This is a topic that’s been coming up for a lot of you so I really wanted to do a little bit of a deeper dive. What I’m going to explore today is all about flexible dieting.
What do I mean by flexible dieting? Typically, we’ve been programmed that in order to lose weight, get fit, get healthy, we have to follow some particular program be it Keto, Weight Watchers, Whole30, Paleo. There’s some formalized blueprint program that Iâ€™ve got to follow if I want to have any results.
Recently my sister posted on Facebook that she lost 50 pounds and all the comments were, “Girl, what did you do?” And everyone wanted to know what the Holy Grail was, and basically she was like, “Well, my Holy Grail was I stopped drinking wine every night and I started moving my body.” What diet is that? Is that the Kendra? That’s basics for me, as a fitness professional that is fitness 101 – stop eating crap and move your body. Oh my god, I could write a whole book and make millions on that, it’s not rocket science.Â
Break Up With The Plan
My concept of flexible dieting is that you get to break up with “the plan”. Youâ€™ve been marketed to for years, decades about “the plan”. I was recently listening to a podcastÂ All About Fat, and the woman spent five years researching fat, and what I mean by fat is I’m talking about body fat, fat in foods, anything that has to do with fat she spent five years studying it and breaking it down.
If you have looked at any history, if you go back in colonial times if someone was fat, they were wealthy. Fat was something to be aspired to. If we also look back into the 50s and 60s it was very aspirational to be curvy. And then at some point someone said, “You need to be a size two, weigh three pounds and eat grapes all day.” And we all got obsessed with dieting. Which leds us to where we are today obsessed with what â€œdietâ€ program and what plan are you following.
This is what I know – you can follow a plan until the plan doesn’t work, and the plan doesn’t work for a myriad of reasons. This is where flexible dieting comes in. Let me just back up, let’s first do vocabulary.
When I talk about diet, I don’t mean a plan, that’s not what I mean. When I say diet, I’m talking about what you physically put into your mouth, what you are eating; that’s what I’m calling a diet. And so, we need to look at what we’re currently eating before we can make an assessment. It’s like if I were to go to the doctor and say, “These are my symptoms”, that’s exactly what your diet is. Your diet shows me what you are currently eating, because for the most part most of the women I work with eat pretty good. What I mean is you’re eating probably about 70%, and all it takes is a few minor tweaks and you’re going to start to see some of the results.
Pulp Fiction Diet
And we all know the foods that we should be eating a little less of, and we know the foods we should be eating a little more of; that’s not the problem. The problem is we feel like we need to follow this particular train track and this train track is going to lead us to the glory land, the diet mecca.
Have you ever see the movie,Â Pulp Fiction? If you haven’t seen the movie, two guys are looking for this suitcase, and you don’t really know what’s in the suitcase but every time you see the suitcase open it has this glow. And that’s what people are searching for. They’re searching for their diet Pulp Fiction. They’re looking for that glow, that feeling that’s just going to be like, “I made it.” And then guess what?
When you’ve made it, you’ve got to sustain it? That’s where people fall down and that’s where flexible dieting comes in, because flexible dieting is sustainable, flexible dieting is about you. I got some questions for you to answer when you look at a plan or a program. Don’t go for what’s popular. Right now, everyone’s on Keto for days. But for some people eating that much fat is too much; eating that little carb may make you feel like someone ran over you and then backed up three times.
How do you eat?
What are the foods that you like to eat?
What’s your lifestyle?
Because if it’s something that requires you to cook and you’re just like, “That’s not about me”, what’s your budget? Are you having to buy all these magical elixirs, are you going to have to buy high-end things? What does it look like? And how long can you see yourself doing this?
About two years ago I had to go vegan and it was mainly just to clean up my hormones.
I knew it was short-term, but for me
I knew that lifestyle wasn’t sustainable.
I knew I could do it for six months.
I knew that I could totally gut this out for six months. But could I do this for the next 60 years? Oh, hell no! Because for me it was a lot of cooking, and I cook, but I don’t want to have to cook every single meal. And I don’t like tofu, so to go out, it was always like you’re vegan; tofu. No. There’s more to life than tofu for vegans. ðŸ¤¯
So, I need you to answer those questions and be honest with yourself. I want you to look at things as, “Could I do this for the next year? Could I do this for the next five years? Could I do this for the next 10 years?” And if you say no, then that’s not the plan for you.
