Flexible Dieting For Success: A Macro Based Diet Plan
Are you tired of following super restrictive diets that leave you feeling unsatisfied, frustrated, and confused? There are so many diets out there, and it can be hard to know what is best for you. We believe that diets shouldn't deprive you, which is exactly why Kroma is designed to help reset the body by flooding it with all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Any eating plan should build you up, provide you with proper nutrition, and leave you feeling healthier.
One plan that may be a good fit for you if you want more flexibility is called “flexible dieting.” Instead of eliminating foods or following a strict menu and schedule, it gives you the flexibility of eating what you like, as long as you stick to a few key guidelines involving your total daily energy expenditure and macros.
Read on to learn all about flexible dieting, how to start this plan for better body composition, and what foods help keep you at your healthiest, while still maintaining flexibility. We will also explain how you can customize Kroma's delicious, instant, whole food products while following flexible dieting.
What Is Flexible Dieting?
Flexible dieting is a way to bring more variety into your diet while still getting key micronutrients.
Instead of following a strict dieting plan of specific foods you can or cannot eat, flexible dieters eat based on total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and macronutrient intake (macros).
- Your TDEE is the number of calories your body needs for its energy levels.
- Macros are the major nutrients you eat, and they give you the most energy.
Flexible dieting is all about eating within these guidelines, without being overly restricting on “good” foods and “bad” foods. Do you want to eat pizza for dinner? As long as it is within your proper amount of calories and macro guidelines, bon appetit!
(Of course, within reason — we love a pizza once in a while but Kroma Wellness is all about eating to nourish yourself for both today’s cravings and tomorrow’s health!)
Does Flexible Dieting Really Work?
Eating what you want during the day while still supporting a healthy weight sounds too good to be true, right? Well, you may be correct. If you take your TDEE, let’s say it’s 2400, and all you eat are 12 donuts, a pack of pop tarts, and other various servings of junk food throughout the day totaling 2400 calories, you are likely not going to see the results you are looking for. In fact, you will likely experience unwanted weight gain.
As always, no matter what diet you choose, it is important to eat a diet that is full of whole, nutrient-dense foods, and this holds true for flexible dieting.
The luxury of flexible dieting is that one meal that may not be the healthiest option is not going to derail all of your weight loss progress. As long as it falls within your individual guidelines, keep on moving. There is no need to be hard on yourself for a more comforting meal here and there.
No diet is one size fits all. This is even true for flexible dieting. However, there are a lot of ways to customize this diet plan to fit your needs. If you follow specific lifestyles like vegan or vegetarian, you can still use this plan. If you are looking for a way to lose weight, this philosophy is definitely worth a try.
What Are Macros?
Using flexible dieting to support a healthy weight requires an understanding of macros. Macros are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These essential nutrients provide life-sustaining compounds — each of the different macros is important in its own right.
When deciding on how many of each macro you need during the day, it is important to look at your unique needs — someone hitting the gym every day will have different needs than the weekend cycling warrior.
Once you have decided on your optimal distribution, you can either track your macro intake by hand in a journal, or you can use one of many apps out there to help you track your macros.
Protein intake is incredibly important for the body. Every single cell in your body needs you to consume protein. Protein allows your body to make new cells, build muscle, repair damaged cells, and sustain a healthy metabolic rate. 10 to 35% of your daily calories should come from protein.
For a long time, carbs have been the enemy in many diet plans, when in fact, nutrient-dense, high-fiber carbs are the best primary energy source for your body. They provide energy for major organs in your body and serve as the fuel for virtually all your cells’ functions. You should aim for 45 to 65% of your daily caloric intake to be from carbs.
Fat was in the hot seat for quite a while. With more research being done on healthy diets, we have learned that fat is not the enemy. Certain fats are not ideal, like trans fats and saturated fats, but healthy fats like the omegas and C15:0 are key to a well-functioning metabolic and hormonal system.
Fats provide energy to the body and help support cell function. They also help to absorb certain nutrients, make certain hormones, and support hair and skin health. When thinking about how much fat to consume, it should be about 20 to 35% of your caloric intake.
How Can I Get Started With Flexible Dieting?
