It’s important to find balance & most importantly, a healthy relationship with food in order to find sustainability.
Nobody is going to debate that wholesome, unprocessed foods are going to be far more beneficial for your body in comparison to processed junk – surely that is common sense. That being said, I am a believer in moderation. I believe in balance & in sustainability. That is why I preach flexible dieting principles & non-restrictive eating practices.
The main argument FOR flexible dieting is in the longevity & sustainability of being able to fit some of your favourite foods into your diet on the odd occasion whilst remaining on track & within your daily calorie, macro, micro & fibre requirements. After all, everybody should be able to earn themselves a chocolate bar or a donut after a tough workout if they so choose.
I know when I first began really watching what I ate, that having the option of eating something I once considered ‘naughty’ or ‘unclean’ without having to worry about it affecting my ultimate goal would have been life changing. Originally, I had a very poor relationship with food. I was lead to believe that there were certain foods that would mysteriously inhibit fat-loss & magically promote fat-gain. As such, I kept my diet ‘clean’, relatively fresh & unprocessed & avoided all forms of junk food for the most part.
When I had my game face on, I was the man. But when a little crack appeared, my game came crashing down in tremendous style. I was the stereotypical binge eater – & frustratingly it halted my progress in the gym. I would go several weeks eating perfectly (well – what I thought to be perfect at the time) before coming home one day & eating a pantry full of food. I didn’t know what to do. I needed to find balance & most importantly, a healthy relationship with food in order to find sustainability.
Flexible dieting, I believe, offers the healthiest possible relationship with food considering the lack of restriction involved. Allowing yourself the flexibility to eat some birthday cake or have a drink with friends shouldn’t leave you guilt ridden or in jeopardy of destroying days or weeks of hard work in the gym. Putting your mind at ease by learning how to incorporate balance & healthy moderation can genuinely set you free from your diet, as I have since learned. Avoiding specific foods or food groups without a rational reason is one of the defining characteristics of orthorexia nervosa, & is common in people with binge eating disorders & anorexia. People who hinder themselves with rigid dietary rules tend to have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight – remember; food doesn’t make people fat – people make people fat by overeating, which is why a healthy training & nutrition plan should complement your lifestyle, NOT dictate it. I’ll be the first to admit that my life was being dictated by my ridiculous diet. Not anymore.