The Atkins diet, the Raw Till 4 diet, the soup diet and the cabbage diet – we’ve all heard of them, and some of us have even tried them. Fad diets have been around for years as men and women try to achieve the perfect body via restricting what they put in their mouths. With the rise of the clean eating movement in recent years, talk about macronutrients and protein is regularly surrounding conversations about diet, but has the term ‘flexible dieting’ ever come across your table?
First of all, let’s address what it actually is. Flexible dieting or commonly known as If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is using a set number of macronutrients during the day to give your body the composition it needs. What it doesn’t set is a restriction on the types of food you can eat. As long as it stays within your macronutrient intake set for the day, you can try your luck at anything you’re craving. It is based on the composition of macronutrients – fat, carbohydrates and protein – rather than caloric intake, as it is believed that there are no right or wrong foods (so to speak), just a composition of macronutrients. This is said to be more effective at achieving a body composition goal instead of just weight gain and weight loss.
In saying that, macros all have caloric representations. One gram of protein or carbohydrates has 4 calories each and one gram of fat has 9 calories. This is the way a flexible dieter’s food day would be tracked. So, what are the pros of flexible dieting?
The most obvious, of course, is it’s a flexible regime that still allows you to indulge in your favourite foods. As long as your track them and work out their macronutrients, you can keep your body composition goals on track. This also means that the diet will be more sustainable than something that is strict and doesn’t allow any indulgences.
One of the cons of the diet is getting used to counting your macros and working it all out. Don’t let this deter you, however, it just means that your brain is getting a workout too! You can use a macro calculator – like this one – to get started, while investing in a food scale will also help you get on your way to improve your lifestyle with a flexible diet.
How do you think you would go with flexible dieting?