The All or Nothing Approach
You have to decide what your approach is. When I say, “Hey, what’s your approach?” many people will tell me, “I’m just all or nothing. I’m either on it, or I’m off it.” And I’m like, “How has that served you?” When you are so gung-ho like, “I got to be on this train track to the diet destination, or I’m just sitting on the couch with a straw and a bottle of wine, pass the Ho-Hos and the Goldfish, how has that lifestyle served you where you’re like hardcore, no core, hardcore, no core?
Wouldn’t you want it to be different?
Because I see it, I see it in your faces, I hear it in your voices when you’re just like, “I can’t anymore. I want to be able to go on vacation, I want to be able to walk into my closet, and not stress that those pair pants from last spring are going to fit over my ass.” I want you to have that confidence like, “I’m going to my closet and anything in here is going to fit my ass.”
Think about the potential, how hard is it going be? How much weight are you trying to lose? Will you have to give up foods that you love? What will you need to sustain this? And what are the thoughts that you have as you are reading through the do’s and the don’ts, what are your thoughts? Because at the end of the day a lot of people are knowledge brokers, they can take in all the knowledge, they can listen to information, they can listen to podcasts, they can watch all the YouTube videos and take all the notes, analyze till next Thursday, but still not take the action.
The action is where the rubber meets the road, and until I actually take that big step back and I analyze what I am doing and then decide where I want to go, I can’t take action. And I find that a lot of people, and I’ve talked about this, you’ve got to set goals, and you have to be not afraid to set goals because I get it, you may have disappointed yourself in the past.
Have I hit every goal I’ve ever set? Heck no, not at all. But I know the pain of me being in the same place again and again and again and running into the same wall over and over again, bugs the fuck out of me. And I don’t want to be in that position, so whenever I do miss my goal, I ask myself why, and I don’t beat myself up, I give myself the grace and I say, “Did I bite off more than I could chew? Was there something else going on in my life that I couldn’t give it the focus? And I try to give myself that grace, give myself that space to focus.
Work the Plan
Back in the day I will admit I’d be like, “You suck, you’re stupid, you can’t ever do it.” And where did that get me? Nowhere. So, I took a step back. If you can’t take that step back, that’s why you work with a coach or an accountability partner because they could be that third party to be like, “Okay girl, here’s where you give yourself that grace. Here’s where you give yourself that space, that time so that you can do a CSI.”
You’ve watched the show – they come in, dead body on the floor, and they piece together, “Okay, the broken lamp, so she must have fallen here, someone must have walked in there.” We all know, and that’s what you do. Before you get into action you kind of say, “This is where I’ve been, this is where I want to go, and we’re going to piece together the plan in order for you to get there.” But I don’t want you to just plan the plan, I want you to plan to say, “I got to move my tushy.”
On a Scale of 1 to 10â€¦
Here is where I like to keep it simple; I like to make my action plan really simple. So, for me to assess where you are, for me to assess where I am, is what I’m currently eating, my diet, am I hungry? On a scale of one to ten where ten means I’m going to eat my arm to zero being I’m stuffed to the gills, where am I? The second thing is how is my energy? Do I feel like woo-hoo all day long, or do I feel like I’m crashing and burning? Do I feel like I’m always wanting to take a nap? Am I living off of coffee? Where am I? And the same thing, zero meaning I’m bouncing off the walls; ten meaning I’m almost at a coma. Where are you when it comes to your energy? And then cravings, are you in the place that you’re craving? Zero being like every craving is knocking on the door and you’re white-knuckling it; ten, what cravings? I don’t know what those are, I don’t have any.Â
Those are the first three questions that I ask, then I go into non-food questions. Sleep, are you sleeping? And are you getting quality sleep? Some people will tell me, “Yeah, I sleep six hours.” But then they’ll tell me, “Well, I go to the bathroom and then I’m up for an hour after I go to the bathroom, or I toss and turn so I’m not really getting a good night’s sleep.” Are you moving? I’ve talked about this before. I wear a Fitbit because I really want to make sure that I’m getting in my 10,000 steps, so are you? Some people work out and then they sit at the desk all day long and that’s it, their only movement is to get up and go to the bathroom. Are you moving? And then what’s your stress level? Are you like again on that zero to ten, zero meaning people are like, “Girl, are you alive?” to like, “You’re running around with your hair on fire.” Where are you? Because all of these factors will weigh heavily into what you’re taking in for your diet.
