Countless weight loss programs have come and gone, but one poised to stay for good is flexible dieting. What is flexible dieting, and what makes it different from all the other programs?
Flexible dieting is unique in that you could satisfy your food cravings and still lose weight. It may seem counterintuitive, but it follows a simple idea of counting calories and macros.
Doing the Math
If you want to lose weight through flexible dieting, you must first determine your total daily energy expenditure or TDEE. It consists of your resting and non-resting energy expenditure or REE and NREE. REE simply means the number of calories you burn while at rest, and NREE is the energy you expend in all your daily activities, including exercise. You can get your TDEE using apps available online. You can also calculate this by hand using the following formula:
- For men: (weight in kg x 10) + (height in cm x 6.25) – (age x 5) + 5
- For women: (weight in kg x 10) + (height in cm x 6.25) – (age x 5) – 161
Multiply the number that you would get by an activity factor that is dependent on your lifestyle:
- For those with a sedentary lifestyle (little to no exercise): 1.2
- For lightly active people (one to three days of exercise per week): 1.375
- For moderately active people (four to six days of exercise per week): 1.55
- For very active people (exercise daily): 1.725
- For extra active people (two or more times of exercise per day): 1.9
Once you have your TDEE, the next thing you have to do is calculate your macronutrient or “macro” needs. Protein, fats, and carbohydrates are the three main macros, and each has a corresponding calorie value.
- 1 g of protein = 4 calories
- 1 g of carbohydrate = 4 calories
- 1 g of fat = 9 calories
With your TDEE and macro needs, the next step is to create a calorie deficit. You can do this by tracking your calorie intake and making sure that it is lower than your TDEE. A common recommendation is consuming 200 to 500 calories less than your TDEE to lose 1.5 to 2 lbs per week safely.
There are many ways to track your macro intake, but the easiest is to use a website or an app. Apps help track your macro intake anywhere you go. Many macro-tracking apps have an extensive database that could give you the needed information within seconds based on the portion size of your snack or meal.
So what is flexible dieting? A lot of counting and tracking calorie and macronutrient intake. It does not matter whether you eat foods that are not considered by many as healthy, as long as you stay within the goal you set.
Why it Works
Flexible dieting is unique, revolutionary, and some would even consider it a non-diet. The versatility in food choices makes it easier for dieters to stick with the program longer and find more success in losing weight.
There are no complicated food plans or strict menu limitations. You could eat anything you want as long as you balance it out with more activity. Most people find the calorie-calculating process more challenging than the diet itself.
So again, what is flexible dieting? It is precisely that, flexible. It allows people to meet different fitness goals and improve their quality of life at their own pace.