Whenever anyone asks me how or where to start when wanting to lose weight, the first thing I suggest is flexible dieting.
I’ve been following flexible dieting (aka IIFYM, aka If It Fits Your Macros, aka Macro Counting) for the last 5 years now.
I’ve tried others just to experiment in between, and I always come back to it… because it works and well, it’s flexible!
What is flexible dieting?
It’s pretty simple. You can eat whatever you want, as long as you stay within a certain number of macros.
What are macros?
Macros is short for macronutrients. It’s the amount of fats, carbs, and protein that make up our food and determines how many calories are in them.
Why Macro Counting?
When you’re first starting out on a weight loss journey, one of the hardest parts is staying consistent with your diet – ironically it’s also the most important.
That being said, we want something maintainable.
Nothing is off limits. Want a donut? Go for it! Just track the macros.
Hitting your personal optimal levels of macronutrients is extremely effective for weight loss
You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and how much more energy you have.
This is not to say that you can eat whatever you want all day long and lose weight.
You’ll quickly realize that in order to hit the correct macro levels, the majority of your food choices will need to be healthy, nutritious options.
What flexible dieting allows for is those small cravings throughout the day.
The idea is that on a very restrictive diet, you’ll get fed up with it over time and eventually end up bingeing.
If you allow yourself small bit here and there to keep your cravings at bay, you’re much more likely to stick with it long term.
Take keto for example.
If you don’t know what keto is, from a very high level, it’s a diet where you eat high amounts of fat, and an extremely low amount of carbs – like 5%, which works out to roughly 20-30g of carbs per day.
To put that in perspective, that’s 1 banana worth of carbs. You can eat ONE BANANA and then you get no more carbs that day.
How long can the average person last eating that way before they cave and binge on all things carby goodness?
I have no idea, but I wouldn’t last long at all, nor do I want to find out.
How to figure out your macros.
The easiest way to figure out how many grams of carbs, proteins, and fats you should aim to eat in a day is with a macro calculator.
It will ask you a few simple questions and then spit out your numbers.
For example, your macros will look something like this 150g carbs, 40g fat, 130g protein.
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2. Track your macros.
Okay, so you have your macro number goals, now what?
These are the numbers you want to aim to eat every day.
How do you know if you’ve eaten the levels you need to?
By tracking your food (it’s quicker and easier than it sounds, I promise).
The easiest way to track your food is with an app or website like MyFitnessPal.com (they also have an app).
Just search for your food and enter your portion size.
The app even has a barcode scanner so you don’t even have to type in the food.
It will keep track and calculate your totals for you throughout the day.
For example, at the end of the day, your macros will look something like this:
3. How to make sure you’re burning enough calories.
The way the macro calculator works is by asking you lifestyle and body composition questions to estimate how many calories you are burning in a day.
Based on your goal (we’re assuming it’s weight loss for this post), it will calculate how many calories you should eat compared to how many you burn to reach that goal… then it uses a formula to break that down into an optimal level of macros.
It does that because the rules of weight loss are simple:
Weight Loss = Eat less calories than you burn
Weight Gain = Eat more calories than you burn
Maintain Weight = Eat about the same calories that you burn.
The reason that matters is because it can only estimate how many calories you’re burningbased on how accurate your inputs are.
This will be accurate enough for about 90% of you.
If you really want to kick it up a notch and be sure that you are burning more calories than you eat, invest in a fitness tracker.
Some are more accurate than others, but most importantly, make sure it has a heart rate monitor.
That’s it! That is literally everything you need to know to lose weight!
Unless you have a medical condition, I guarantee you will lose weight and reach any goal you have by following these steps!If you have any questions, leave a comment or message me on instagram!
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