First let’s determine was is meant by the terms Rigid Dieting and Flexible Dieting.

When people think of RIGID DIETING they think of a diet that involves little if any flexibility, possibly a menu or eating plan with little to no choices and lots of food rules including (most times) the labelling of foods and drinks as good or bad.

FLEXIBLE DIETING is a lot more broad, but most people think that it does allow for more flexibility with food choices, meal timing with no measuring, counting and recording OR some degree of measuring, counting and recording depending on what the person wants (or is told) to do but still with lots of choices and variation.

So flexible dieting could include a menu or some kind of plan and/or it could also include a calorie or macro nutrient target or limiting of certain foods/drinks or it might not.

Flexible Dieting is NOT a particular diet such as IIFYM (if it fits your macros) or IF (intermittent fasting) And it could be all junk food, all healthy food or a combo.

Having said all that, in my mind, RIGID DIETING could also include non-healthy or junk foods, but they’d be at certain times, in certain quantities etc.

Likewise in my terms, fully FLEXIBLE DIETING is what people are already doing – and it’s making us all unhealthy, overweight and worse.

So now I’ve totally confused you, I want to talk about FitterFaster nutrition (or diet) programs and how that fits into .

I take a Flexible Approach to Nutrition Coaching – usually.

Baring in mind, that for many, a more Rigid approach is appropriate at least initially;

For instance, for someone who is brand new to eating better food, who may want to lose weight, get stronger, grow more muscle or improve health parameters (or all of the above) who has been basically eating processed, ready-prepared, take away etc type foods, may need a plan to start. This will help to take away some of the choices (remember even a plan or menu can have choices and flexibility) till they get the hang of it.

I have found this to be the case with many, many clients over the past 14 years that need to make big changes, especially if they want to see reasonably fast results.

So what does the FitterFaster Flexible Nutrition ‘plan’ look like?

It could include any, some or all of the strategies below in any combination and change throughout the length of your program

Protein targetsCalorie Targets
Protein and Calorie targetsMeal choice options
Portion controlMacro targets with some limits on food choices
Macro targets with no limits on food choicesGuidelines to eat more or less of certain groups
Cheat or indulgence meals/snacksIndulgence allowances within targets
A full blown, follow this plan/menuA full plan/menu with choices to slot in/out
Meals/snacks to pick and choose fromFood group recommendations/guidelines
Daily text/email check ins or journal keepingFace to face or zoom check ins
Regular AssessmentsSelf assessments

I believe that Flexible Dieting should include a combination of any or all of the above in combinations that depend on the client’s goals, stage of change, how fast they want to see results, how willing/ready to make changes they are and more.

While Rigid Diets have the potential to lead to poorer outcomes long term (think trying to stick with a diet that allows simply shakes and minimal food each day) there is definitely a place for a more strict plan at certain stages of the change period.

Properly executed and then graduating to a more flexible approach with less rigidity I have found is the best way to see fast changes, but help people manage themselves once the program or plan is over. It’s all about teaching what is good healthy and sustainable eating that also allows a certain degree of junk/treat (for want of a better word) foods and drinks so that the client can continue long term.

For many people, it takes more than one attempt at changing what have probably been very long term habits. Most clients pick up certain better habits faster than others, but the goal is to eventually have lots of good habits in place most of the time so that those splurges, weekends away, special occasions or even weekly treats etc have no long term effects on body composition and little effect on overall health.

Nutrition coaching starts with a meeting in person or on zoom, an analysis of where the client is now and what habits they have and then making a plan to move forward from there.

The plan will take into account not just what the overall goal is, but how quickly we want to see results (within reason) and how much the client thinks they are able to change at any given time.

And this is key.

Changes will need to be made. Some people forget that.

So even Flexible Dieting has to include some level of Rigidity.


If you’d like some information about nutrition plans, please just shoot me through an email by tapping here: [email protected]


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