My approach for flexible dieting
Firstly, i'm not sure i'm in the right forum here. I haven't read Lyle's guide for flexible dieting. I just wanted to share my take on flexible dieting so others may criticize it and/or benefit from it.
Secondly, it's not really My approach. for all I know there are a thousand books about this very approach. It's just something that I liked felt like sharing. So here we go.
my poor poor life *cries in corner*
I've struggled with weight and diets my entire life. I've never been a fat person but never got lean either. I was always normal looking to chubby. I'm guesstimating my fat % was 20% at its lowest and 35% at its highers. at 35% I do begin to look beyond chubby, an overweight person.
So I've tried rigid dieting where I weighted and counted everything, I've tried a looser approach. I've tried lowcarb-high fat approach, a highcarb-lowfat approach. I've tried a 10% deficit, 20% and 30%. I've tried to cycle things, tried to get used to a non-changing moderate approach.
All these diet, All of them worked. fat came off, I felt better, I even got stronger in training. what have always made my fail is hunger. and not even "Real" hunger, my stomach did not complain much. my brain does. my mood does. It was "emotional" hunger, eat to feel good, to have fun, to be relaxed.
This need was made more severe on the account of two things: Quitting smoking and the restrictive nature of all diets. for someone who quit smoking, there's a big gigantic gap left in your life. there use to be an easy fix to take a moment to relax, have fun, and also suppress. without it, it's hard not to overeat.
I've found a lowcarb approach was superior in containing "Real" hunger. but the mental one, the one that craves to obtain comfort and relaxation, was still going strong. and that type of emotional eating always made my (Successful!) diets to derail. Always.
What eventually worked best for me
So after this heartbreaking story, here's what I've personally found to work best for me. This approach requires you to do a lot of calculating and weighting stuff at the first week or so, and afterwards it gets real loose and flexible. it is essentially a flexible mid-low carb approach.
step one: weight stuff
one carb portion = 15g of carbs
one protein portion = 15g of protein
of course you can choose to alter the proportion size to 20g, 10g, 30g, whatever. I've found 15g to be very comfortable.
Now you go and weigh stuff out. you take your carb foods and see how much of each is 15g carbs (i do not count the protein or fats in carb goods. just carbs). so one loaf of bread = 15g carbs. one cup of cooked rice (my cup anyway) = 15g carbs. such and such tablespoons of oatmeal = 15g carbs. whatever. just take the food you like, be it fibrous woodchips or chocolate cake, and figure out how much of that = 15g of carbs.
then do the same with protein sources. half a tuna can = 15g protein. two large eggs = 15g protein. such and such chicken legs = 15g protein. ect.
you can also go and do that with the fat, but I recommend to avoid that, because then you'd need to go and calculate the fat you get from your protein + carb foods. and that's a pain in the I need to read the rules post.I need to read the rules post.I need to read the rules post. so F**k that.
Step two: setting up your diet
You do not calculate calories. You do not estimate deficit Percentage. The only thing you need to figure out is how much protein you need. lets say its a 100g protein. now decide how many meals you want. that is ofcourse flexible and can vary from day to day.
so i can eat two protein portions (30g) for breakfast. another two for lunch. another two for dinner. that puts me at 90g of protein. i'll have less than a portion as a snack and bam - im at about 100g. next day I may not be hungry in the morning so i'll have a big lunch at 50g protein, and then just snack randomly and disorderly another 50g throughout the day.
your protein is your baseline. to that you not add carbs. how many carbs? the answer firstly is: whatever. just start at something fixed. here's an example:
breakfast - two portion protein. two portion carbs.
10am - one portion carbs
lunch - two portion protein. two portion carbs.
4pm - one portion protein. one portion carbs.
dinner - two portion protein. two portion carbs.
so with this we've got ~100g of protein and ~120g carbs. fat is eaten freely, just make sure not to go berserk with it.
next day you might feel the need to construct your menu completely different. you may go for pizza + chocolate cake for 120g carbs (and you'd know how much pizza and cake you need to eat once you've weighted your portions for them once) and go only protein for the rest of the day.
you may have an unexpected event and drink some beers, and have to cut carbs from the next day, and drop to one portion of carbs per each meal. whatever.
the point is, it gives you a lot of room to move, to change your mind, to go "off diet" without getting off diet at all.
step three: drop the carbs
once you feel your progress begins to slow, its time to drop a portion of carbs from somewhere. keep doing that however you need.
do refeeds. you all know how. you do not need me to explain this.
Explaining my refeeds:
Ok fine. I personally like once every two weeks. at some point I've decided to drop more carbs do I could do a refeed once a week. You could count how many portions you choose to add during a refeed. I recommend just, you know, eat good stuff and don't worry about it. don't go berserk either. a day before I may choose to avoid carbs alltogether, to sort of coverup in advance for any excess refeeds that may occur. and ofcource, do a heavy workout before the refeed, blah blah blah.
I chose not to count fat because it's present in both carb foods and protein foods. counting how much olive oil i put in my salad or in the pan when im gonna fry some eggs, how how much fat is in the meat and cheese i'm buying, is just too much hassle for me. I'd suggest just try not to eat too much fatty foods, and that's about it.
this approach so far is been working Wonderfully for me. It allows me a great deal of room to move, to eat how I feel, but with a structure.