Biofeedback Flexible Dieting 101
Hello, Derek here!
It is finally time! We are officially ready to release a LITE version of our newest program for you!
Please keep in mind that all information in this post is educational in nature and is not a substitute for professional advice from a coach or medical professional.
Without further ado, I present to you...
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting V1.0 LITE
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting (BFD) is the culmination of 6 years of diet and nutrition experimentation and over 3 years of in depth study of everything that is out there.
We have sampled every diet program we could find along with reading and adapting many of the best books on mindset, habits and behaviour change to bring you the best each had to offer in one complete program.
The Origins: Why I Created Biofeedback Flexible Dieting
What is Biofeedback Flexible Dieting?
Why We Chose To Use Flexible Dieting As the Base of Our Program
How Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Works
Who is Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Designed For?
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting 101: How to Do It
I Reached My Goal, Now What?
Get Notified When the Full Version of Biofeedback Flexible Dieting is Released
Rach's Full Day of Eating Biofeedback Flexible Dieting
LFT Fitness Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Daily(ish) VLOG
The Origins: Why I Created Biofeedback Flexible Dieting
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting arose out of an absence in the market of anything suiting my exact requirements for a dieting program. You see, I hate dieting. As much as it would be cool to have shredded abs, it simply isn't worth the dietary restriction, calorie counting or excessive cardio that almost all programs out there require to obtain that level of leanness.
What I wanted: Elite body composition results and the ability to maintain the appearance that comes along with a bodyfat percentage below 10%.
My Problem: I don't really want it THAT bad. I hate tracking calories and I hate unnecessary dietary restriction. I simply do not want those shredded abs bad enough to forego cake and ice cream at a birthday party, desserts at Christmas or wings and beer when I'm out with friends.
Besides, I have often thought to myself, that just sets a terrible example for those who are obese and overweight out there. It makes them think that it takes super-human determination and willpower to succeed, as though fitness is unattainable without throwing out everything they love.
[Sure, I know that there's a difference between going for elite results and eating just good enough for general health, but most people out there do not. I believe it is our job as people who have "figured it out" to show others that fitness is something that everyone can achieve.]
There simply has to be a better way.
It should be easier.
Enter Biofeedback Flexible Dieting...
So What Is Biofeedback Flexible Dieting?
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting is flexible dieting WITHOUT tracking calories. While not quite as precise as tracking calories using an app like myfitnesspal (which by the way, does have it's own accuracy problems), Biofeedback Flexible Dieting provides the freedom to enjoy foods you love WITHOUT the burden of tracking every morsel of food you put into your mouth (A burden that causes some people to become neurotic and others to simply give up!) while still getting results.
(In a rush? Jump straight to the rules)
Why We Chose to Use Flexible Dieting As the Base of This Program...
In many ways, flexible dieting is great.
It allows you the freedom to eat foods you love without having to worry about them turning into unwanted pounds of fat on your hips or across your midsection.
By controlling the total caloric intake and with some manipulation of insulin sensitivity (I'm not even going to get into that discussion right now :p) you are able to eat traditionally “unhealthy” foods without the consequences of fat gain that are typically associated with eating those foods.
To be fair, most people who do flexible dieting generally eat healthy and do not actually eat pop tarts and McDonalds all day, but it’s the freedom to do so when they choose to that most people love about it.
Now for the downsides...
#1 Among them: Tracking calories.
Let's be honest; tracking calories (a requirement of almost all flexible dieting plans) SUCKS.
There are programs that avoid tracking calories and still produce results, (i.e. clean eating, intermittent fasting, etc.) but the problem is that any of those programs accomplish this by removing the flexibility to eat those junk foods whenever you want (or even at all in some cases). It seems that no diet program out there (flexible dieting included) offers full flexibility, accurate precision AND the ability to get results WITHOUT tracking calories.
This is why we created Biofeedback Flexible Dieting.
How Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Works
Basically, Biofeedback Flexible Dieting uses a few simple rules in combination with your body's natural hunger and satiety signals to tell you how much you need to eat and when to eat it to get into a caloric deficit instead of having to track calories.
Rather than rigidly sticking to your macros for the day regardless of hunger (or lack thereof) like standard flexible dieting, or blindly eating as much as you want from a list of foods like many of the restriction based diets out there, with Biofeedback Flexible Dieting you adjust your intake as your body requires to down-regulate your food intake for lazy low activity days and to up-regulate it following intense training days.
