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Flexible Dieting 101

For every new client, I ask the words “What are your non-negotiables?”

Almost every single time, I see the words “I want to be successful, but I also want to keep my social life” or “I’m worried I won’t be able to stick to it on the weekends” or “I want to keep date night, girls’ night, or family dinners out.”

In fact, my favorite one I received yesterday was “I need to eat out about 1- 2 times a week with the family.... mama needs someone else to cook sometimes.” I mean mama is right! Someone else DOES need to cook sometimes.

Do you relate? Have you avoided dieting because you feared it would prevent you from nights out with friends? Do you find that weekends just destroy you despite all your efforts Monday through Friday to stay on track?

And all of that is okay!!

If your answer is yes, you need flexible dieting.

Flexible dieting follows the “if it fits your macros” trend. It provides the freedom and leniency to your diet to keep your diet sustainable for years to come. It lets you fit things like pizza, booze, burgers, fries, cake, and ice cream into your diet plan so that you’re not binging too much and still able to enjoy some life.

That’s right, you can have your cake and eat it too and STILL lose weight.

“My diet worked until life took over” is the sign you weren’t on the right diet. Why? Because your nutrition should take into consideration your life and should allow flexibility so that you can stay adherent even when life gets crazy (both good crazy and bad crazy).

This is my issue with fad diets. They force you on one path and you get it in your head that you can’t ever deviate from it…which makes living life pretty damn hard. Paleo is one of the greatest diets out there…until you want to eat some cake at your birthday. The Keto diet has some amazing benefits and works for a ton of people…until they have a few “keto beers” and just want a large pepperoni pizza just because.

OR you struggle with what I have struggled with personally: FOMO and spontaneous plans. You have your weekly plan set and ready to go…then your significant other surprises you with a date night or you get to Friday and hate what you have planned for dinner or your friends text you at the last minute to meet you at a bar for National Margarita Day. What do you do? You do the damn date night, you change up your meals at the last minute, and you sure as hell celebrate National Margarita Day with some live country music and margs.

Why? Because you are a human being who should embrace the fun of life and not let your diet prevent you from seeking joy and living with regret.

Remember your “why”

Are you on this Earth to be as shredded and as miserable as possible? No. There is a time and place for restrictive eating. If you’re weeks away from the CrossFit Games or the Olympics or some big event that demands your top shape and performance, then yes eating clean 100% of the time is recommended. You need to steer clear from booze and sugar.

But most of us aren’t Games athletes or Olympians despite our hopes and dreams when we were 12 years old.

We’re human beings who are meant to connect with other human beings. We’re social. We’re whimsical. Nothing we do is ever linear or 100% planned out.

Your diet should provide flexibility so you can be a social human being living your life while also loving the body that you’re in.

It also requires that you stop beating yourself up when you do embrace the flexibility within your diet. Life will go on. All you need to do is free yourself from the mental prison you’ve locked yourself in so that you can enjoy life and the food that’s in it.

Alright, great. So how do I do it?

All food, junk food and clean food, has nutritional content. They all have protein, fats, and carbs. You have two general ways to make these fit within your diet.

Scenario #1. Fit it into the daily prescription

You plan a night out with some friends Friday evening (maybe even Saturday) or plan on going out to eat with some friends or family.

What you will do is plan ahead where you’re going and what you’re going to eat/drink. Log it into MyFitnessPal or whatever tracking app you’re using. Then restructure your eating that day to fit this night out within your macro plan.

Instead of eating 4-5 meals that day, you’re probably going to eat 2-3. If you’re a fan of intermittent fasting, this is a great place to implement it. Fast and eat your first meal around 12 or 2pm. You can break the fast with a protein shake in the morning to reduce hunger/cravings. If you’re not into fasting, then don’t worry (I’m not either, so don’t feel out of place – girl has got to eat). Eat a breakfast and/or lunch full of lean protein and veggies so that you’re 1. Getting your micronutrients in and staying healthy and hydrated and 2. Backloading your fats and carbs to the evening so your burger or pizza or booze fits in your plan. Then stick to that plan as best as you can. If you’re planning on 2 drinks, space them out so you’re still drinking for the entirety of the evening but sticking to two drinks. Don’t chug your drinks, then decide it’s time to drink 5 more.

This one requires a bit more planning. I encourage you to do this on a weekly basis. Every week, you should be enjoying some sort of treat or meal that keeps you happy and adherent to your diet.

Sometimes though, life can’t be predicted, and spontaneous nights out pop out from nowhere. If this is the case, then follow Scenario #2.

Scenario #2. Fit into the weekly prescription

For the sake of convenience and overall general health, I always recommend eating the same number of calories and macros each day.

This changes when it comes to fitting in some spontaneous nights out or random excursions. Remember, we’re human beings. Nothing is ever the same. Nothing flows easily 100% of the time.

Let’s bring back those spontaneous examples: surprise date night, end of week meal blues, nothing sounds good, and want to change it up, or a last-minute night out for National Margarita Day.

It’s hard to plan these ones out, and you shouldn’t have to. Plan what you can ahead of time and let the rest fall into place…meaning live a little.

Remember the mantra, calories in = calories out? Yep we’re bringing this one back because that’s what matters…and it doesn’t have to be just one day where it applies.

Say you eat 2,000 calories/day? That’s 14,000 calories/week. That’s MUCH easier to adjust after a spontaneous night out.

You go out on a Friday evening without a plan and end up eating 2,500 calories instead of 2,000. What do you do? Go back to the mantra. Simply take those 500 calories from future days. Either eat 1500 calories the next day or 1750 the following two days. Or if you can plan a little bit, 1750 the day before and 1750 the day after.

As a coach, I love this portion of it because THIS is what sets my approach apart from the others. You are not a one-size fits all and I don’t let your nutrition be that.

If you are an individual who loves going out and splurging on the weekend, then I get to adjust your nutrition to factor that in, so you don’t have to feel like you’re not making progress or feeling like garbage. In those cases, I give the client two higher calorie days over the weekend by taking calories from other days in the week. The net weekly intake is the same no matter what, and THAT is what matters.

This is why meal plans and templates don’t work. This is why fad diets don’t work…unless you simply follow the idea of a fad diet but allow for the flexibility (which is just what I do as a coach). If someone simply took your money and gave you a template based on your age, weight, and height, then they did you a disservice because you are a human being who deserves to live life to the fullest.

If you’re ready to come off your generic plan and find an approach that works for YOU, then apply here for coaching so you can start living your life without regret.

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