The Flexible Diet

Flexible dieting is the term given to nutrition approaches that don’t limit the consumption of certain nutrients or foods, instead focusing on the total caloric intake or macronutrient targets.

While there is flexibility in the composition of the diet, the total intake on a daily or weekly basis is meant to remain relatively rigid.

This is typically provided by providing flexibility in the food options but requiring some rigidity in tracking food intake to make sure everything is balancing out.

This means we come up with caloric or macronutrient targets and then built a diet that fits these needs.

This allows the individual to be flexible in the content of the diet, and personalise the food intake to best-suit their needs.

The alternative option is to use the current diet as a start point and then go about making changes to the habitual intake to decrease energy content.

This approach can be done without setting caloric or macronutrient targets, but it relies on the habitual intake being relatively constant.

This means it’s harder to include new foods or extra meals out, however, the initial intake usually had some of these flexibilities already in place.

As a general rule, more flexibility in the food intake requires more diligence in terms of tracking.

It’s like managing a household budget - if the majority of your expenses are direct-debits and you know the total amount left over each month, it’s relatively easy to manage the balance.

However, if the expenses are constantly changing on weekly basis, it can be difficult to keep track of the balance without monitoring your spending.

Both methods are examples of flexible dieting and do not require the omission of any foods groups.

This minimises the disruption to the normal regime and helps facilitate adherence for many people.

Tom Fitzgerald