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Nutritional “Flexitarianism”- Fancy Word, Sound Philosophy

Despite the “My way way or the highway” feeling you get from certain nutritional philosophies, there is no single nutritional path or secret to losing weight, getting healthier and reclaiming the body you had or have always wanted. In fact, there’s a lot. Still, there are ways that have proven sustainable, are easy to follow and can be very effective for most people– it’s the reason I’m such a huge fan of P90X and its nutritional program. The plan is effective but also allows some elbow room.

Buuuut… once you start moving from “fitness rookie” to “fitness vet” and begin refining nutrition to fall in line with your long term goals on health, you’ll notice there’s a bazillion nutritional recommendations out there– from plant-based (vegan), to gluten-free to Paleo (meat and veg) to liquid. Some are easier to follow than others while some have specific goals and aren’t meant for long term use– it’s pretty easy to get confused.

Real World Nutrition

I’ve always subscribed to a nutritional program of smart, whole choices and moderation– which is why the P90X nutritional program was so appealing. Sure, there’s a need to make choices that will better benefit your health and physique but it’s also a nutritional program that works for life.

Of course, as anyone who’s tried P90X knows, Tony Horton has a pretty good physique. A physique many people (even half his age) want to emulate. Naturally, the dude is asked “what do you eat to look like that?”  His answer is a good one:

“My Google-friendly fans often get confused when they look to the internet for advice on how to eat like Tony. They find articles on my vegan ways. They find opinions on the benefits of organic meats… “So which is it, Tony?” [they] demand. “What’s the right diet…”

The answer to that, my friends, is, “All of them.” Yes, I was a vegan for years — and I felt great doing it. But the problem was that I couldn’t keep weight on, eating just veggies, fruit, beans, and nuts, so I had to rethink my strategy. I still eat tons of veggies, but I’m now a free-range chicken, wild salmon and other healthy fish-eating type of guy, too. I’ve also cut back on my grains, having discovered that the less gluten I eat, the better it is for my body and brain chemistry.

You see, even if you think you’ve found the perfect diet, it won’t always be perfectly perfect. Making adjustments based on your ever-changing needs — especially as you get older and wiser — is normal. I like to refer to this philosophy as “flexitarianism.” Some define this as a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat. I beg to differ. To me, it means you eat with an open, observant mind, shifting your diet as needed to suit your personal nutritional needs.”

It should be said Tony Horton’s definition of “Flexitarian” (Flexitarianism) is a little more liberal than the traditional “Meat + Vegetarian = Flexitarian” definition, so I’m bastardizing it and using Horton’s “Flexitarianism” framework, not the textbook definition. That said, I’m a fan of this approach because it’s the angle I tend to take but even more than that– this plan is SUSTAINABLE. In other words, it’s hard to get burnt out when you have variety. And while things like a vegan diet offer all kinds of variety if you have time to prepare, sometimes that just doesn’t unfold the way we’d like in a world of meetings, errands work days and other pulls on our time. That’s not to say eat the junk you know is junk (I’m looking at you, Mr. Fast Food Window) but it does allow you to widen your nutritional horizons a bit.

It’s OK To Be A Nutritional Flake (If You Keep It Clean)

As I mentioned, there are MANY nutritional avenues out there– and almost all have valid points and benefits to be had and incorporated into your body-fueling plan. Sooo, what to do? In short, the one that works and keeps you “In it” while sustaining your long term health.

By that I mean there’s always ways to “fire up” short term goals (The Fat Shredder Plan), going low on carbs, cutting sugars, etc but when we reach those goals, you don’t owe any one your allegiance. This isn’t religion, sports or politics. This is your nutritional health. In short, Flip-Flopping is the hotness:

“…When it comes to food, there’s no shame in being a  flip-flopper and taking advantage of all of them.

That said, I think there are a few simple rules to keep in mind…. It’s important to find the balance. If you don’t stay accountable, then cravings for addictive comfort foods will cause all kinds of problems… overly restrictive diets will almost always lead to problems as well. Sooner or later, you’ll crack and binge. So, to keep your hand out of the proverbial (and literal) cookie jar, it’s important to design an eating plan that makes you feel good while eating it.”

And good in a way that stays aligned with your goals– NOT the good in a way that has you eating crap and mentally pummeling yourself with “why, why WHY!?” a few hours later.

For example, as I’ve progressed in my nutritional journey, I’ve made a personal decision to cut back on dairy. I’ve cut waaaaay back. I can’t remember the last time I had milk, cottage cheese or any kind of low fat cheese. But I do still enjoy Greek Yogurt once or twice a week. Why? Because it’s not a foundation of my nutrition, delivers a nice shot of “change” and makes me feel I’m not depriving myself– and when you don’t feel deprived, you don’t crave. And when you’re not craving, you’re not breaking down and pounding the whole Ben & Jerry’s section at the local grocery store.

Eat Clean, Enjoy Life, Stay On Track

Your body is adaptable and amazing. Too much of anything overloads it, weighs it down (literally) and can lead to problems (IE- Fat Shredder is a SHORT-TERM solution). Allowing nutritional variety for what it needs to fuel your goals (as Tony calls it, “Flexitarian”) will allow your body to give you the health you desire and the ability to flex some confidence building muscle.

There’s undoubtedly going to be holes punched in the Flexitarian argument but the whole philosophy boils down to this: Eat clean and eat in a way that’s focused toward your goals. The P90X nutrition guide has this covered and then some. It’s a fantastic resource and one, when fully understood in how it relates to you, will be a fantastic guide for years and years– maybe even a lifetime.

Have Questions? Need clarification, support, accountability or help? Additional motivation and real-world support can also be found through making me (Dan Vinton) your Free Beachbody Coach. Let’s rock this. 

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