I’ve talked a ‘bit’ in past Posts about being more flexible with your daily Nutrition, basically NOT placing restrictions on yourself (unless you clinically need to) while still getting results week by week as long as overall Calorie Balance remains negative.
You’re a lot Happier.
You don’t see it as a Diet.
You’re not some Goon stuck to low-carb, no gluten, no dairy, ‘only’ Clean Foods Only jazz. Or god forbid the shakes… But we won’t go there 🙂
^^I’m not knocking anyone following similar type diets – and funnily enough I don’t see myself as part of any particular ‘camp’ either, just what I see as a normal way of living really providing your body with the Nutrient Dense food it wants but not also enjoying the finer things in life with a little moderation..
Saying that if you Don’t like my opinion – change the channel 😉
So YES you can still incorporate your wine/chocolate or whatever into your daily plan and still loose fat.
See like myself in the past I used to be ‘anti’ most things. I was one of those Strict Paleo/Clean Eating only types. I was going down the route of creating a bad relationship with food, I avoided a LOT of social events and I didn’t get much stronger in my training either.
I limited a TONNE of stuff because I thought I had too.
But then came the weekend where Binge Fest 101 kicked off – Clean Eating on the weekends, not so much.
Anyhow this is not the point – I want to talk about You. And like we coach our members here daily this is what we usually get;
“I’d go hell for leather for a few weeks, then something would come up, put me off my clean eating plan & I’d go back to square one every time…”
“I just can’t keep it up. I’d do great most days but then I’d have a cheat meal, which turns into a cheat day which turns into a cheat weekend etc.”
or one of my Favourites,
“Going Low-Carb is great when I do it but I can’t keep it going any longer than about a week or 2. I’d lose some weight, put it back on again, feel bad, eat more and then I’d get back on the wagon and the cycle would happen again.”
Now firstly, ‘Carbs’ or ‘Gluten’ or whatever is what this blog ISN’T about – it’s about being more Flexible in your daily Nutritional Plan and is it an OK thing to do? so let’s get to it..
Like I’ve gone through in the past, in order to lose, gain or maintain your current weight Calories Will Always Remain King.
Being more flexible simply means being more in detail with the Calories/Macronutrients (Pro/Carbs/Fats/Fibre) you’re taking in to manipulate body composition (or in English ‘How You Look’).
So wether you track calories closely by using Meal Plans or some form of an app like My Fitness Pal or go by Judging and eye-balling food portions from your hand sizes, everyone can benefit from this – if it’s something you might think will benefit you.
So if you know the total calories and the breakdown of PRO/CARBS/FATS/FIBRE needed to lose body fat, a certain % of your day can be flexible and this is what we’ll get into here.
It stemmed from the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) community and has caused massive debates in the past from ‘Flexible Dieters’ shoving really anything down their throats as long as it hits their total daily calorie and macronutrient intake.
For example it’s been proven in the past with Subway Only Diets, Mc Donalds & Dr. Mark Haub doing a ‘Twinkies’ diet and Yes, still losing weight.(1)
Why? Remember, Calorie Balance will always remain King.
Wonder has anyone considered an Irish version – ‘The Supermacs Diet’ haha.
Now don’t get this wrong,
I’m not saying you have to be bracketed as a ‘flexible dieter’ or ‘IIFYM’ person because 90% get the whole Idea plain stupidly wrong.
Health First – then a small bit of moderation never killed anyone, right?
But first let’s dive into the mindset aspects first…
Putting this whole Flexible thing aside for a minute, if you’re stuck or hung up or clean eating 24/7 that you think you need to lose the fat/weight, first let’s start with a Mindset Shift & a look at the bigger picture here.
I’m sorry to say it doesn’t exist.
If you aim for perfection with healthy or clean eating, who are you fooling?
If you aim to get your training/Workouts in 100% week in week out, who are you fooling?
If you aim to get perfect sleep every single night so you can perform to the fullest every day, who are you fooling?
See we live in the real world and like we coach Clients here online & at the Gym we have a ballpark % figure we aim for with most things.
Wether that’s 0.0001% or 10%, one baby step forward every day in any aspect (Eating, Training, Mindset etc.) the goal is just to do better than you’ve done before and build up to momentously doing more and more over time.