And if you noticed, most of my questions weren’t about are you eating this superfood? Are you eating that vegetable? It wasn’t about that. Itâ€™s like in this moment in time, is what you’re eating serving you based on this base level of criteria? And I’ve seen it all over the interwebs, and you see it too, the questions like, “What’s the best fat burning food? What’s the best sugar-free food? How do you feel about protein ice cream? How do I feel about [insert the question]?”
Do those questions inspire you to take action? Or do they ask you to ask more questions and not take the action? That’s the question I have for you. If my questions do not inspire, then I need to ask better questions. My boyfriend, Tony Robbins, always says ask better questions and you’ll get better answers.
Get Into Action
When I’m in that action phase I’m all about what is it going to take for me to move my feet? What is it going to take for me to go from what I know I want to where I want to go? And then I’ve got to say, “What are the results? Is my current diet yielding my results?” If my goal is to lose my belly, boost my booty, have more energy, dump my cravings, is what I’m eating doing that? For me, I was eating clean for years. If you looked at my nutrition you’d be like, “Oh my gosh, you eat great.” And I was eating great, but for some reason I hit a plateau, I hit a wall and I couldn’t do more.
We all go on vacation and you want to take off those last few pounds before you go on vacation, and that was me, I just wanted to get a little tighter, and for some reason I’m like, “I can’t do it.” And I had someone look over my shoulder, I was like, “What am I doing wrong?” Because for yourself you can’t be the voice of reason because you’re like, “I’m awesome, I’m doing amazing.” Or you’re like, “I suck, I’m doing horrible.” You can’t have that middle ground like, “Well girl, this is what you need to do.” Most of us can’t do that with ourselves.
So, I had a third party look over my shoulder, and for the most part I was eating great, but I was eating too much for what I was doing, so I needed to tweak some of my choices. And that’s what I find with a lot of clients is that they need to tweak some of their choices, so maybe it’s not having two chia waffles, there’s nothing wrong with chia waffles, they’re great, but maybe instead of having two in a meal you bring it down to one and you add in some cottage cheese. It’s those kinds of yin and yang, that give and take of that.
If you noticed, I didn’t follow a plan, I had to step back and had to be flexible in my approach. So, it was like focus on making sure that my choices weren’t over the top. And when you break up with the right and the wrong and you see what foods feel right for you.
Whatâ€™s Good For the Gooseâ€¦
I believe I’ve talked about this before, but just in case – I’ve had a client who’s like, “I’m just starting to feel bloated and just horrible after I eat.” And I said, “That could be anything, so what I need for you to do is keep a log, and every time you feel bloated, I’d love for you to write down when. Every time you eat a meal, I just want you to just ask the question, “Do I feel bloated?” Over the course of a few weeks she was logging, and she found out that it was coconut oil. You read all over the interwebs, coconut oil is thebomb.com and three times on Sunday. But for her coconut oil wasn’t thebomb.com. For some reason there was something in coconut oil and her that no bueno.
So think about if I break up with the good food/bad food list and just focus on how I feel. For me, I can’t eat eggs. Scrambled egg whites, if I were to eat scrambled egg whites, I’m like, “So, what’s next?” 20 minutes later I’m like, “And what’s next?” It’s the ultimate protein, super healthy, there’s nothing wrong with egg whites; they just don’t do anything for me. Other people they’re like, “Oh my god, egg whites, I love them. I can make out with them.” But for me I’m like, “Yeah, I’m good, I’ll pass.” And I want to like them, but my body just metabolizes them too fast then my next meal needs to be like almost immediate.
