By. Michelle Craig, Coach & Personal Trainer
Michelle is the early-AM coach at Inner Beast CrossFit. She has competed in multiple CrossFit competitions and obstacle course racing events.
My decision to start a “Flexible Dieting” program began several weeks ago, when I realized that stumbling around eating whatever sounded good at the time had led me to gain about 30 – 35 lbs. in 2015. A good friend of my mine, Strongwoman competitor Kate Hanson, had great success following this program and I wanted to give it a whirl.
What is Flexible Dieting?
In short, it is a diet plan (the definition of diet here being: “the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group”) that consists of calculating the number of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, that your body needs each day. The theory is that as long as your daily intake meets your macronutrient needs, you will lose, gain, or maintain (depending on your goals and calculations.)
My daily macro targets for this past week were:
1960 Calories, 94g Carbs, 186g Protein, and 93g Fat (Sample Day of Meals & Macros)
I didn’t hit these perfectly on a single day (that’s okay!), and my average carbohydrate intake was 100g, ranging from 78g-130g.
Macro Profile Examples:
Chobani Greek Yogurt: 150 Calories, 19g Carbs, 12g Protein, 2.5g Fat
Ground Turkey (6 OZ): 240 Calories, 0g Carbs, 33g Protein, 12g Fat
Justin’s Maple Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.): 190 Calories, 8g Carbs, 6g Protein, 16g Fat
Rice (1/4 Cup Dry): 160 Calories, 36g Carbs, 3g Protein, 0g Fat
FIRST, let me say that when I gain weight quickly, my body can sometimes lose it more quickly than normal (mostly water weight/bloat from sugar/alcohol/carbs). Second, prior to this diet, I was eating a lot of crap. I also wasn’t working out consistently, so my body responded positively to a new strength training & cardio program.
Weight Loss: 7lbs. (Again, this is not a normal, expected, or calculated loss. My goal for the week was 2lbs.)
Activity: Cutting gluten, dairy, sugar, & alcohol made my body feel better within a day. My workouts felt better and I didn’t have any of the nausea/stomach pain that usually comes from over-eating & eating crap.
There are definitely challenges with a program like this, but there are many more benefits that make it worth it. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of progress I can make in the coming weeks.. physically and mentally.
Follow me on Instagram for a glimpse into my program - @mcraigpdx
My approach, as influenced by "Flexible Dieting 2.0 - A Flexible Dieting Approach for the Modern Athlete" By. Krissy May Cagney, is to hit my macros with mostly whole foods, minimal gluten, and minimal dairy. This is because I know my body responds well to limiting certain foods, and is not because everyone should be “gluten-free” or “Paleo”. Since most of the fall and early winter were consistently “cheat months” for me, I also decided to eliminate alcohol, treats, & “cheat meals” for the first four weeks of my program. My goal is “cutting” also known as reducing fat mass, or losing weight.
Every meal that I ate over the last seven days was tracked in the MyFitnessPal app. About 90% of my meals were weighed and measured and, with the exception of a couple of packets of Justin’s Almond Butter, two Quest protein bars, and a couple Americanos from Starbucks, all of my meals were cooked at home.
I created a workout program, with the help of Cameron Kerns, and started that along with my new “diet”.
Highlights: I was able to be consistent, and my program was relatively manageable for me. I hit a 140lb. push-jerk (lifetime PR) and had a killer Sunday morning workout.
Struggles: My carbs were super low, and as a result my energy levels were as well. Most days I crashed in the middle of the afternoon, but with caffeine and the appropriate snacks I survived. It was also hard going out to the Growler Run (tap-house) and not drinking a delicious beer or skipping across the parking lot for a burger, fries, and Oreo milkshake.