How many times have we adopted a new diet only to give up after a few days? We start a diet all guns blazing with the best intentions but soon our cravings, a lack of control, and general hunger woes take over. As a result, we’re back to our old habits and wonder why we haven’t lost any weight.
The best way to avoid this problem is to let the mind lead the way. In a flexible diet, you let your brain tell you what to do. You follow a simple rule of thumb in the flexible diet: eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Flexible dieting is often referred to as “eat-what-you-want-diet,” which is a misleading term. It sends a wrong message that you can eat whatever you want and expect results. But, what helps is flexible dieting.
Of course, the style of dieting will take getting used to as you may not feel full with certain foods. However, with practice, you can expect tremendous results. Let’s dive into the specifics of how flexible dieting helps you.1
1. Encourages Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is as simple as observing your eating patterns, realizing your cravings, and understanding why you have them in the first place. Soon, you will begin to eat only as much as you need and lose weight without being miserable. Turns out, the best way to fight cravings is to actually accept them. This way, you will also appreciate your body’s signals about hunger and behave the way it wants you to.2
2. Treats Cravings As Nutrition
Craving sweet foods? This could indicate that your blood sugar levels or your overall energy levels are low and your body feels that sweet foods can give you instant energy. However, since this is not the case, eating a healthy, carbohydrate-rich snack instead can help you fight those feelings.3
3. Does Not Support Or Reject Fasting
Flexible dieting has a better chance of becoming a lifestyle due to the simple fact that it is easier to follow. In this diet, you are not expected to fast, skip meals, or eat tiny amounts. However, if you feel like doing any of these things, you are free to do so. Go back to the thumb rule – eat only when you want to and stop when you feel full. It is completely your call.
4. Challenges You To Make Peace With Food
If you gobble up a piece of cake and then spend hours feeling guilty about it, you will hate yourself and food in general. On one hand, you respected your body’s wishes and ate the cake. But, on the other hand, you are miserable and hate yourself for doing it. Several studies have shown that worrying and feeling guilty about what we eat can actually be counterproductive. In order to maintain a steady weight, simply fighting this guilt can help. So, the next time you eat that piece of cake, eat it guilt-free.4
5. Prevents Binge Eating
Binge eating is a part of sadness and depression a little too often, sometimes fit to be termed as a disorder on its own. However, the whole idea of mindful eating is that you separate the need for food from the validation of feelings. So, no more champagne to celebrate and no tubs of ice cream to soothe sadness. By all means, if this is what you want to eat, you can go ahead. It is called flexible for a reason. But this will not make you feel better.5
6. Encourages You To Work Out
Exercise goes hand-in-hand with diet when it comes to weight loss. Since the flexible diet is not rigorous in its restrictions, you can eat whatever your body needs. Alongside, you also give your body a healthy workout. This will not just build muscle and strength but also bring a positive and happy attitude.
Choose whatever suits your goals, be it fat loss or weight gain, and include a mix of cardio and strength training. By eating what you want to and working out as much as you can, you can achieve a healthy state of being, which is more important in the long run.6
7. Is Easy To Sustain
There is a reason this diet is called flexible dieting: it is very easy to sustain. After all, what is an ideal diet but the one we can maintain for the longest period of time. This is the only way a diet is effective.
There is also a psychological aspect to it. You are a little more motivated when your diet is easy to follow, simple, and not so restrictive. This feeling of freedom can take you a long way, especially on your weight-loss journey. The traps of binge eating will also be easy to avoid since you can anyway eat what you want.7
Now that you know that there’s an easier version of dieting for fitness, will you give it a try? Already been on it and saw amazing results? Share your experiences with us.
|↑1||Stewart, Tiffany M., Donald A. Williamson, and Marney A. White. “Rigid vs. flexible dieting: association with eating disorder symptoms in nonobese women.” Appetite 38, no. 1 (2002): 39-44.|
|↑2||Dalen, Jeanne, Bruce W. Smith, Brian M. Shelley, Anita Lee Sloan, Lisa Leahigh, and Debbie Begay. “Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity.” Complementary therapies in medicine 18, no. 6 (2010): 260-264.|
|↑3||Weingarten, Harvey P., and Dawn Elston. “The phenomenology of food cravings.” Appetite 15, no. 3 (1990): 231-246.|
|↑4||Kuijer, Roeline G., and Jessica A. Boyce. “Chocolate cake. Guilt or celebration? Associations with healthy eating attitudes, perceived behavioural control, intentions and weight-loss.” Appetite 74 (2014): 48-54.|
|↑5||Spitzer, Robert L., Michael Devlin, B. Timothy Walsh, Deborah Hasin, Rena Wing, Marsha Marcus, Albert Stunkard et al. “Binge eating disorder: a multisite field trial of the diagnostic criteria.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 11, no. 3 (1992): 191-203.|
|↑6||Ross, Robert, Damon Dagnone, Peter JH Jones, Heidi Smith, Anne Paddags, Robert Hudson, and Ian Janssen. “Reduction in obesity and related comorbid conditions after diet-induced weight loss or exercise-induced weight loss in menA randomized, controlled trial.” Annals of internal medicine 133, no. 2 (2000): 92-103.|
|↑7||Warren, Clare, and Peter J. Cooper. “Psychological effects of dieting.” British Journal of Clinical Psychology 27, no. 3 (1988): 269-270.|