Flexible Dieting: My Coaching Approach
Flexible dieting, IIFYM, macros – a term I am sure most of you have all heard. Maybe you understand it and know what it is, or maybe you have just heard about it but, have no idea what it even means. Without getting into the nitty gritty and explaining it in full detail, I’m just going to give you a bit of insight on why I choose to have this as part of my coaching and how I have seen some really incredible results from it, both from a physical but also a mental standpoint.
First off, flexible dieting is just that – FLEXIBLE. Your macro-nutrients are set for the day, aka ‘macros’ (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and as long as those numbers are achieved, the food selection is left up to you to decide…….this is in the simplest terms possible and I will dive into more detail on a future blog.
Here is what you need to know:
When it comes to the word ‘diet’ we instantly go into the thought process of it being bad, restricted and many other feelings of another daunting task ahead for us that we know is not going to last long term. Maybe it will help short term, but exactly what price will we pay to get ourselves there and what effect does it have on us mentally?
Throughout the years of my coaching I have really seen it all, been there a bit myself back in the days when I used to compete when I only knew that breakfast was oatmeal and eggs and every meal after that usually contained fish, chicken, broccoli and brown rice…..maybe if I was lucky, some flax oil or almonds (yep, been there, starved, hated life, had horrible rebounds, would gain 30lbs in my off season and had a very negative view of my own body – all of which is for a much later topic). In my experience, this is very typical whether you are a competitor or not.
A calorie restricting diet, the biggest fad diet out there or the most popular diet pill on the shelf, all short term results that 1. left each client completely lost on how to still eat healthy 2. mentally drained and feeling like a failure 3. heavier than when they started (may not be initially but the lbs will soon creep back on).
I use the flexible approach on my clients and its proven to be incredibly successful in some way, shape or form. Let me explain that a bit more…….
My coaching revolves around both the body and mind, specifically the mind. I will apply the flexible approach to programs and its my clients responsibility is to hit their targets daily. Depending on if they hit them or not, we then discuss how the week went and what we can change or they can change for the week ahead. Being able to guide a client using this approach enables them to feel more ‘flexible’ in their lifestyle. This in turn allows deep rooted issues to now be dealt with because the body is not in such a state of stress and anxiety anymore due to the ease of the program and I can tackle other areas of their life – including the reason for their weight gain in the first place.
Here are some examples of what the flexible dieting approach can help with:
Eating at restaurants
A typical restricted diet will normally be set up to tell you exactly what to eat in each meal. So lets say you are told you can only have x, y and z for lunch, and then all the sudden you get invited out for lunch with friends – what is the first thing you do? Mini panic attack, right? What are you going to eat? Or how are you going to get out of lunch? This typical scenario ends up going one of 2 ways; you either go and don’t eat OR you revert back to old ways, throw your ‘diet’ out the window and will ‘start again tomorrow’.
Through my experience with flexible dieting, this approach now enables you to look at a menu and comfortably over time fit one of the dishes into your daily allowance, stress free. Flexible dieting will also allow you do look at food differently. Typically our thought process is that food is either good or bad. With a flexible approach, you can change the mind to see things in moderation and understand how you can make it part of your night out without the feeling of guilt setting in.
Another touchy subject and one that I find my clients struggle with is family dinners, whether it be cooking for your family or family get-together’s. As a mother, I know how important it is for dinner with my son and growing up, everyone ate the same thing at dinner. There should be no reason for why this cannot still happen when you are on a diet. I have experienced in the past, clients that have came to me that were drinking their protein shakes for dinner while their kids ate – first off, in my opinion, this isn’t something you want to have your kids grow up seeing and secondly, this isn’t sustainable and you will eventually fall off course, guaranteed.
The flexible dieting approach enables you to eat dinner with the rest of your family. It allows you to know portion sizes, it gives you a guide to how much you should be eating in a day and within that meal to keep you on track while still enjoying the same foods as the rest of the family.
Eating on the fly
One of the most stressful moments I find my clients have had in the past is eating on the fly or being stuck in a situation where they didn’t have their food and had to make due with what was around them. Typically in a situation when you are on a restrictive diet, you would do one of 3 things; not eat, eat something you think or hope is healthy and feel guilty about it even when you do eat it OR completely go off the rails and ‘start all over again tomorrow’
With flexible dieting, you learn to incorporate what you can into your plan when these things happen. For instance, lets say you are delayed at the airport. Airports for the most part do not have the healthiest of food options, so you make due with that you can find. By using flexible dieting, you can easily read a food label and apply it to your daily intake. Sure that food item might not have been the best to eat but at least you are putting in the effort to stay within your allotment for the day (**note: a completely different blog will be written in regards to types of foods used and the impact they make, but for the sake of this blog I am talking in regards to all foods)
These are just a few ways that I have found how the flexible approach can really help my clients. The mindset is always going to be the main area of concern when it comes to long term changes in the body but being able to learn how it can become a lifestyle and not a set of rules can really help instill healthier habits. In turn, over time, that lifestyle and mindset become exactly what it is and you learn to live life as a true flexible dieter. You are able to attend events and social outings, dinner meetings and family functions without the mindset that you are to follow something so strict, with an end date. That is truly what we all want, right?
If you would like a free assessment, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I personally analyze your current lifestyle and give you feedback and my recommendations on how you can make changes to be on your way to a healthier and happier life.