In the 13 years since I started my health journey, no diet has profoundly impacted my relationship with food, like flexible dieting. For one, I don’t consider flexible dieting to be a diet. It’s a mindset towards nutrition. Here’s how a flexible approach can be a game-changer for you too.
1. It breaks the “magic pill” mindset. Here’s the thing: When you understand that energy balance drives weight loss, maintenance, or gain, you’ve won. You’ve beaten one of the most challenging levels of a game many are struggling to play. And you no longer need to keep replaying this level. Now you can play new levels like navigating social events without morphing into a glutton or how to eat until you’re 90% full. When you accept that this is a life-long game, you’ll stop looking for cheat codes.
2. It’s lifestyle-friendly. A rigid diet makes social events impossible to navigate. For example, Keto. Nearly any social event, be it a birthday party or client dinner, will be swarming with food choices that are off the Keto menu. If you try to willpower your way through Keto, those micro-decisions will drain your willpower fast. And if you give in, one bite could unleash a full Hulk Smash on the birthday cake. I’ve seen it before. And I’ve experienced it myself. With a flexible mindset, you know one piece of cake isn’t the end of the world.
3. It doesn’t feel like a diet. Every other diet is built on exclusivity, whereas flexible dieting is built on inclusivity. Keto — carbs <5 % of calories (which feels like zero). Paleo — grains, legumes, and dairy. Vegan — all animal products. If your diet is void of foods you enjoy, find a new diet. If you enjoy bread, eat it. If you enjoy ice cream, go for it. If you enjoy your Nana’s refried beans, kick your heels up and eat them. Nobody gets fat from eating one ice cream cone, and nobody gets ripped from eating one salad.
4. Yes, a flexible approach (actually) works. Will it work for everyone? No. But will it work for many? Yes. When I was struggling with a binge-eating disorder, I could not eat flexibly. A scoop of ice cream always turned into a pint, until one day, it didn’t. It wasn’t until I learned about flexible dieting and started applying it that my binge eating disorder seemed to vanish overnight. I’ve maintained a healthy weight and relationship with food for years now. Some people do enjoy eating Keto, Vegan, Paleo, etc. That’s awesome. If they can stick with those diets to achieve their goals, super! But no single diet has a stronghold on adherence. The best diet is, and will always be, the one you can stick to.