Flexible Dieting and Misconceptions


I woke up in the morning with one desire today, which was to anger some fitness gurus, diet doctors and textbook nutritionists. I couldn’t  find a more appropriate topic to reach my desire than *drum rolls* “Flexible Dieting”. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s stir some controversy.

No disrespect, but some of them are responsible for the production of uncountable, unnecessary myths and misconceptions. Let’s give them a few punches before we start. Diet Doctors, my favorites. Oh, how much I LOVE to listen to their clients’ stories.

Actually, most of these doctors depend on your good intentions; the diet’s success will be based on whether you’re a good person or a bad person. For example, Dr. Broccoli may give you a diet that includes “¼ a banana, green salad, green salad again and unlimited quantity of grilled chicken”.

Seriously, what does unlimited quantity of anything mean? That may work for someone with some common sense and won’t fall into the unlimited quantity trap, but what if a client decides to eat three whole grilled chickens? BOOM! He’s pregnant.

Because of similar delusions, I decided to address some today. Hopefully, I will guide you through the dark dieting tunnel.


Bottom Line

Before we proceed, I have to provide an early bottom line to ensure we’re on the same page.

 “Try this magical trick to lose stubborn belly fat!”

 “5 super foods that will remove your fats instantly!”

Such hoaxes have circulated on the Internet since baggy jeans were the shit. The truth is, you are fat not because you eat carbs and have a sweet tooth. Not because you don’t exercise enough. Not because of your genetics and your blood type. You’re fat because you eat more calories than your body requires. Plain and simple. There is no other reason even if Mamdouh Farag told you otherwise when you called.

Let me elaborate. Your body needs food as much as your car needs fuel. But, if you supply your car with more than the required fuel, you will end up with extra stored gas and some spilled on your shoes. Your body is the same; unfortunately, the stored bunch is body fat and some spilled in the toilet.

In this situation, you have two options: You either stop the extra fuel/food supply or start driving faster/exercising like a maniac til you’ve used up all the energy. Sadly, you can’t out exercise a bad diet, so the second option is unreasonable. Option one it is. In order to execute it properly, you have to determine how many calories you need for your goal and activity level.

Someone might wonder “Why all this headache? My sister lost 40KG with Dr. Broccoli and didn’t have to count calories”. I don’t know about you, but I’m an efficient guy. I like to count calories for my clients and myself, instead of giving them a template diet and praying that it might work. I like to ensure that results will begin from Day One.


What is Flexible Dieting?

Simply put: It means that there are no foods that are off-limits. Pizza, ice cream, chocolate, etc. As long as these foods fits your calorie intake and macros, you’ll still be on track. Macros are protein, fats, and carbs, which, when combined together, form your calorie intake.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t promote junk food. I eat “healthy and clean” most of the time, but when I crave a certain food, I eat it. The key is to eat in moderation. Will you lose weight when your whole intake is just two Big Macs in a whole day? Yes. Will your body functions and overall health take a nosedive? Absolutely.

That proves that flexible dieting isn’t about gorging on just junk food that fit your calories. You have to ensure that you have your macros, vitamins and fibers in check from nutritious foods, then incorporate whatever your like if you have some calories left.

People tend to believe that if you eat a bar of chocolate or a slice of pizza, they will automatically be stored as fats. They will only be stored as fats if they are a surplus to your requirements. So stop asking “Will sushi make me fat?” “Is cheese bad?”. You’re the only one who has an answer to such questions, according to what you have already ate or planning to eat during the day.

Another reason why you should count your calories is that just eating “clean” doesn’t mean you will lose weight. People assume that they are allowed to eat as much grilled stuff and brown sandwiches as they want and will still lose weight.

Fun fact:

Pasta w/olive oil + 1 Chicken breast + 1 small cup of Orange juice = ~700 calories

Big Mac + Small Fries = ~700 calories




Meal Timing

“Eating after 6PM will automatically make you fat and will decrease the chances of finding your soul mate”

This misconception is so popular that I once told a guy I eat Snickers daily before bed and I still maintain my body fat percentage. He was so overwhelmed, I had to check his heart rate.

It may sound logical when people assume eating at night causes fat gain, as you don’t expend much energy during this period. But the truth is, your body doesn’t work only on a 24-hour time frame. Your body operates more on a weekly basis and operates on a net balance of your successive actions.

You don’t have to fast when night comes. Eating at night or before bed has nothing to do with your body composition. Eating a meal at 11PM has the same effect as eating at 11AM. So, what really matters is hitting your suitable calorie and macro intake, whenever.


Meal Frequency

“To increase your metabolism, you have to eat 19 meals. One every 1.58 hours.”

“Hurry! You have to drink your protein shake in the golden hour, or else you will go bald.”

Some other classics. Several new pieces of research have written off such statements. Dr. Broccoli believes eating six meals a day is the way to go because of the Thermogenic Effect of Food, which translates into the energy your body exerts to digest the food you ate.

So yeah, it may seem reasonable that when you eat six times a day it will increase metabolism. But, if you ate the same amounts divided only into three meals, your body will exert the same exact amount of energy to digest the food. No difference. Zilch.

I’m not dismissing the science behind pre- and post-workout meals, but if you’re consuming daily the right amount of nutrients, you’re safe. However, if you are not following such a method and you’re not aware of your protein intake, then you should have your protein shake right after your workout in the “golden hour”, because trending diets tend to ignore protein before working out.




Wrap Up

Eating whole wheat products and fruits isn’t enough, people! No wonder why a lot of people say: “I eat healthy, but I don’t lose weight”. You can easily go overboard with your intake without even noticing. Also, you have to track how much protein, fats and carbs you consume, to preserve  muscle mass and ensure that what you lose is only pure fats.

The flexible dieting approach is not a free pass to junk food or unhealthiness. It is a highly efficient method that allows you to embrace dieting as a lifestyle, not as a period of utter misery.

You get to have your proper nutrition, which includes macros, vitamins and fibers, while you have the option to add some of your cravings when you can. I tried several dieting approaches, but, I strongly believe this is most effective and efficient way.

Live a little. Be a strict dieter, not a restricted one. Dieting shouldn’t be torture. It should be an exciting process, where you watch your body entirely transforming only because you’re wiser with your food choices. Lay off the pressure and, from time to time, incorporate your favorite foods without feeling the need to ruin your diet.

In regards to your fitness goals, there are no shortcuts. No free rides. What you put in the grind is what you reap – unless you are of insane genetics and don’t stock up on fats even if you eat everyday like it’s your last day. But, you’re probably of normal genetics and you aren’t that special in that regard, even if your momma said you were.



If you want your flexible personalized meal plan, please email info@trainforaim.com, or call me at 012-7373-7777.

*Credit goes to Alan Aragon, Josef Rakich and IIFYM for some of the info in this article.


WE SAID THIS: Get fit with Omar’s last article, “The Motivation Has Gone Too Soon.