Flexible dieting or calorie cycling
Sounds great doesn’t it, but it’s absolutely true.
When it comes to dieting, there are different strategies that you can use to make your diet plan more liveable/flexible.
Strict diets with magic formulas and complex rules that restrict certain foods to make it impossible to eat out, ban caffeine and alcohol, don’t fit around real life.
When you can’t stick to the strict rules, it’s no wonder that you feel like you’ve failed, wasted your money yet again and leaves you at odds with your motivation and mindset that you thought you had nailed before you started!
Flexible dieting or Calorie Cycling
Think of your calorie target in terms of money and flexible dieting helps you to budget your calorie spending throughout the week. So save a few calories each day for a little extra spends at the weekend. With me so far?
At the moment, you are most likely looking at your calories as an equal split over the 7 days. If Friday is the night you go out with a group of friends and Sunday is the day you have a family roast, you can budget your weeks calories to give you some wriggle room without blowing the week!
Lets imagine your daily calorie goal is 1500 and 10,500 per week.
On Friday you’d like to spend 400 extra calories giving you 1900 for that day and on Sunday you’d like an extra 200 calories for your Sunday family roast. The chart 📊 below shows the savings you can make throughout the week in red and the yellow is where you’ve spent them.
The advantages of flexible dieting are:-
- You can plan a recovery strategy for unexpected events.
- Plan ahead for social events.
- Reduce the risk of building an unhealthy relationship with food.
- Reduce the risk of feeling guilty for not being ‘on plan’ 100% of the time.
Now this sounds like the holy grail of dieting, but hold on there are some guidelines that you need to operate within in order not to get carried away.
- Allocate no more than 20% of your daily calories on a social event day to alcohol. Too much alcohol lowers inhibitions and leads to more alcohol and most likely more food (snacks, takeways) – in other words extra calories that you hadn’t planned for.
- On the occasions where you have a calorie surplus or deficit to recoup over a 7 day period, I’d recommend splitting it equally over the week so that you don’t get into the cycle of bingeing and having to spend the remainder of the week on very low calories. This isn’t going to improve your health, leave you feeling great or do anything for your relationship with food.
- Keep your protein intake consistent irrespective of the day. DO NOT reduce your protein intake on any day. Instead reduce your carbohydrate intake.