Track Your Progress
If you aren’t tracking your food, start tracking. I know it’s a pain in the rump shaker, but the beauty of nowadays is that there are apps on your phone, hand write it, just keep it simple. And if you need a third party to look over your shoulder and see what’s going on, hit me up. You can always find me her and shoot me an email.
The reason why many of us follow a plan versus kind of taking the approach I talked about, seeing what our diet is and figuring out where the extras are, because most of us have extras that we can start to curtail back, we also can look and see if there are things that we should add in.
Most people probably aren’t eating as many vegetables as they should be, or aren’t eating as many good fats, or probably aren’t getting in as much protein as they should. But what happens is we all want certainty, we want to know that if I do what you say it’s going to work like a charm, it’s going to work as advertised, and unfortunately with nutrition we’re all bio individuals, what’s going to work for me isn’t going to work for the guy that just walked by on the street, that isn’t going to work for the woman who is walking next to me. We all have different needs and different tweaks that need to be made in order to satisfy our own individual metabolism.
So, the certainty I give you is that if you take the time to figure out how your body works, you’ll never diet a day in your life; I know that for certain. So, what you need to do is explore the alternatives to dieting, because certainty, as I’ve said before, comes from asking better questions, and the better questions aren’t the good food/bad food list, or “Can I have this?” list.
We are all grown ass women. And I want you to think about whatever program you’re looking at, can you afford it for a long period of time, not just for 30 days, not just for 10 days, can you afford it for a year? Does this limit you? Do you have negotiability in it? I know for me I have one non-negotiable, actually two non-negotiables in my nutrition. My one non-negotiable is I will fist fight you over coffee. I’m just not going to give that up. I’m going to have coffee, and if my results slow because I’m having coffee, so be it. The second thing is I want to at least be able to once a week go out to dinner and not eat like a jerk, but go out and not be like, “Does it have this in it?”, not interrogate the chef and pretty much go in the kitchen and make my own meal, because been there, done that, and I don’t want that t-shirt anymore. Those are my two non-negotiables.
Unconventional Switch Up
When I first started this whole flexible dieting, I was like that’s what I’m going to build my nutrition around. And then I said those are my fun things that’s going to make my life sane. Then I said, “What is nutritionally going to help me long-term?” And one of the things nutritionally I put in there was that I wanted to make sure I got in all my vegetables, and so in order to get all my vegetables, every single day I have a giant salad right. And that salad always varies depending on the season. So, I change the salad green that I use.
I change up if it’s carrots or if it’s cabbage or it’s red cabbage. Sometimes I have broccoli slaw. I always make sure that there’s something new in the mix every single week to give myself that variety I need, but I’m also getting a ton of vegetables in there.
I want you to think about as you kind of try to wrap your head around this whole flexible dieting, what are the things that aren’t on everyone’s diet list? So, maybe you need to have two squares of chocolate every day. Maybe once a week you need to have a mocha from your favorite coffee shop. I don’t know what it is, but we all need to have those one or two things that keep us sane.
Then, we need to have that balance, that moderation. We need to have that one or two things that you know are healthy and sustainable. My salad – I can have a salad anywhere on this planet, maybe Antarctica might be a stretch, but most places on this planet I can go in and order a salad with some type of protein on it and be happy as a clam. So, I want you to think about that.Â
And also, as you’re looking at nutrition, are you somebody that’s going to meal prep? Or do you have to meal prep, or can you pull together pieces to create that meal prep program? And does it require a certain amount of workouts? There is this new workout, I can’t remember the name of it, and someone was asking about it where it requires you to work out two times a day for 45 minutes each round, so for 90 minutes. Well, back in the day I used to work out two hours, that was my bare minimum, and if I didn’t work out two hours, why work out? But now I’m like, “45 minutes two times a day, oh kill me.” That’s just not in my wheelhouse. I can give you 45 minutes, no problem, but 45 minutes two times a day, oh heck no, that ain’t happening.
So, I need you to be honest with yourself, and I’m not talking like 30 days. Who can’t do anything for 30 days? I’m saying give me a year. Look at it on a long horizon and look for a year, and if you’re ready for an alternative to diet, ready to really look at this flexibility, I’ve created a report, The Four Alternatives to Dieting, you can find that on my website it’s .Â