“Diet = lifestyle behaviors, not a cruel act of starvation and limitation”
The term flexible dieting was brought to life in the early 1990s and later popularized by flexible dieting enthusiasts posting their creative pancakes and various pasty items in the late 2000’s era. Flexible vs rigid dieting has much to do with the way we psychologically think about food in terms of the limitations. You may notice among your friend groups or in society we have what seems to be only two categories of “dieters”, those who have a restraint style model “I can’t eat that it’s bad for me” and those who have a flexible approach with dieting “I can have anything in moderation”. Granted neither is likely aware of this, I want you to know the difference so it helps you from this day forward.
Interestingly enough studying dieters and various lifestyles, those who view diet with less stress “I can have anything in moderation” and are flexible seem to produce better results such as less stress, kept the weight off, better long term results, and overall are just smaller people. On the other hand the restraint model “I can’t eat that” didn’t lose the same amount of weight, was more stressed about the diet and lack of result, more likely to redevelop eating disorders, and more depressed with their body image and repeated failures.
Let’s address the black and white method of thinking regarding your current nutritional approach. The way you think about food is crucial in your success, period. Your mind is the strongest predictor of success as it directly correlates to how you treat yourself and what you believe you’re capable of. If you spend the majority of your time in stress accompanied by negative self-talk when you think about your chosen diet and exercise routine and view foods as being “good vs bad” your wrapped up in black and white thinking that often leads to the above place I mentioned which is a less than desirable result and you shouldn’t make your food decisions based on the negative connotation of “good foods vs bad foods”. How many people that you know start a diet, only to finish the diet and go binge eat or go right back to eating how they were before the diet even started? We know many of them since we work with similar people and help them improve their methods of fat loss and building muscle through what we teach at The Educated Dieter.
The shift is understanding that the macronutrient tracking system can allow you the flexibility that you need to stop black and white thinking and understand that the tool your looking for that will create long-term sustainability is actually in the “grey” area. I challenge you today, learn how to satisfy your cravings with the foods you enjoy guilt-free and move on, instead of its counterpart alternative which is binge eating after an aggressive diet phase because it was too restrictive only to gain back all the weight you lost, and likely a little more. I’m sure you would have guessed binging or cheating as it’s oftentimes referred to in the fitness industry isn’t healthy physically or psychologically either and it must stop if you want to finally gain control. My friends, your relationship with food is one of the longest relationships you will ever have in your life. You must make your diet work for you, not work against you!
Here are 3 simple immediate impacts you can make today to help you improve the way you see your diet.
- Start tracking your macronutrients today! (fat grams, carbohydrate grams, protein grams, and fiber grams) this will provide you the awareness of just how much you eat in a day. From there you can adjust your macros to reach what your goals should be (mention in a separate blog). This process will likely take you 1-2 weeks to lock in but this time invested will pay off massive once you have mastered this!
- EAT a variety of foods! It is ok to start with a more rigid approach however be mindful that rigid dieting only leads to excessive cravings! When you tell a human what they can not have, that’s all they crave! Period! So stop limiting what you can eat and focus more on how much. Eat the ice cream, but keep it in moderation and add it into your macros.
- Once you have tracked your nutrition for a solid week with this method, it may not seem like your dieting at all. This is exactly what you want! You want food freedom, you want less stress, and you want to see results. Well, friends, a less stressed body will respond to fat loss much better than your chronically stressed over dieted counterpart.
In coming articles, we will discuss calorie deficits, maintenance phases, and calories surpluses!
So take action and help yourself solve your life long problem! Have the chocolate, but keep it classy 🙂
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