Can you be successful if you’re too rigid about your diet?
Many people think that flexible dieting means eating as much junk food as you want, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your diet has limits just like your bank account; you can’t withdraw money that isn’t available and you can’t eat whatever you want without being taxed for it.
Just because you have a budget doesn’t mean you can buy as many sports cars, lottery tickets, and boats as you want.
Sure, you might be able to buy any of those things, but it might not be a good idea because it might mean you can’t pay your mortgage/rent, utilities, or buy clothes and stay within that budget.
How does this relate to flexible dieting and macro targets?
If your calorie budget is 1500 per day, you decide to spend 900 of that on a big slice of cheesecake that only leaves 600 calories remaining for the day. It’s going to be pretty hard to meet your protein, fiber, and micronutrient goals with only 600 calories left and feel full at the same time.
On the other hand, if your calorie budget is 3000 per day, you might need to eat some calorie-dense foods, like that 900 calorie cheesecake, to meet your calorie budget without feeling stuffed and bloated. This leaves you with 2100 calories remaining for the day to hit your protein, fiber, and micronutrient goals, which is very doable.
As you can see, a macro budget is just as important as a financial budget!
The Baby Steps of Flexible Dieting
Everyone starts in a different place depending on where they are in the learning process. So based on the steps below, let’s figure out where you should begin to help you be the most successful.
Step 1: Hitting your calorie target
Those new to tracking should first focus on hitting their calorie target. There are a variety of apps like MyFitnessPal, Lose It, and MyPlate to help you keep on track. The intention is to help you understand how to track, measure foods, and become more aware of what you’re putting in your body. This will also help you build better habits and lead you to success.
Step 2: Hitting your daily protein target and weekly average calorie target
Hitting your daily protein target is essential for a few reasons:
- Protein can’t be stored like carbs and fat, so being consistent daily is necessary.
- Protein shifts the loss towards body fat instead of muscle loss when you diet.
- Protein reduces appetite and hunger levels which can be very helpful in a dieting phase.
- Protein boosts your metabolism because it takes more calories to digest, process, and utilize than carbs and fat.
Step 3: Hitting all your macros targets
Research shows no difference in fat loss/weight loss between diets when protein and calories are equated. With that said, it can still be beneficial for your long-term goal to hit all your macros for the following reasons:
- Having an appropriate balance of carbs and fat will help with exercise performance.
- It creates consistency in your diet which means you’ll be more compliant as you progress closer to your goals.
Why is Compliance Important?
You may be asking yourself why it’s so important to be hitting these targets? Here’s why.
- It creates habit change. You can’t change your lifestyle while dragging your old habits with you.
- It’s an accountability feature. What would be the point of targets if you didn’t have to follow them? If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will continue to get the results you have always gotten.
- It will teach you to observe what you’re consuming and why you are or aren’t successful in reaching your goal—allowing you to make lifestyle changes that better align with your goals.
Ready to take that next step in your fitness journey? Schedule a Nutrition Consult today!