Welcome to the last article in our 9-part series: Learn to be Flexible!
Over the last 9 articles we’ve discovered how we can walkthrough from A to B – A being where you are now and B your ideal goal with weight, gym goals or anything you want to drive using nutrition.
Obviously, your goal is probably somewhat different to the other people reading this so there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ reccomendation I can make. What I do do however is walk you through the 9 things I believe you need to tick off to be able to be able to start driving your goal, SUSTAINABLY. No fad diets, no huge restriction of calories. Just enjoying moderation and flexibilty whilst getting the body or goal we want.
Who doesn’t want that?
Below are the last 8 articles. Please flick through them as I wrote some gold throughout! 🙂 Or just browse through my catalogue of blog posts/articles at the top.
Tick each of these articles off and I guarantee you’ll have a much better idea what you need to do, or possibly where you’re going wrong, to smash your goal.
It’s flexible, k…? 🙂
Without any further ado, let’s roll into the final chapter: Incorporating flexibility into our nutrition, and some advanced strategies you can use.
Why is flexibilty so important?
Quite simply, we owe our bodies a lot to give it what it craves. You can only go so far at 110% willpower. If you’re going really strict with your diet and smashing chicken and broccoli 365/24/7 then I can bet my pretty pound you’re gonna fall off the wagon somewhere along the line.
It’s not that you won’t enjoy it, maybe you do! But it’s about the monotony that follows, sooner or later your mind will get bored and cravings will come as they naturally do. We’re all just human and actually designed to get cravings. Probably the most common craving you suffer from is for sweet, stodgy, sugary foods, we all do! My Achilles heel are granola slices, flippin’ love em.
The reason this happens though is because your mind after many years has memorised the foods that will give you quick energy. Ever get home hungry and you know you’ve got a pretty banging meal ready to be made and eaten, but, you’re just ravenous, and maybe very irritably low on energy. you naturally reach for the sweet snacks instead of cooking a 30 minute healthy meal. And that’s purely a subconcious decision to get your blood sugar levels up quick. That’s a basic craving but the most primitive one to get your blood sugar back up where it needs to be!
My point is, by weaving flexibility into your calorie- or macro- controlled diet by squeezing a granola bar here or there or a few biscuits as a snack, whilst also keeping the rest of the food in the day relatively high quality in terms of nutrient density, I bet my pretty pound again you’ll be in a better boat than 365/chicken boy.
Giving your body what it craves isn’t bad, and it’s been shown time and time again that simply hitting your total calories across the day is MUCH more important than timing of meals, supplementation or any other strategy you want to lean on.
If your downfall is sudden binges of food, chances are it’s because your restricting the more palatable foods you like to a large degree, or drastically cutting your calories, both of which your body craves to function healthily.
How can we get this flexibility?
It’s easy, I just said it!
If you’re into fad diets you probably keep an eye on the calories of foods. I can only recommend that if you don’t track calories to some degree, or have an acute eye on your portion controls and sense of when you’re hungry, then you need to develop these skills first. Which is why the above articles aimed to address these first. Go back above then come back 🙂
If you’re that person who keeps a close eye on calories try weaving in some small treats into those total calories a bit more than your norm. If you eat 1500 calories a day pretty healthily weave a couple jammy dodgers in there or a packet of fruit pastilles, you’re 75% most likely to be falling off the wagon from restricting palatable foods you like, give them to yourself. Keep your diet mostly high quality in order to get a boat-load of satiety-helping nutrients and you’ll be onto a winner.
If you can hit your calorie goal in order to lose or gain weight WHILST being able to eat more palatable foods, who wouldn’t choose that option!? Calories ARE still king, you just need to make your diet more sustainable.
Truth is if you get to the end of the day and you still feel pretty hungry anyway, chances are you actually probably need more total calories anyway and that snack wouldn’t have made you ‘fat’ one bit.
I honestly don’t think there’s much to be said on flexibility, other than total calories consumed over a day is still ht enumber one driver to weight loss or gain. Get that number right and fill it with high quality foods with nice snacks here and there, you’re onto a winner.
