Is Flexible Dieting Really The Fat Loss Answer?
Flexible Dieting (also referred to as If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM.) is basically the counting of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) to attain a body composition goal. Flexible dieting is not a diet, it’s an idea. The thought process is that you have a daily caloric protocol target that includes a protein, fat, and carbs. As long as you achieve the specific numbers of each macronutrient, you can eat any foods you want. With such a broad generalization of the meaning of flexible dieting, it leads to misunderstandings. Social media can be greatly to blame for huge amounts of misinformation and misguidance on dieting.
So, Does Flexible Dieting Work?
I’m not the type of gal to blow sunshine up your skirt. I’m a fitness coach and I’m going to be straight with you. I don’t think flexible dieting works for the majority of the people.
MOST people dieting have a goal, to lose weight. Eating donuts, cookies, and pop-tarts every day, EVEN if they do stay within your macronutrient and calorie limits, isn’t going to help you lose fat or build muscle. It’s going to keep your weight stagnant and you will become frustrated with your lack of results.
Flexible Dieting for Competitions
Flexible dieting for competitions seems to be something competitors want to participate in. Perhaps the seasoned competitor who stays 12% body fat or less can get away with some form of flexible dieting, it’s not for everyone.
I have worked with thousands of men and women for fat loss, muscle gain, and contest prep. Many of them struggle with cravings. They have a hard time sticking to a structured dieting 6 days a week for 12 weeks. Giving such people a daily ticket to have a cheat is like sending a recovering alcoholic into a bar for one drink.
Before you can even venture on to such a theory as flexible dieting, you need to be experienced and have your body well-trained nutritionally.
Dieting for Fat Loss
In addition, the grouping of food and macronutrients has a HUGE impact on your rate of fat loss. It’s more than about just hitting numbers. Your body has chemical reactions when you eat food. The food you choose to eat is either going to be used as fuel or building material for your body OR it’s going to get stored as fat. That’s it. It’s one or the other.
When I write a fat-loss diet, it’s specially designed for fat loss in the foods listed, in the time the foods are eaten, and in the format the meals fall. If you have already met your complex carbs for the day and then eat cookies at night, you have just stopped fat loss for that day, and for the next 4 days. Sugar intake STOPS the fat burning effect. If you do that type of “flexible dieting” two to three times a week, you are not going to lose any body fat.
How to Have Flexibility and Still Lose Fat
To lose body fat you need to eat a structured diet every day. If you can maintain controlled eating for 6 solid days, you have earned yourself a cheat day. A cheat day is one day you allow yourself leeway. However, you MUST keep your cheat day limited to that one day. You have to get back on your diet the next day in order for it to work effectively.
The idea of losing fat or getting contest ready by eating whatever food you want as long as you track them and they fit into your macros is just plain nonsense. Save that flexible dieting mentality for when you want to maintain weight or in your off-season.