Try It Tuesday: Being Flexible, As Long As You Have the Time

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I was happy to be assigned the Flexible Diet for our office diet challenge. What can be so hard about something that begins with “flexible”? I got the easiest one…or so I thought until I started reading about it. As it turns out, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can eat, as long as “it fits your macros.” The first step was determining my optimal macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) ratio based on age, height, weight, and a few other factors. The ratio is directly related to total calories consumed and can help you lose, maintain, or gain weight based on your final goal. There are formulas you can follow, but I like taking the efficient route. I found a macro calculator and a few minutes later I was ready to start my one-week journey. Here are my takeaways:

Counting Macros is Not an Easy Job

Counting macros instead of calories proved to be a little harder than I thought. I probably would have given up if it weren’t for the plurality of apps that come to the rescue. After trying out a few calorie counting apps, I settled on one that proved most user friendly to me. It helped me log meals, snacks, beverages, exercise and it displayed a beautiful pie chart of my macro ratio, allowing me to adjust my intake of certain nutrients throughout the day.

It can be Time Consuming but Informative

Taking time to log everything you eat can be time consuming, particularly when you have to input something like Zhengzhou Pearl bubble tea. I ended up having to search for the information online and create a new entry in the app. It turned out to be a useful exercise, as I learned there are 400 calories in bubble tea (a mix of black tea, fruit syrup, tapioca pearls and milk). I will gladly have it as a dessert next time!

It is Helpful for Spotting Diet Trends

Once I got used to logging everything I ate and drank, it became easier to spot trends. The pattern that I needed to adjust was low protein intake. By consciously deciding to add a few protein charged snacks throughout the day (eggs, edamame/soy beans, mixed nuts, hummus, yogurt, cheese, tuna and crackers) my macro ratio was finally in balance.

Flexible dieting is definitely not for everyone, but for those who like keeping a food diary and knowing with precision their nutrient intake it might be worth a try. Happy eating!