With fitness, there’s plenty of non-absolutes. Simply put, there’s no direct or secret way of getting in the best shape of your life. It’s all consistent effort.
Since I started working out, I’ve seen a constant cycle of dieting styles: Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Low Fat Diets, Skipping Breakfast, and more. Year by year, a new-named diet that replicates other diets is “discovered”.
We can choose any of these diets. A lot of them sound appealing, HOWEVER: What if you can’t stick with the newest diet in the long term? Truth is: there's no one way to diet; we all require different food intake based on our height, weight, genetics, preferences, etc.
With that, I created this blog post to INTRODUCE a flexible nutrition system.
I think it's easiest to start with meal tracking so that we can understand the basics.
With that, let's dive in!
At Reforged, we prefer to build a strong habit... and we LOVE flexibility - especially in nutrition. Our method of choice is Flexible Dieting. Flexible Dieting is a system that revolves around a few of the following principles:
With these six steps, you can develop simple dieting guidelines or a system.
To dive deeper even deeper, I wanted to go over methods/strategies we use to execute on all six principles.
While a calorie is a simple measurement of energy, there are many methods you can utilize to help you eat properly: You can track calories to help gain or lose weight, log a food journal, or you can start by developing portion control through the "PFFT" Method.
Choose the best method that works for you! There's no "right way" to do it!
We will discuss these methods in this section.
Use the one that seems easy to get into and build a habit around!
If you’re just getting started with tracking, I would encourage you to start by JUST keeping a “Food Diary” or Journal. A simple 1% change per day is manageable. If you go all-in immediately, you most likely won’t be able to build a solid habit in nutrition.
Don’t disregard this one; this simple step will change your lifestyle drastically! This small sort of incremental change will keep you motivated to push drive you in the right direction.
Just like tracking your monthly expenses, I believe it’s important to track what you eat. This is because you build AWARENESS when it comes to what you eat. When it comes to meal tracking, you can write it down, or download a meal tracking app like MyFitnessPal.
MyFitnessPal will help you track foods by searching in their database for the food you eat. I do this to track my food when I eat out at restaurants too: even if the calories aren’t exact, I have the food tracked and I’ll be more inclined to share my dessert.
Other great apps would include:
There are plenty of apps you can use to track food. If this is not necessarily something you prefer, we can always use the portion control method in the next section.
If you don’t want to track your foods, portion them. This is where the Palm-Fist-Fist-Thumb strategy comes in! From Precision Nutrition‘s method on portion control, you can use this to size our portions PER MEAL. Here’s how to do it:
As you can see here, this is a less complicated method of “food tracking”. By default, this is should put you in a good spot for “maintenance calories” if you do some form of activity.
If you find that after a COUPLE OF WEEKS you are struggling to drop weight, take out 1/2 portion of carbohydrates out in one meal (or take a fruit out) and assess. I guarantee you will notice results over time.
Once you get used to food tracking AND you want to take your calorie tracking further, you can now get a MORE accurate calculation of your calories to “move the scale in the direction you want it”.
The following steps are what I use in getting a more accurate estimation of maintenance calories before I dig into either a “gaining weight” phase or fat loss phase.
This method was created by Dr. Eric Helms (he knows his sh**), and it’s fairly solid:
First Step: Get your “Base Calories”. Take your body weight and multiply it by 10. This will give you a base calorie intake. The base calorie intake is what you technically burn through daily without activity.
Second Step: Find the “Activity Multiplier”. The activity multiplier is a generic estimation; you might need to adjust depending on how much energy you expend. This is determined by the following:
Third Step: Take your base calories and multiply them by your multiplier to get your “Maintenance Calories”. This will determine the calories you can POSSIBLY eat to maintain your current physique.
Fourth Step: Determine your phase (whether fat loss or gaining), then add/subtract from “maintenance calories”.
And there you have it!
So there it is, methods and a brief intro to flexible nutrition. There is so much to cover with nutrition that we cannot cover in just one blog post. This is why we encourage discussion!
Any questions, comments, or insights? Throw them below! Let's discuss!
Until next time, legion!
We all witness the initial water weight loss that comes from dieting... it's so cool to drop 5-10lbs in one week when we start.
And then, it slows down... it even stops.
Some people get disheartened from this and believe that it's in their genetics... that the diet didn't work... that no matter what they do, it's useless.
I've been there.
I've tried Intermittent Fasting, Ketogenic, and low-carb diets way before they were cool. To be honest, most of these methods were never sustainable for me in the long-term: I would eventually always stop them. Being that I grew up with a family whose meals were Mediterranean-styled, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbs were always a part of my life.
Sometimes, having trouble eliminating food groups in diets is not because of willpower or discipline... it's because of adherence. To us, adherence is the most important thing in a diet, as it eventually breeds discipline and consistency.
It was not until I incorporated Flexible Dieting that my entire lifestyle changed for the better.
In this post, we will explore the Flexible Dieting system in its entirety. It's a system I have used through quite a few successful fat loss and muscle gain phases since 2013.