Before you can begin flexible dieting, you need to calculate your TDEE, which is the amount of energy you use during the day. That number is the number of calories you would need to consume during the day to meet the energy needs of your body.
To calculate this number, you first must find out what your energy expenditure is without physical activity. Here is the equation for that:
- For women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) - (5 x age in years) - 161
- For men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) - (5 x age in years) + 5
Once that number is calculated, it is then multiplied by your activity level.
- Sedentary: 1.2
- Light activity (1-3 days of light exercise): 1.375
- Moderate activity (3-5 days of moderate exercise): 1.55
- Very active (6-7 days of intense exercise): 1.725
When these two numbers are multiplied, you have your TDEE. This is the number of calories you would eat to maintain your weight. If you are looking to lose weight, you would need to reduce your caloric intake by about 500 calories a day.
Once you know your caloric intake for the day, you can then distribute your macros.
What Kinds of Food Should I Focus On?
When you use flexible dieting, the goal is not to be overly restricting. Life happens, and it is comforting to know that having a mimosa and pastry at brunch won't completely derail your diet.
That being said, keeping a focus on whole foods can help you be your healthiest and hit your desired goals sooner and more sustainably.
One way to help reset your diet before you start the flexible diet plan is with the Kroma Wellness Deluxe 5-Day Lifestyle Reset. During these five days of delicious, instant, superfood-based foods and beverages, you’ll focus on healthful, whole foods. After the five days are finished, you can purchase your favorite Daily Essentials from the Kroma reset to add to your flexible diet plan.
Lean Sources of Protein
With protein being a macro, it is important that you are consuming your daily requirement. When deciding on which proteins to eat, try to stick with lean sources of protein like poultry or chicken, white fish, tofu, and beans. If you prefer beef, look for lean beef. Beef is known for being high in saturated fats, which are not healthy.
When looking for healthy fats, stick to monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fats and trans fats, these good fats can be beneficial for heart health, maintaining ideal cholesterol levels, and supporting overall health. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and good quality olive or avocado oil are great sources.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a specific type of fat that is essential to our body, but our body can't make it on its own. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish, seaweed, chia seeds, OMG Cookie Butter and other nuts and seeds.
Grains contain all three macros. While they are the highest in carbs, they can also help you reach your other macro goals. When deciding on the healthiest grain, look for gluten-free whole grains.
Whole grains have not been processed to remove the outer layer of the grain, which often contains all of the good nutrients of the grain. Eating gluten-free grains may help reduce inflammation. Buckwheat, quinoa, millet, brown rice, and amaranth are all naturally gluten-free whole grains.
Fiber is important for maintaining energy throughout the day, as well as supporting gut health. For women, aim for 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, and for men, aim for 30 to 38 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is a part of the carbohydrates group. You can find fiber in grains, beans, berries, and certain vegetables, like leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Super Porridge contains 18% of your daily fiber needs.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
While macros are super important, so are all the other nutrients your body needs, like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with these nutrients.
At Kroma, our favorite fruits are nutrient-dense superfood berries like blackberries and blueberries. They're strong with phytonutrients and fiber while also being lower in naturally-occurring sugars.
Flexible dieting takes away the old-school mentality of restriction when it comes to dieting, giving you more flexibility while still helping you meet your weight goals. Like any diet plan, it may not be right for everyone, but there are ways to tweak this diet to your individual needs.
Before you get started with flexible dieting, you first have to calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and macros. There are easy calculations you can do to find your individual needs.
Once you have those guidelines, you can work to eat what you want to meet your needs, however, you should try and stick to a whole food diet as much as you can. A diet full of lean protein, healthy fats, gluten-free grains, fiber, fruits, and vegetables can help you reach your weight loss and health goals while still nourishing your body.
When it comes to any diet plan, change can be difficult. That is where Kroma comes in. With our 5-Day Lifestyle Reset, you can reset your body with mouth-watering, whole foods that are shelf-stable and easy to add into any routine — no extra prep work or long trips to the grocery store. Now that’s flexible.
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High-fiber foods | Mayo Clinic
Efficacy of dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acid pentadecanoic acid parallels broad associated health benefits in humans: could it be essential? | Scientific Reports