Smartdiet – Flexible Dieting Plans
You can create a flexible dieting plan with our custom diet planner. We then instantly caculate yor nutritional targets and give you a personalized diet plan.
What is Flexible Dieting?
OK, tell me the basics
Flexible dieting is our recommended diet plan for the majority of people. Many alternative diets are very prescriptive, with very rigid rules and little compatibility with people’s tastes and preferences. There are some rules of course but as the name suggests, the rules are nowhere near as rigid as other diets tend to be. Flexible dieting opens up people’s choices as there is little emphasis on making people only eat certain types of food (although eating a variety of foods and vegetables is encouraged). The diet is essentially based on establishing a daily calorie target (the most important factor in weight control) and slightly looser target ranges for Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats whilst still allowing you to eat the foods you enjoy.
Flexible Dieting is simply the counting of macronutrients (and fibre) in order to achieve a body composition goal. There are three macronutrients (macros): carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. One gram of each macronutrient has a value (measured in calories) and when combined, these result in overall calorie intake; carbohydrates and protein carry 4 calories and fat 9 calories.
Following the flexible diet is simply based on a daily target, set for calorie and macronutrient (and fibre) intake. As long as the target numbers are achieved any foods can be eaten to suit personal preference.
A little more detail..
The personal target calculation for calorie requirement and macro ratios for flexible diet is based on:
- Daily energy expenditure based on weight, height, age and physical activity level
- Personal goal (lose weight, gain weight, maintain weight)
Flexible dieting is mostly about numbers and the nutritional profiles of foods; there are no specific guidelines on which foods may or may not be eaten. However, it is important that an overall healthy, balanced diet is followed; one that incorporates lots of nutrient dense foods, occasionally incorporating less than healthy foods whilst still meeting with the diet target. Flexible dieting approach seems to work well; it is not a ‘quick fix’ but rather a lifestyle approach to eating and nutrition.
Other forms of diet, particularly those based around strict calorie reduction and food group elimination, are often only a ‘quick fix’ and can fall short as they do not readily adapt to general lifestyles. It is common for dieters to feel deprived of food, which can lead to cheating or bingeing, eventually end up quitting the diet and reversing all of their hard work. Flexible dieting promotes moderation and inclusion of food variety, with occasional indulgence.
- It’s flexible! Research has demonstrated that individuals who are too rigid in their approach to dieting are actually less successful in the long run than those who adopt a more flexible attitude.
- Easier to stick to because it allows individuals to mostly eat the foods they like.
- Less stress in social situations.
- Suitable for anyone to follow, even those with allergies or following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- Having too much flexibility may cause dieters to go off the rails.
- Some might focus too much on the macros, forgetting the importance of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) intake, essential in a healthy diet.
- If not planned in advance, poor food decisions are possible just to meet macros e.g. drinking 3 protein shakes at the end of the day just to meet the protein target. However, if you use our diet planner that shouldn’t be an issue!
Is it for me?
Flexible dieting is ideal for anyone who struggles to stick to a rigid diet because of lifestyle factors or food preferences. Can be the perfect approach to achieve any goal, whether to lose weight, gain weight or build muscle. However, flexible dieting might not work for those who need more structure or prefer adhering to a strict diet. Also, this may not be the best diet for those looking for rapid weight loss.
It is important to note that the form of Flexible Dieting used on SmartDiet is slightly different than some of the other “Flexible Dieting” approaches you see elsewhere (such as ‘If It Fits Your Macros- IIFYM’) as we allow the diet to be even more flexible in terms of macronutrient targets although of course the same basic concepts apply.