This small but crazy powerful Mindset Tip programs you to accept the fact that 100% doesn’t’ exist, you WON’T fall off any wagons again because there is none to fall off in the first place? Again another mindset shift.
Now obviously this is a lot more in depth than it appears in a blog but you get the overall idea. So next it leads up to that ballpark % of doing ‘better’.
If it’s setting Weekly Goals to bring you closer to your long-term goals or the Intake of Food/Nutrients you take in daily.
It’s simple, aim for 60-80% completion for your goals (Which should be enough to keep you moving forward),
& 60-80% of the food you intake daily being Real, Whole Nutritious Food designed to fuel your body and give it what it wants to perform as best it can.
The other 40-20% of Food? We’ll get to that in a minute… 😉
If you’re trying to start training or even push it to the next level, firstly who are you surrounding yourself with?
People that couldn’t be bothered with the same interests as you or goals or people that are in a similar position to you going after similar goals?
Again this is not the purpose of this post but I wanted you to ‘remember’ that point too…
This is so easy but yet we miss it completely. If you live in an environment (see what I did there) where maybe family members ‘eat differently’ to you or don’t fully support what you’re doing.
So what – that’s THEIR BUSINESS what they do. Not Yours.
And when you realise this, you can appreciate your viewpoint vs. theirs a lot more.
So without bitching and moaning about ‘having’ to eat the same as them – make some changes.
Designate a press to Yourself. Fill it with your Weekly Nutrition.
DO BETTER by cooking meals as normal but maybe eye-balling out More Protein/Veg for yourself for example.
We have 100’s of Fathers/Mothers doing it daily without full support from their other halves (yet) so why can’t you?
^^I wanted to write these few points first because I strongly believe that every thing in Life starts with the thoughts going through your head daily and once you shift your mindset – crazy good things start to happen.
So now let’s see HOW we can have moderation in our Fat Loss Journey approach..
In the past I called this a ‘Rule’ which Clients still felt ‘restricted’ upon, so even accepting the fact that everything you do is a guideline is powerful, too.
60-80% is just a ballpark figure with the main reasons being;
– You need to account for where you are RIGHT NOW – Remember the goal is to do better. So if 80% of your Nutrition daily consists of highly processed foods. Then dropping this to 75% is progress isn’t it?
– You find what works for you, the more we lean towards to higher ranges of Real Whole Nutritious Food (80-90%) the better for Health etc. (We’ll talk about this more below)
This is nothing new really – it’s the main principles I want you to take away – similar to Strength Coach Marc Halperns ‘Pizza to Veggie Scale’ (2);
So even though your starting off near the Pizza Side, so what, the goal is to edge further up the line I.E: To do Better.
Marc accompanies the graph with;
“Move to the right, as far as you need. Your perfect place is a blend of health, lifestyle, and values.
Out there on the far right, at the tip of the arrow, is diet perfection. Forget it. Choose more salads and vegetables, but don’t try to be faultless. When it comes to diet and nutrition, especially in terms of caloric restriction, doing more, better, is where things work best.
Less candy. More veggies.”
So just like Marc’s graph portrays, you start from where YOU are & work from there.
Hence why I use the 60% starting point ballpark guideline – as we get more in tune with our heath/nutrition we can progress from there so let’s take a look at this visually;
The idea here is simple, doing better, you might start off around 60% Real Whole/Minimally processed foods & 40% of the ‘not so real’ food and that’s FINE. From here we can eventually progress it up a notch. How long that takes depends on how you create new habits etc.
70/40 is a basic progression from 60/40..
From here we can aim for the Sweet Spot which I find to blend a nice mix of getting in the essential Nutrients for health followed by that 20% of what you love still being kept in 🙂
Down the line we can further again tweak this to the following if you want to take things up a notch…
So hopefully you get the overall idea of what you day ‘can’ look like, OR your overall week (it doesn’t have to be a daily thing). Remember the goal is to do better.
Let’s take an example of a Male, (we’ll call him Ben) needing to take in roughly 2,200 calories as a starting point to Lose weight/Bodyfat based off his age, height and activity levels.
