Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Flexible Dieting Made Easy

Nutrition doesn't have to be complicated. I think we try to make things harder on us sometimes. 

"On nutrition: 

Focus on the 80% and ignore the 20. It's not rocket science. 

The pillars are lots of protein, healthy fats, and nutrient dense carbs surrounding your workouts. Supplements are creatine, fish oil, a multi-vitamin, and protein powder. That's it. Some sources are more pure than others and the program isn't perfect but this is an easy plan that everybody can follow and live a healthy and vital life. Oh, that and tons of veggies."

- Johnathan Goodman

Sure, I've tried my best to dissect every single minute aspect of my diet over these past three years. I've been searching endlessly for the perfect combination that would make these final pounds magically disappear. 

Enduring months of plateaus and lots of effort, I've come to the conclusion that my body is stubborn. What worked great in the past isn't cutting it now. Plateaus give you plenty of time to think....time to pick apart your lifestyle trying to figure out how to get where you want to be. 

I've asked the question "Can I realistically live this way for the rest of my life?" Every few months I examine what my diet and lifestyle look like. Is it something I can comfortably continue for years to come? Are the results I'm getting now something I can maintain in five or ten years? 

Calorie restriction, food group elimination, aversions to eating out, obsessing over every single thing you eat, working out for hours each week..... Can you do that every day for the rest of your life? Are you comfortable with what you're doing to your body? If you answered no, I urge you to switch things up! 

I lost weight so that I could live.

I did not lose all this weight so that I could stress out over food, working out, or feeling self conscious. I didn't do this so that I could eat salads every single meal or that I would miss family dinners because it didn't fit my plan. 

In the past I have examined the IIFYM eating approach. At the time, I loved the concept and it made perfect sense. But one thing remained: I was afraid of carbs and adding more calories into my diet. I was terrified of adding those things back and gaining weight. 

After studying for hours on end, I think I'm ready to give it another try. Based on my body's needs, I need a combination of foods with 60 grams of healthy fats, 100 grams of carbs, and 150 grams of protein. However I choose to get there is up to me. But..... those three macronutrients steer you towards better quality foods yet still allow for flexibility. I cannot reach those three goals every day without putting healthy foods into my diet. 

So where do I start? 

The My Fitness Pal app allows me to enter my own macronutrient goals each day. I can use the app each day to guide me until I get the feel for this. This way of eating also forces me to eat more calories. I aim for 1543 per day. When I reach my goal and choose to maintain my current weight, my calorie intake will be around 1929 calories per day. 

Image Via 

Want to calculate your own personal goals? 

You can find the IIFYM calculator HERE! I would recalculate every 10 pounds lost or so. 

I'm also planning to introduce strength training. I want to tone my muscles and work on my overall fitness level. 

I want to aim for 80% whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. And the other 20%, I'm gonna enjoy any way I choose. 


  1. I'm interested to see how you do on this. I've been contemplating doing it myself but not sure where to start.

  2. That tool looks pretty neat!

    I'm curious how you got to a target of 150g of protein a day. Processing excess amounts of protein is taxing on the kidneys -- I'm a bit of a numbers geek and I found that current recommendations are for 10-35% of diet from protein, and I think you're at 39%. That's a lot of chicken breast in a day!

    1. Multiple sites I researched suggested I allow for 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. So that is where the protein number comes from. It is tailored to fit my fitness and nutrition goals. I am a healthy woman with no kidney issues and my body can handle that amount of protein.

      An article from Muscle and Fitness:
      "Q: Is too much protein harmful? If not, what is everyone so worried about?

      A: That's a really good question, for one main reason. There's yet another recommendation the FNB releases: the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the amount of something you can ingest before experiencing negative results (anything from nausea to toxicity, or poisoning). However, and this is important, there is no UL established for protein. Why? Because, as the FNB reports, "There was insufficient data to provide dose-response relationships to establish a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for total protein or for any of the amino acids." See that? They had no proof that eating more protein caused any problems. Dr. Lemon said something similar in the same review we quoted above: "Despite the frequently expressed concern about adverse effects of high protein intake, there is no evidence that protein intakes in the range suggested will have adverse effects in healthy individuals."

      Since you asked, though, we'll tell you why mainstream nutritionists have their boxers in a bunch. First of all, remember that they aren't talking to you, the muscle & fitness reader; they're concerned about the majority of Americans who spend much of their days sitting at desks, on subways or in cars, then sitting in front of the TV for the rest of the night. That's an awful lot of sitting. For those people, consuming excess protein is just like consuming an excess of anything. Protein contains 4 calories per gram. If you eat too many calories, you're going to gain weight, so a primary concern for nutritionists about so-called excessive protein intake is that it could result in obesity.

      Then maybe your next question is something like: Great, so I have to worry about getting fat if I take a week off from training? Not exactly. The more muscle you have, the more protein you'll use and the more calories you'll burn overall. Plus, there's a reason why we tell you to eat lean protein such as chicken and turkey breasts and top sirloin."

      You have to remember, I am working my body. I teach 2 intense hours of Zumba and I attend 2 extra hours of Zumba each week. That's four hours in which I burn anywhere from 800-500 calories per hour. I have started weight training and the increased nutrients will allow my body to recovery properly. If someone were to eat just as I do without all of the activity, I can see how that can be a little much. But you have to take into consideration what exactly I am doing physically. I need the calories, I need the nutrients.

  3. That's a great suggestion! The 80/20 principle, experts say, works well in so many arenas of life :)
    Thanks so much for linking up at Inspired By Me Mondays!! Please come back & share your great posts this week :) (Monday to Friday) http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com

  4. Hi Wendy,
    Healthy weight loss tips are my favorite obsession! Despite the fact that I follow a really healthy diet, losing the last 10-15 pounds that I want to lose has been a real struggle, therefore I am delighted that you shared this helpful flexible dieting post with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party”Blog Hop!



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