The word “diet” is associated with hunger, restriction, self-denial and pain. The agony of watching someone else eat a slice of chocolate cake while contenting yourself with a few Wheat Thins is a feeling many of us can relate to. A big no thank you to such diet plans, right? Instead, what if you ate what you wanted and lost weight, just by following a few simple rules? Sure, this sounds like every diet ever, but it’s quite different. The basic concept behind flexible dieting is that your body has basic requirements for a) total energy and b) types of nutrient. So long as you stick to those, your diet will help you lose weight and build muscle, resulting in the body you want. Sound complicated? Let’s break down how the flexible diet plans actually work.

How A Flexible Diet Plans Work

1. If It Fits Your Macro

The body needs three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also needs a certain amount of calories to maintain your energy levels while allowing you to lose weight. You can get the second number at sites such as TDEE Calculator, which formulates the number of calories you need each day based on height, weight, and exercise. If you want to lose weight, an app such as MyFitnessPal will help you determine a reduced calorie intake to achieve those goals. Then, you break that calorie amount into percentages based on what you want to achieve – for example, fat loss, bodybuilding or weight maintenance. You can find sample ratios here. Then, you simply allot calories by percentage and translate those calories into grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Those grams can come from “good” food like fish and brown rice, or “bad” food like a hamburger … it doesn’t matter, as long as you hit those ratios. Follow them, and you’ll lose weight nearly effortlessly. This is how simple the flexible diet plan can be.

2. Live and Let Lapse

flexible dietingThe truth is, sometimes you just can’t stick to your diet plans. You go on vacation, buy a naughty treat at the movie theater, or just have to have that pint of ice cream on a Friday night. You’re only human, after all. The trick to recovering from these lapses is so simple you’ve no doubt heard it a thousand times, just get back on the horse. Unfortunately, most of us are really bad at this. Once we slip a little bit, we throw caution to the winds in a pattern known as the “what the hell effect.” So if you eat six Oreos, say, you might just decide to eat the whole box because what the hell.

Instead, it’s important to stop and reset. One slip doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your hard work. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule, whereby you follow your “diet” 80 percent of the time and forgive yourself for some bad behavior the other 20 percent.

3. Bottom Line on Flexible Diet Plans

This kind of thinking is in keeping with the diet itself: flexible, forgiving, fitting into your lifestyle. Instead of denying yourself, try simply eating differently, while still enjoying the foods you love. We’re betting you’ll find the success you’ve been looking for.