If You Can Never Commit To A Strict Diet, You Should Try Being A Flexitarian

by Ella James

It seems like every day, a new diet and nutrition plan pops up that promises improved health and miraculous weight loss. Since all these diets promise us the same things, it's not surprising that we can't make up our minds about which regimes to follow.

We simply can't determine what's good and what's not. Lately, the flexitarian diet has become quite popular. Here are all the deets:

Who created this diet?

The diet was created by author and dietitian, Dawn Jackson Blatner. She claims that eating primarily plant-based foods is a great way to cut calories.

The dietitian explains that the idea behind the flexitarian diet came from understanding that not everyone is willing to commit to vegetarianism. Therefore, the mission of this diet is to go meatless most of the time, in order to lose weight and get healthy easily.

What exactly is a flexitarian diet?

Flexitarian is the combination of two words: flexible and vegetarian. The term was coined back in 2009 by Dawn J. Blatner in her book, "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease And Add Years to Your Life."

The author points out that flexitarians weigh about 15 percent less than their carnivorous counterparts. They also have a lower rate of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Furthermore, the author also claims that followers of this diet live approximately 3.6 years longer.

How does it work?

Here are some flexitarian diet basics that you should know:

  • Becoming a flexitarian means you should include five food groups in your diet.
  • These five food groups include “new meat” (beans, tofu, lentils, peas, eggs, seeds), fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, sugar and spice.
  • A flexitarian diet consists of a five-week meal plan. The book provides recipes for all meals, including snacks.
  • Flexitarian meals revolve around plant proteins rather than animal proteins.
  • Nothing is off-limits on this diet, but the primary goal is to increase your intake of plant-based foods while gradually reducing your meat intake. For example, if you can't possibly imagine your meals without meat, you can start with baby steps and make one shift per meal.
  • Alcohol is allowed, but moderation is key.

This diet has three levels: beginner, advanced and expert. Depending on how much meat you normally eat, you will fall into one of these categories.

A typical day on a flexitarian diet consists of three meals and two snacks. You have to follow the 3-4-5 system, which is 300 calories for breakfast, 400 calories for lunch and 500 calories for dinner. Snacks should be no more than 150 calories each.

Is this diet expensive?

Considering the fact that the flexitarian diet doesn't necessarily include exotic ingredients or items you can't find in regular stores, it's quite affordable.

Do I have to exercise if I'm on this diet?

Yes. In fact, exercise is a must. For good health, you have to make sure you exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. The diet supports an overall healthy lifestyle, which is characterized by a clean diet and physical activity.

Can I lose weight on a flexitarian diet?

You have a high chance of losing weight on this diet. This is because if you focus on the plant-based component of this diet and eat a large variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you will feel full while eating fewer calories than usual.

When you pair a decreased intake of calories with physical activity, you will lose weight successfully. This satiety and feeling of fullness will also prevent cravings, which are one of the primary culprits of weight gain.

But besides simply just weight loss, a flexitarian diet is also associated with cardiovascular health benefits and diabetes management.

As a flexitarian diet doesn't exclude any food groups, it promotes the intake of the various nutrients that derive from different types of foods. Although meat isn't banned, its intake should be limited.

The diet itself promotes moderation, which is why it's easier to follow than most other diets. Eating primarily plant-based foods offers substantial health benefits and supports weight loss. If you stick to the rules and exercise, you should have no problem losing weight.