He aims to stay within the 80/20 ballpark guideline depending on his day to day lifestyle.
(NOTE: 2,200 Calories is just the figure used for this blog – so don’t go mindlessly using that figure!)
So 20% of 2,200 k/cal = 440 k/cals Daily.
Or 20% of 15,400 k/cal (total week) = 3080 k/cals weekly of the more processed foods Ben loves we’ll say.
Some days/weeks he’s over that 20%, but most he’s more like 10-15%. Again, he doesn’t restrict himself but makes sure his health always comes first ‘before the junk’.
So today Ben has kept his usual routine, Real Whole Food that’s minimally processed throughout the day..
The evening comes after work, he’s had the dinner and the kids are at him to get them ice-creams.
Let’s say Ben’s total calorie intake for the day right now adds up to roughly 1900 k/cal from what he’s consumed throughout the day so ‘he’s room left’ for that 10-20% of what he loves and because the kids are at him for ice-creams he decides to go along and grab a 99 Cone with them.
First let’s compare an average medium sized 99 to what Ben might have had instead with his Dinner..
In this case it was roughly 2 cupped hand sizes of Spuds (White Potatoes – 240grams) with a small heaped teaspoon of Kerrygold Butter (7grams);
So the calories are roughly the same, Macro Nutrients are a tad different but this will make no difference in the overall grand scheme of things because remember Calorie Balance will always be the Main Driver in shifting the bodyfat.
This is fine as long as Ben doesn’t have a medical issue (Intolerances to certain foods, Diabetes etc.) and will continue to drop bodyfat as long as he remains in an overall negative calorie balance..
Don’t go off necking 99’s so fast…..
Unless you closely track calorie intake, incorporating the stuff you love ain’t as easy as it sounds. And this is where Food Quality is so important when it comes to shifting the bodyfat and getting in the shape you want (Body Composition).
Because we always need to remember the Context of this. Now, knowing that you DON’T have to be 100% Clean Eating or restricting everything under the sun (unless you’ve a clinical issue) it’s not always this easy,
If you’re 23-26, Lean and already highly active, then it’ll be far easier to incorporate the foods you love without consequence.
Compared to the 46 Year Old, overweight Father of 3 that’s running his own Business with stress levels up to his eye-balls and the sleep of a fish (do fish sleep?)..
Here we could have a host of other factors at play like;
– Emotional Eating triggers
– Intense Sugar Cravings & not so steady blood sugar levels
– Lack of Sleep leading to fast foods choices
– The body ‘hormonally’ not being able to deal with the foods he loves as well as the 23 year old for example. Which could further leads to more cravings etc.
So you can see it’s not just that easy so ALWAYS remember the context 🙂
Food Quality is a no brainer for HEALTH &;
– Getting the Nutrients you need to function daily
– Energy Levels
– Feeling Fresh
– MORE Satiety (Fullness) after meals which I’ve gone through here before:
– Less of an overall ‘need’ to track calories as closely
So the whole purpose of this blog was to show you that there IS another way to shifting the weight and toning/leaning up 🙂
But like anything, especially in this Fitness Realm where we are filled with more shit than we can handle you need to look at this with an Open Mind and remember the context of it all..
You CAN incorporate the foods you love to drop Bodyfat provided you stay within a negative Calorie Balance but we need to take into account things like;
– Feeling Full/Hunger
– How you respond to certain foods both Physically & Psychologically
Because, believe me, it’s a hell of a lot easier sticking to Real Food Sources where possible when losing body fat. Always chase Health, but don’t restrict yourself is the goal of this blog so hopefully it’s opened you up to more of what I mean by incorporating the ‘stuff you love’ 🙂
If you’re Fed-Up with your current progress or results & want to know the exact training, Nutrition & Supplements all our clients go through to get the Results we do. Check out on of the 3 pictures below to see where you fit in. If you’re a beginner and unsure, start at the parents ‘Losing & Toning the Belly’ video series.
1: Dr. Mark Haubs Diet Experiment (2010): http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/
2: Marc Halperns ‘Pizza to Veggie’ Scale: http://breakingmuscle.com/nutrition/the-pizza-to-veggie-scale-where-are-you-where-are-you-going