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The good and the bad of flexible dieting

The good and the bad of flexible dieting

You have probably heard of many different dieting techniques however flexible dieting is one of the most common. You may have heard flexible dieting also being called IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and this is because flexible dieting is where you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits your macronutrient and calorie goals. In this article we will explore the positives and negatives of this dieting technique and why it may be the most optimal method for most people. 

What is flexible dieting

Flexible dieting is where you can eat whatever foods you want as long as they fit within your calorie and macro nutrient goal. Your macronutrients are the carbohydrates, proteins and fats which make your daily calories. Most people use a calorie tracking app to do this and enter the foods that they eat throughout the day.

Benefits of flexible dieting

Can still enjoy your favourite foods

The main benefit of flexible dieting is that you can enjoy your favourite foods as long as it fits into your targets. This doesn't mean you should just eat your favourite takeaway every day if it fits into your macros however if you do want a 'treat' meal every now and then, you can fit it into your diet. This also means you are less likely to get bored of your diet and go off plan.

Can make a diet easy to stick to

Since you are eating foods that you enjoy and your meals aren't as strict, it makes it easier to stick to as you aren't restricting yourself as much as you would be with a strict meal plan.

Good for on the go

If you are someone who travels around a lot whether it be for work or any other reason, you may not have time to prepare meals for the whole week. By following a flexible dieting approach you will be able to track the meals that you get whether it be from a supermarket or a fast food shop.

Disadvantages of flexible dieting

Confusing for beginners

Saying 'as long as it fits your macros' is all well and good however not everyone knows what macros they should be eating and therefore it can be confusing for someone who isn't experienced in nutritional planning. To hit your target you still need to know how to structure your meals to make sure you hit enough protein. With the flexible dieting approach, a lot of people find themselves chasing their protein goals at the end of the day and often struggle to hit them due to not knowing how to structure their meals. This is one reason why following a meal plan would be beneficial.

Guessing nutritional values

If you are eating out every day but trying to track your calories and macros, you may find that you can't find the accurate values of some foods. This means that you have to guesstimate some meals and it won't be as accurate as it would be if you were sticking to a stricter meal plan. 

Lack of routine

Since you don't have set meals, you may find that you have less of a routine. This can be tough for someone who works full time and just wants a routine of knowing what they will be eating and when. When you have more of a structured eating routine, you will also find hunger levels are more stable throughout the day. 


When you are picking a dieting method you should look to choose one that you will be able to stick to for a long period of time. This is why flexible dieting may be a good choice, since you can still enjoy your favourite foods. If you are considering starting flexible dieting try and begin by eating 80% whole foods and then treat yourself with the remaining 20% as this will kill any cravings and prevent you from over indulging. 

Posted 02 Aug 2023