I love flexible dieting and tracking macronutrients. The two main reasons are to give me a goal amount of food to eat each day and to eat foods I deprived myself for so long between the ages of 16-22 years old when I thought I knew nutrition. So, I eat what I know is better for me, but also trickle in treats. If you mainly get your nutrition information from bodybuilding magazines or other places spitting out basic information I urge to expand your horizons, because there is a whole other world of science based nutrition you are missing out on.
You have to find the diet that works for you and your lifestyle. One that you can sustain for years and years. With that being said, each diet has their own flaws, which I would then say pick and choose certain aspects of each diet to fit your needs. For example, you might really like flexible dieting plus have a crazy appetite. If that’s the case, maybe implementing fasting might help you. Hold off on eating for the longest you can and then have bigger meals in a smaller window. I do this a good bit just because it is mentally pleasing to me. I just love feeling full.
With all this being said, no matter what diet you choose you have 3 non negotiables you must implement every day. The three are making sure you get in plenty of micronutrients, fiber and consume enough water every day. Like I said earlier, I love flexible dieting, but the purpose of the diet is to fit more than just Twinkies and Pop-Tarts in your diet. Yes, there are some people that do this. Let’s dive into the three shall we?
With all this talk about macros let’s not forget about micros. As Mike Vacanti says, “let’s make this year the year of the micros.” Go give him a follow if you don’t already. He has a very entertaining fitness and nutrition YouTube vlog. When flexible dieting we can have a tendency to trade more “fun” foods in place of quality meats, fruits and vegetables. Basically, we eat more processed foods. A donut might replace a meal that includes grass feed beef, spinach and sweet potatoes. What happens? We minimize the vitamins and minerals we should be getting on a daily basis. They are called “micro”-nutrients for a reason in that you only need a small amount of them each day, but, if your body doesn’t get the amount it needs this can result in unwanted health issues. What’s the fix? Try and eat well balanced diet, lots of colorful foods and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Next, we have fiber. Again, when flexible dieting, sometimes that importance swings too much on the macronutrients and we neglect to track other aspects of our diet like Fiber. Why is Fiber important? Fiber aids in helping move stool through your digestive tract and colon. This can be important for the fact that proper digestion plays a huge role in how our body assimilates nutrients. And for someone on a caloric deficit and trying to lose weight fiber can help create the feeling of fullness in your intestines when calories are low or potentially allow you to eat less. I like to tell my clients to consume 10-15g of fiber per 1,000 calories of food they eat in a day.
Last, but not least, we have water. I am the king of not drinking enough water. Every morning I get a large Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew with a turbo shot. First off, its heaven. But most importantly I honestly forget to drink water until about noon. What are the side effects? I get light headed and my workouts suck. Does this happen to you? Yes, not drinking enough water can and will decrease your performance. Don’t be like me. Try and consume 6 to 8, 8 ounce glasses of water daily which is about a liter. Granted, depending on exercise and activity lever your intake will most likely increase. My recommendation to help you consume enough water is to simply carry a water bottle or big jug with you constantly.
There you have it. 3 non-negotiables you must have in your diet on a daily basis. Begin to be mindful about your micronutrients, fiber and water intake and I bet you start feeling and performing a lot better.