How can I eat what I want and still get results?

When it comes to losing fat, I am sure we can all agree on one thing. That proper nutrition can be very confusing.

Knowing how to monitor food intake is absolutely key to manipulating your body composition for the long term.

In order to get results, yes, there is some degree of tracking which would be necessary. Whether its counting calories, counting macros, tracking hand portions, or intuitive eating. To put simply, all of these approaches work but the real question is what is going to work best for you personally.

Regardless of the method you choose, adopting a flexible dieting approach means you can include all the foods you would normally exclude when you are ‘trying to be healthy’ or ‘dieting’. The easiest way to adopt this approach is to count and track your macronutrients. This means you can include some chocolate, ice-cream, pasta, etc into your nutrition plan as long as you are meeting your macronutrient targets. This is what I personally follow and what I encourage to some of my clients.

This idea is to make room for these ‘treat foods’ to curb cravings and enjoy life whilst mostly consuming high nutrient quality foods.

Dietary Restraint vs Flexible Dieting
Dietary restraint involves weight loss plans for 8, 12, 16 + weeks that ban foods or food groups, it will then place you on an overly restrictive diet, which as a result eliminates socializing. I am sure all of you have done a plan like this before… but what happens is you attend an event, you indulge because you ‘deserve it’ then one night turns into a week or two or a month and you have gained all the weight you have lost, and often even more. From there you then exude this immense guilt and negative mindset towards yourself.

Who else has experienced this? I have definitely have!

There is research out there that shows restrained eaters lack control of their eating behavior, they tend to overeat in social settings, and have an increased prevalence of eating disorders (especially binge eating disorder). This results in unsuccessful weight loss, patterns of yo-yo dieting, and overtime is more associated with weight gain.

Have you ever felt guilty for giving in to a craving?

What we know from the research is that using a more flexible, inclusive approach to nutrition has greater success for weight loss and weight loss maintenance. You can enjoy something small without binging and without feeling guilty and this ultimately is what sets you up for success physically and mentally.

There are no magic foods lists or meal plans
As a personal trainer I always say to my clients that I do not believe in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. If they are looking for those ‘quick fixes’ I am not the trainer for you.  I believe in ‘optimal’ and ‘sub-optimal’ foods for reaching your goals. However, I will allow them to have foods included in their ‘diet plan’ if they want. This creates sustainability and enjoyment during their weight loss journey. The only thing that may change is the amount they have or the frequency.

I encourage my clients to get 80-90% of their foods from whole, nutritious sources with high micronutrient content, this is also a rule I follow myself It is very important that you include plenty of protein, vegetables, fruits, and grains in your diet to avoid any nutrient deficiencies that could affect your results. Ensuring you are getting 25-30g fiber per day is vital for optimal gut health as well.

However, i do leave that 10-20% to eat what we like, enjoy your favorite foods, and keep the meal plan interesting! I will encourage them to make their own ‘naughty foods’ that way the ingredients are slightly healthier and no added nasties. Which enables you to have a great relationship with food. This also allows you to relax when it comes to eating out. Without stressing about what you are going to eat if it will limit your results or feel any guilt or fear around eating out!

Flexible dieting is what allows our clients to eat what they want and still get results! Who likes the idea of this?

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