Plus, i’d love for you to find a professional athelete who hasn’t touched an ounce of anything with refined sugar in please, you won’t, we’re all human.
I had the lovely honour of working with some Paralympians last year as part of my last job, and they were all smashing Belvita breakfast biscuits so, ye, enjoy some breakfast bars!! 🙂
There are only a handful of advanced strategies I’d walk clients through to help them on their journey to their goal and they are:
- Reverse Dieting
- Refeed Days
Reverse dieting is a fairly complex strategy, but one that works wonders. I wrote up a cracking article that actually constitutes for half the total traffic for this site from google and getting more popular weekly, so check that out here!!! In short reverse dieting is actually, contradictory, increasing your calories over time whilst reducing the amount of heavy cardio over time too, replacing with more weight resistance training.
The idea is to give your calories for your body to use coming off a heavy period of dieting. Your body will respond to this by raising it’s metabolism in order to deal with the excess calories, so a slow increase is paramount. Then, when your body get’s used to these calories we implement more resistance training, and more often than not see some amazing increases in lean muscle mass and, often, body fat mass too. Check that article out above, it’s one of my gold ones! 🙂
Look at refeed days as your ‘cheat days’, but with some actual structure involved instead of smashing 3 tubs of ben and jerry’s and calling it ‘calculated’!! I know your trick!
A refeed day is only really utilised when driving a calorie deficit to use weight, but also in rare circumstances to gain too. The idea is when dieting in a deficit to restore your consumption to your body’s ‘maintenenence calories’ in order to upregulate hormone production beneficial to keeping you feel fuller. These hormones are generally Leptin and Ghrelin, responsible for telling your body when you’re full and when you’re hungry. By restoring our body’s consumption to maintenance for a day by simply increasing by, say, 200 calories worth of carbs (40g), you’ll actually come out the next day feeling pretty full when returning to your calorie deficit, and you’ll STILL be losing weight because the deficit across the week is still in the minus.
This is the benefit of having a structured refeed day as opposed to a ‘shot in the dark’ cheat day. They’re great if they’re few and far between, but often a cheat day to most people involves eating the same amount of calories they lost in a deficit in the week, completely negating your weeks work – why are you even dieting in that situation, think about it…
I haven’t actually written a specific article on this but it’s pretty straight forward, when you feel yourself getting increasingly hungry after every increase/decrease in calories if you’re still losing weight, a refeed may just be what you need.
As within the most of this 9-part guide, I only really recommend you start delving in advanced strategies when you’re ticking off those fundamentals.
Get your total daily calories right first whilst exploring how to keep treats in moderation and using flexibility. After that getting the right number of macro nutrients (protein, carbs and fats) become the next step to total body domination. Don’t even bother thinking or stressing about micronutrient intake such as vitamin D and things if you haven’t got those foundations ticked off first. And I’m sorry to say, you’re probably wasting a tonne of money if you’re thinking supplements (other than whey protein) are the magic pill to your dream body, and the same goes for nutrient timing.
The moral of this guide is to get your foundations perfect, then move onto the next step. People want things WAY too quickly, and actually what people want in 12 weeks need to look at wanting to drive 24 or 36 weeks out. It’s the truth, in order to make a PERMANENT CHANGE you need to develop the proper habits and foundations and nail them before you have any hope of lasting change. Habits just don’t form enough in 12 weeks in my opinion, some do, but deep lying habits that are hindering your nutrition are probably 25 years in the making and it’ll take some considerable time to shift those,
The 9 articles in this guide cover every foundational change I coach to clients to go from where they are in wanting change to getting the body they dreamed of! Everyone can do that too, without a coach, it just sucks that there’s too many people cashing on on the quick fix hype.
You want permanent change? Here it is. All the information you need to help you on your way…
I never said it will be easy.
However, I have said it many times along the way, it’s a lifestyle change, but you want it bad… don’t you…?
Thank you so much for getting to this part of the guide. Especially if you’ve been a reader of all the other articles. I’d love to hear your feedback on whether this was useful for you and if there’s anything else you’d like to know or learn, please get in touch and we’ll make something happen, together!
Thanks so much for your attention, it means the world.
Catch the other articles in the series below: