Is a flexible diet really a diet
Flexible Dieting - Long-term healthy nutrition without a nutrition plan
But as a rule no one manages to eat “healthy” over the long term. The currywurst tastes too delicious during the lunch break with colleagues or the piece of cake with the family. In summer we would like to enjoy an ice cream more often and in the run-up to Christmas we can enjoy mulled wine and the many delicacies. Eating is not only used for food intake, but is also closely related to our social life and should - very importantly - naturally make us happy and satisfied.
But doesn't that bite with the health aspect? Not necessarily if you take a closer look at the concept of flexible dieting. This form of nutrition combines healthy nutrition and enjoyment without a guilty conscience. Sounds interesting? Read what is important below! If you need help, please arrange a free initial consultation for nutritional coaching.
What is behind the flexible diet?
If you are enthusiastic about sports and have already dealt with the right form of nutrition for you, you have probably heard of it: Flexible Dieting or “If it fits your macros”, IFFYM for short - in German: “If it fits your Macros fits ”.
The main thing here is to meet your daily calorie requirements and the required macronutrients, but without following a strict eating plan. What sounds complicated at first is a flexible and comfortable solution for all those who pursue sporting or aesthetic goals, but don't want to miss out on the popcorn in the cinema or the barbecue evening with friends. Because every food is allowed and the only decisive factor is the calorie and nutrient balance at the end of the day.
Eating is not strictly according to the plan, but in order to be permanently successful with this form of nutrition, two basic requirements apply: You have to know your daily calorie requirement and track your macros. However, this quickly becomes second nature and can be easily implemented in everyday life with free apps for the smartphone. The Flexible Diet is therefore not a diet in the classic sense, but rather a lifestyle that can be practiced on a permanent basis - numerous athletes show how it is!
What are the advantages of flexible dieting?
The concept is suitable both for losing weight and when you want to build muscle. But what concrete advantages does it offer compared to a nutrition plan that provides for fixed meals?
As the name (Flexible Dieting) suggests, the greatest advantage is the high degree of flexibility. You are completely free in your choice of food and simply treat yourself to a pizza if you feel like it spontaneously instead of standing at the stove after a long day. You can also react much more relaxed and flexible to social events such as birthday parties or weddings. Because often it is precisely these who let us throw our fixed nutrition plan overboard, at least temporarily. Very few people appear at the barbecue with meals prepared in Tupperware cans, and if they do - it's just not as much fun as enjoying the delicious food with friends.
No problem with IIFYM, as long as you keep an eye on your calorie needs. Even going to restaurants no longer makes you panic and fear not being able to go through with your plan. Nevertheless, pay attention to what you eat and what the macro distribution of the dish looks like, so you can easily iron out alleged "sins" again during the day.
What does IIFYM mean?
IIFYM stands for: If It Fits Your Macros and means that the nutrition plan is fully flexible as long as the body is supplied with the right amount of macro-nutrients.
Because of this flexibility, your diet will of course vary and you will automatically try new foods and dishes from time to time, which leads to a reasonable variety in your diet. Because every food supplies the body with different nutrients in different proportions, which is crucial for a balanced supply and the basis for a healthy diet. Those who always eat the same eat healthy foods, but the same healthy foods can often lead to certain deficiency symptoms.
Those who eat flexibly, on the other hand, have more leeway to listen to their body and react to its needs - and they ultimately tell you most reliably which nutrients they need at the moment.
Nutritional knowledge for flexible dieting
At the beginning of the planning of this flexible form of nutrition there is the determination of your individual calorie requirement and the intensive examination of the individual macronutrients. This will give you a basic understanding of nutrition and the nutrients themselves. Tracking macros every day also sensitizes you to the composition of the individual foods. Over time you will know all by yourself how much protein there is in a serving of quark and whether your omelette with cheese contains a lot of fat. At some point this allows you to make almost intuitive decisions, because you are so familiar with the food that you know exactly what you can still eat today or what you have already supplied your body with enough of.
The psychological component
If you only eat turkey with rice and broccoli every day, you will eventually get tired of the monotony. In addition, a strict plan automatically brings with it certain prohibitions, because anything that the plan does not provide is ultimately not allowed. This in turn has the psychological effect that what is forbidden only becomes more coveted. Perhaps you know it: the more violently you forbid chocolate, the more you want to eat it.
However, if you know that you can incorporate chocolate into your daily diet at any time and even eat an ice cream afterwards, you will take away the appeal of supposedly unhealthy foods and will automatically resort to healthy alternatives much more often, since you don't forbid anything. All of these points play a major role in whether or not you stick to a diet over the long term.
Disadvantages of flexible dieting
However, the flexibility can be not only an advantage, but also a disadvantage: There is a great risk of using the principle "The main thing, it fits into my macros" as a free ticket to eat mostly unhealthy, processed foods, which of course is not in the interest of the inventor. Despite all freedom, the main focus should be on natural foods with a high nutrient density. Because not only macro, but also micronutrients are important for our body and our performance. These include vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Dietary fiber is also essential for our health. So always pay attention to the complete nutrient profile of a food and its quality.
In addition, the continuous tracking of calories can be time-consuming, especially if you have a high need for calories and eat many meals a day. Especially in a stressful everyday life, it is possible that you find this very time-consuming and annoying.
Which parameters are important at IIFYM?
If you want to try this nutritional concept, stick to two important cornerstones:
- your calorie consumption and the
Quickly calculate calorie consumption
With our calculator you can quickly calculate your daily calorie requirement.
If you want to go into more detail, for example to calculate your macronutrient distribution, use apps like MyFitnessPal, Lifesum or Noom Coach.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are building blocks and fuel for our body and ensure that all of its functions run smoothly. The following three macronutrients provide us with energy:
These three nutrient groups must now be in a certain relationship to one another in order to optimally supply the body.
There are different approaches to macronutrient distribution, which always depend on your individual goals. For example, if you want to lose fat, you should increase your protein intake and at the same time lower the carbohydrates a little. If you aim to build muscle, you can use a higher carbohydrate content as a basis.
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