of your daily activities. With flexible dieting, complete control over the diet is placed on the user, which means that there are no meal plans or food restrictions that must be followed.
Flexible dieting is simply the counting and tracking of macronutrients to achieve the desired body goals. Macronutrients, also known as ‘macro’s’, are the nutrients that you need to fuel and build the body. During the conversion of these nutrients, energy is released into the body. The macros can be divided into the following categories: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Proteins are building materials for the body. They consist of amino acids that are, among other things, used to create muscle tissue and other types of tissue. They are therefore necessary for the construction, repair and maintenance of the body.
Carbohydrates serve as fuel and are the primary energy suppliers of the body. They are more efficient than fats, which are harder to convert into energy.
Fats are fuels that provide energy, but also are building materials for body cells. Many people think you get fat from eating fats, but that is not true. Also for the absorption of many nutrients fats are essential in a good diet.
Macro’s come from the daily calorie requirement of the individual, this varies from person to person. Every gram of ‘macro’ has a certain calorie value, this is:
– 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
– 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
– 1 gram of fat = 9 calories.
On average, a flexible diet consists of 10-35% protein, 45-65% carbohydrates and 20-35% fat.
When you eat below your daily calorie needs you will lose weight, if you eat above your daily calorie needs you will gain weight, it’s that simple!
So.. how does it work?
To get to these daily macros you will have to consume food. The unique thing about flexible dieting is that this form of dieting is based on the theory that the body thinks in macro’s and therefore does not distinguish between “good” and “bad” food. We’ll give an example below:
McGrilled chicken burger
Protein: 25 grams
Carbohydrates: 33 grams
Fats: 15 grams
Brown rice with tuna
Protein: 25 grams
Carbohydrates: 33 grams
Fats: 15 grams
Both foods contain the same number of macro’s and will therefore both do about the same in the body. It is true that brown rice with tuna is a healthier choice because it contains more nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. It is very important to get enough vitamins and minerals, so the key is to find a good balance in this.
By filling in your daily required macro’s this way, you can achieve your desired physique.
How do I get my macronutrients?
To get the macro’s that will be used in your flexible diet, they first must be calculated. For this we at FITIMPROVE have developed a number of useful tools that, once you registered, can be found in your own personal dashboard under the ‘Macro Calculator’ tab. When you go here you will find two calculators, these are the ‘Starting Macronutrient Calculator’ and the ‘Macronutrient Recalculator’. To calculate the macro’s which you will start with we use, as the name suggests, the ‘Starting Macronutrient Calculator’. By entering a number of data, this calculator calculates the macro’s which you will start with as precisely as possible. Attached to the page you will find the necessary instructions in the form of a step-by-step plan to correctly calculate your macros.
After a while it is inevitable that at some point you will no longer gain or lose weight with these macro’s. When this happens, you just have to go back to the ‘Macro Calculator’ tab and this time we use the ‘Macronutrient Recalculator’. This calculator will calculate your new macro’s after entering a number of recent data. There are also detailed instructions for this calculator in the form of a step-by-step plan on the same page.
What else do I need besides my macronutrients?
Besides your macro’s, there are a few other things you need for your flexible diet. We will discuss these things below with a short explaination.
To calculate your calorie needs and macro’s as precisely as possible, it is important that you have a fat measurement done to determine your fat percentage. You could do this at your local gym or with your own fat measurement instrument. The instrument which the fat measurement is done with, can have a great influence on the result of the fat measurement. For example, a fat measurement with a digital skin pleat is a lot more accurate than a fat measurement by means of a weight scale.
It is also important when keeping track of the progress in fat percentage, to ensure a constant measurement. By this we mean that you always have to use the same measuring instrument to determine your fat percentage. This to prevent differences in fat percentage as a result of using a different measuring instrument.
Because you are supposed to weigh yourself every day after getting up from sleeping, it is useful to purchase a weight scale. You can then enter the bodyweight you have weighed in the MyFitnessPal app and/or in the Weighttracker that can be found on your own personal dashboard after you registered on FITIMPROVE.
The purchase of a kitchen scale is also useful for weighing the food you consume. You can then enter this in the MyFitnessPal app. Both the weighing of cooked and uncooked food is possible.
When you have set a specific goal for yourself, it is possible to use supplements to help you with that. Hundreds of supplements are available and therefore it is difficult for some people to see know which supplements are usefull and which are not. That is why we have made a list of supplements that, according to scientific research, actually have an possitive effect on your performance. These supplements can be found in this article.
After you have calculated and written down your macro’s, you can finally start with flexible dieting. To keep track of your macro’s on a daily basis we recommend using the app MyFitnessPal, which can be downloaded on both IOS and Android devices. Within this app it is possible to scan the barcode of foods and their macronutrients or you enter them yourself and puts them in your ‘diary’. This gives a good overview of how many macronutrients you have consumed and how much you have left. More about this and other functionalities of the MyFitnessPal app will be discussed in a seperate article.
Last but not least, it is important that you have a high level of discipline. This means that you stick to the diet and calculated macro’s as much as possible. If this does not happen, it is possible that this will affect the results and the desired goal will not be achieved. Of course there will be exceptions such as birthdays, holidays etc. and you should enjoy these events. A great advantage of flexible dieting is that delicacies can fit well into the diet, as long as you do not exceed your macro’s.
Measuring and tracking your bodyweight.
This sounds easy right?, well there are some important things to keep in mind when measuring your bodyweight.
How and when?
First of all, it is important to know how and when you should weigh yourself to take reliable measurements. Measuring your bodyweight should be done every day in the morning after you have urinated. After you weigh yourself, you can start with breakfast and other daily activities. Preferably, a digital scale is used because they are more accurate.
Where to track your bodyweight?
The daily bodyweight measurements should be entered in the FITIMPROVE ‘Weighttracker’ on your personal dashboard. After entering the weights of all 7 days of the week, an average bodyweight and a difference compared to the previous week come out. If you have forgotten a day to measure your weight, you can use the weight of the previous day.
There are 2 ways to fill in the Weighttracker. The first way is to enter your bodyweight separately every day. Another way is to keep track of your bodyweight every day in a different way and entering all these weights in the weighttracker at the end of the week.
An easy way to keep track of the daily measured bodyweights is to enter them in the app ‘MyFitnessPal’. Of course you can also write down the body weights in the old-fashioned way.
Conslusion: is Flexible dieting something for you?
I hope that after reading this article you have gotten a better idea of what flexible dieting is and whether this is something for you or not. To conclude this article you will find a small overview of the advantages and disadvantages of flexible dieting below.
Advantages of flexible dieting:
– Easy to follow
– You can eat whatever you want, which gives you a lot of freedom
Disadvantages of flexible dieting:
– You must keep track of all your nutrition
– Requires a lot of self-control
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