I can say with 100% confidence that flexible dieting saved my life...
In 2013 I was 300lbs, depressed and desperate for change. Training was never a hard sell to me, I grew fascinated with lifting weights after watching a string of awesome superhero movies and always knew the importance of cardio. However, nutrition threw me for a loop. I had tried a lot of diets and could barely get through a week of dieting without failing, caving into cravings and soon giving up altogether.
I wanted to be in shape! I wanted to look good!...But I couldn’t give up junk food. I didn’t want to have to cook every meal. I was a student at the time and barely functioning as a human being. I commuted to school, I regularly commuted for performing opportunities with the local opera company and I was a delivery driver just trying to pay my bills. My life was in a car, fast food was everywhere, and I had a paper thin will.
For years all I ever heard was “you can’t lose weight if you eat junk food.” “You should eat chicken, broccoli, and brown rice!” “Low carb!” “Low fat!” “Paleo!” “If you can’t quit eating cookies you don’t DESERVE to be in shape!” "Just eat healthy!"
As a fellow who used to be VERY overweight, I can genuinely say that many people who have never known what it’s like to be skinny listen to people who are thinner, who are stronger, have some muscle tone on their body and take their word as gospel. I was desperate enough that I asked many people how to get into shape and looked up even more information online. The amount of contradicting information was both staggering and paralyzing. I had no idea who to believe and I was convinced that I was going to be a fat kid forever…Thank God for persistence.
During a stint of aggressive dieting brought about by a series of significant life events I discovered the online fitness community that was slowly building. I soon began to realize the importance of understanding calories and how to count them. Suddenly my weight loss took off. I was able to eat things like Braum’s junior cheeseburgers with chicken fingers and as long as I stayed within my calorie limits I was able to continuously lose weight.
I was elated! I thought I had beaten the system! I was going to lose weight and do so while eating junk food. And so I did for many months, I ate junk food and I lost weight! Plenty of weight, too! 60lbs!
But eventually the progress halted. My calories got low and so did my energy. I wasn’t able to fit as many cheese burgers or cookies into my diet without being starved by the end of the day. I could feel my will slipping. I had to find a new way...
As an actor who had developed a decent looking body (when covered by a t-shirt), I was looking for that extra edge to get into FANTASTIC shape. To be that much more marketable, that much more confident and do something more than just not be obese. I wanted to do go from being really fat to looking like a friggin’ underwear model.
The obstacle keeping me from getting very lean was my need for self torture. I was in the mindset that I needed to eat horrible tasting, low calorie foods for 6-7 days at a time and then destroy my body with a cheat day that could rival Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s to satisfy all of my cravings. This epic cheat day left me feeling guilty, bloated, and completely disgusted with myself. I was so displeased that I began fasting after every cheat day for 24 hours.
This was obviously not conducive to a very flexible lifestyle. Nor did it lend itself to an enjoyable lifestyle. Something had to give: my will or my idea of dieting.
Thank God for dieting pioneers like Layne Norton, Alan Aragon, Lyle McDonald and the coaches of 3DMJ (Alberto Nunez, Eric Helms, Jeff Alberts, Brad Loomis.) These individuals in their own pursuits of obtaining fantastic physiques (or getting their client’s fantastic physiques) while keeping their sanity, they looked to find a way to create balance and flexibility. And thus, flexible dieting was born.
Suddenly people were able to eat poptarts, ice cream, and cereal and still get shredded, all while preserving large quantities of their muscle mass. At first I assumed what many assume: Genetics and Drugs. I couldn’t eat like that and get into great shape. I NEEDED cheat days. But, slowly, the more I read and the more I researched, the braver I became and I finally reached that incredible level of leanness I had desired.
And now with this book, I’ll not only show you what flexible dieting is, but I will show you how to use it to maximize it to best match your goals and life. In other words, I will show you how to…
Obtain the body you want, eat the food you want to eat, live the life you want to live.
What is flexible dieting?
Flexible Dieting is not a diet - it’s a nutritional guideline. You have a daily calorie, macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat), and fiber target to hit. As long as those specific numbers are achieved, then the foods you choose to fill in those numbers with is up to you!
Macronutrients (macros) are composed of the following:
When someone says “I don’t do macros” when talking about dieting, they should realize that they are being idiotic. We are ALL doing "macros" because macronutrients are the makeup of all of our food. The types of foods we choose to hit that number should be a matter of what you like to eat, how that food makes you feel, and your goals with your diet.
Flexible dieting operates under the basic rule of calories in versus calories out. So regardless of the percentages or amounts of the macronutrients you prefer, we must be within our allotted calories. Otherwise we won’t be making steps towards our goals, whether it be muscle growth, fat loss or basic maintenance
Each macronutrient yields a certain amount of calories:
1 gram of Protein = 4 calories
1 gram of Carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of Fat = 9 calories
200 grams of protein: 200 x 4 = 800 calories
250 grams of carbs: 250 x 4 = 1000 calories
65 grams of fat: 65 x 9 = 585 calories
800 + 1000 + 585 = 2385 total calories
Although this template could be applied to any diet, the diet style that I will recommend and show you how to construct proficiently is a High Protein, High fiber diet with carbs and fats on a sliding scale. In my professional opinion I believe this to be the most effective method for muscle growth, fat loss, and diet adherence. In a moment I will show you how to find your personalized calorie and macronutrient numbers, but first let’s discuss food choices...
As a fitness professional I am obligated to tell you to eat whole, minimally processed foods. Single ingredient foods, organic foods, foods that come from plants and animals that aren’t tainted by hormones or pesticides. And for the most part I truly believe a person will see the absolute best results when they consume foods that fit the above descriptions. However, I also live in the real world and understand that life isn’t so simple and that these foods aren’t always available, especially if you have a demanding job or lifestyle. And even some of these terms “organic” “Whole Foods” “minimally processed” are up for debate. Arguing what foods are the BEST for you is not just counter productive, it’s futile.
So, Let’s get this straight: I Don’t Care. Not to say that I’m an uncaring person, but I truly do NOT care what kind of food you choose to eat. Your food choices are yours and yours alone. If you’re a vegetarian, that’s fantastic! If you’re a vegan, great for you! If you choose to eat a diet based around the paleo ideals, sounds good, boss. Whatever makes you choose the food you want to eat, whether it be an emotional or political ideal, or simply something that makes you feel the best, it does not matter to me. What matters to me are the numbers. The numbers are what will get you results and what can be the most consistent while still allowing you flexibility.
To quote one of my favorite movies, The Legend of 1900:
“Take piano: keys begin, keys end. You know there are 88 of them. Nobody can tell you any different. They are not infinite. You're infinite... And on those keys, the music that you can make... is infinite. I like that. That I can live by…”
The same can be said about calories and macronutrients. You have a certain amount of numbers, but the combination of those numbers is infinite. The variety of foods you can eat and STILL be on your diet is infinite. That, my friends is flexible dieting, and that’s a diet I can live by.