Summer is fast approaching. And If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to the food! Cookouts, festivals, beach parties- how do you balance it all while trying to keep a flat tummy. Well even though I hadn’t previously given it a term- flexible dieting is a stress-free way to start watching what you eat.
Flexible Dieting is the counting and tracking of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fat) to achieve a body composition goal. Now if I were to give this a term, I would call it eating finessed.
Because to be honest, I don’t believe in diets. Dieting implies that your eating practice is temporary. However, things could make a lot more sense (and rewarding) if you just practiced eating specifically for your lifestyle and for fuel. I listen to what my body tells me to eat.
People often ask me “Why aren’t I losing weight even though I am drinking protein shakes, trying vegan/raw diet, trying Ketogenic diet, or paleo?” Depending on your fitness goal, the answer could be that maybe your body is missing a key macronutrient.
The truth is all macronutrients are important in the right amount and at the right time. The key is not to overdo any one food group. Because all food (protein, fats, and carbs) will turn in to fat stores if eaten in excess. Bottom line.
Also stay away from foods that make your gut go crazy. Common offenders are wheat, dairy, or chemicals found in certain processed foods. This takes a bit of trial and error. But once you start paying attention to your digestion after certain foods, your body’s tolerance will start revealing itself.
More importantly, in order to build muscle, increase your basal metabolic rate (how much calories your body burns at rest), and lose weight- you need all 3 macronutrients in the right proportions. If you deprive yourself of any one group, you may lose weight- but it probably won’t look as good because it won’t be in the right places. Some foods contain all three groups, so you have to be mindful of this and treat foods according to their majority composition. A good example is beans, which often get mistaken as a predominantly protein based food. However, beans are actually full of carbs.
Anyways without further ado, here is the breakdown:
Fats (oils, butters, cholesterol, anything creamy, anything soft/moist/tender probably has fat in it). Fats can sometimes get a bad rap, but really they are the premier energy source for laying down good muscle. Even though your body relies on carbohydrates early on in exercise, your muscles need fat to grow. It’s a fine balance however. So if you want to avoid clogged arteries and a heart attack or stroke down the line, choose fats that aren’t solid at rest (i.e. low in saturated fat) more often than not. Also, if you already have enough muscle, then you may need to cut fats down even more in order to achieve the defined look you want.
Carbohydrates (grains, starches, beans, rice, potatoes, anything mushy white/brown/tan)- Tried and true, quick fast energy source. Good for pre-fueling before a workout and re-fueling after a workout. However, they are the macronutrient to watch the most and eat in moderation. Everyone needs carbs to live, but eating in excess (which is very easy to do) leads to a lot of downstream counterproductive metabolic outcomes, such as water retention and more fat storage. Carbs in general are necessary, but they should be the smallest portion on your plate. Also keep in mind that there are healthier carb choices to pick from, such as ones with low glycemic index.
Proteins (meats, fish, poultry, whey, legumes)- are the essential building blocks for growing muscle and developing a lean, toned, and sexy body. If you are not eating enough protein forget about losing weight. Therefore, protein should always be the majority of your meal. The downside is that sometimes a lot of protein can lead to slow digestion and food transit in the gut. It is also not typically considered a fast energy source. Nonetheless, protein is my favorite macronutrient because I enjoy being an omnivore and pescetarian- I eat everything! And you can too, while still looking good.
In summary, eating is all about establishing balance and adaptability. Always remember, you are what you eat. It’s never too late to start getting to know your body and finessing your meal plan. If you enjoyed this blog post, make sure to sign up for my FIT.FOCUS.FINESSE series to stay up to date on the best fitness tips to achieve your goals.