What is it? and Why does it work for first responders?
By: George McNeil, BS, NR-P, ISO
Struggling to lose weight? Trying to pack some muscle on? Trying to get stronger and stay lean at the same time? The unpredictable nature of our chosen profession can sometimes make it hard to eat right and achieve these goals. We can go from sitting around to all hell breaking loose around us in a split second and eating healthy gets put on a back burner when things are getting crazy.
My story is similar to most everyone in our chose career field; nutrition and weight have been struggles for me my entire life. A high school athlete and power lifter I was in decent shape when I left high school; not training on a regular basis and going to work in the restaurant industry led to some weight gain that I barely was able to get off when I joined the fire department at 22. Time went by and I got back in decent shape via crash dieting, fad dieting, weight watchers, paleo (which does work if done properly) and other non healthy eating habits. Problem was the diets were so restrictive that I eventually fell off the wagon and the weight always came right back. In 2013 I began training for CrossFit and was getting quite good and in pretty good shape when I injured my right shoulder.
The injury itself was rather benign but it took six months to start to heal and get back to a point where I could start training again. Problem with that is gained back a lot of the weight that I had lost. A realization struck me late in the fall of 2014 when I had gained back all the weight I had lost; I was notified of the death of a 29 year old firefighter in Spartanburg South Carolina. 29 years old, I was 29, my head was reeling. I realized that I needed to do something different, something that would allow me get my nutrition on point and be able to achieve my goals of becoming a competitive athlete.
After scouring the internet for months and months; even going back on the crash diets for a little bit, Flexible Dieting came into my world. The concept was intriguing, eat doughnuts and loose weight!! I was immediately hooked. I started doing research and through a friend on FaceBook I discovered Krissy Mae Cagney’s book FD 2.0 A FLEXIBLE NUTRITION PHILOSOPHY FOR THE MODERN ATHLETE. The basic premise behind Flexible Dieting is that the body needs fuel and food is fuel, how much fuel and the type you put in your body determines how well your body functions and what your composition is. The fuels that the body needs are protein, carbohydrates and fat; through flexible dieting and some simple math you can easily determine how much of each of those you should be consuming on a daily basis along with the optimal number of calories.
Most people would be surprised at what they consume in protein, carbohydrates, fat and calories every day. We eat to celebrate, eat because were bored, eat while were watching a moving; the list goes on and on and it adds up very quickly. Before you know it your out of shape and over weight if you don’t stay on top of it. The great thing about Flexible Dieting is it allows you to adjust your daily caloric intake, protein, carbs and fat depending on what your training schedule is. The next article will discuss the different macro nutrients, determining your daily caloric requirements and how you can eat what you want and stay healthy!!