Now, although there is definitely an intuitive "listen to your body" component to Biofeedback Flexible Dieting, you absolutely will not just be eating whatever you're craving whenever you crave it - like with intuitive eating. That will not work for elite body composition results.
Intuitive eating can be great for maintenance of healthy body composition, but it doesn't work as well for losing weight (As explained here by Christin Grettenberger) or for achieving and maintaining elite level body composition results; especially if you are used to eating less than ideal foods regularly.
Intuitive eating simply isn't precise enough to guarantee results. Our Biofeedback Flexible Dieting program takes a much more intentional approach to creating results.
Who Is Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Designed For?
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting is designed for men and women with experience calorie tracking and macro counting who are sick of being stuck with no option for achieving their desired body composition while still eating the foods they love WITHOUT tracking calories.
Others can absolutely use this approach, but it is specifically created with this audience in mind.
Unlike most of our other programs, Biofeedback Flexible Dieting is created specifically as a diet plan to stick to for a prescribed period of time and then to transition onto another plan for maintenance. The principles from Biofeedback Flexible Dieting will absolutely be helpful in maintaining your results, and many of the core principles in Biofeedback Flexible Dieting are included in our maintenance plans, however, there are a few extra efforts required for Biofeedback Flexible Dieting that are unnecessary once you’ve reached your goals and are just attempting to maintain.
If you are someone who has more than 10lbs to lose or you are simply looking to get healthier, our upcoming Simple Sustainable Weight Loss program may be more suitable for you. Be Your Own Coach Online, which is available as V1.0 already, may also be of interest to you.
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting 101: How To Do It
Alright, so now that you have the background and have an idea of who this program was created for, let's get into the actual "how to" instructions:
Step 1 – Complete The Hunger, Palatability and Sweetness Base Point Resets (Optional, But Recommended)
To get started on Biofeedback Flexible Dieting, we recommend starting with a reset on your hunger, palatability and sweetness sensitivities.
The reason we need this reset it because most of us have let our diets get excessively “food satisfaction” oriented. That is, we tend to spend far more of our limited resources than is necessary trying to find foods that taste really, really good. Quite often we’ll spend excessive money, calories or time creating something absolutely delicious when we do not have those resources to spare. (It’s very similar to making compulsive credit card purchases of unnecessary items when you do not have the budget to afford whatever it is you are purchasing.)
Whether it’s eating multiple Quest Bars per day ($$), spending half an hour making the perfect protein-PB2-Walden Farms-banana mixture creation or indulging in those daily Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, we are prone to spending far too much of our limited resources seeking food satisfaction instead of putting those resources towards bringing us closer to our goals.
Now that’s not to say you should never enjoy delicious foods. It’s quite the opposite, actually - Allowing the ability to enjoy the foods you love is one of the core purposes of Biofeedback Flexible Dieting! We just want to limit that enjoyment-seeking to one meal per day where you really, really take the time to enjoy what you're eating instead of being half-in, half-out for all 3 (or 4 or 5!) meals. The base point resets prepare us to do that.
The point here is that because we have distorted our palatability and sweetness base points so much, we often spend resources chasing taste when we should be using them for something else. Simply follow this reset protocol and you will find that you are satisfied with much less sweetness and do not feel the need to have “the perfect meal” every time you need to eat.
Day 1: The Hunger Basepoint Reset - After eating a large high protein/high fibre meal, complete a 16-24 hour fast in order to relearn what it’s like to be truly hungry. I recommend starting between 2:00pm and 6:00pm and going to bed early so that a large portion of your fasting time is overnight.
When you finish your fast the next day, break the fast with a high protein/high fibre low palatability meal such as a chicken breast with broccoli or other similarly bland foods.
NOTE: CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE FASTING. If you have issues with hypoglycaemia or diabetes, fasting could result in excessively low blood sugar. Always check with your doctor before beginning a new dietary practice.
Day 2: The Palatability Base Point Reset - After breaking your fast with a low palatability meal, continue to choose very low palatability foods for any remaining meals that day. This means no spices, no salt, no sweeteners and no fruit, sauces or liquid calories. The foods you eat should be bland and almost flavourless. This will show you how easy it is to naturally limit calories when you limit palatability and give you a true appreciation for even simple things like spices and salt on your food when you add them back to your diet.
Day 3-5: The Sweetness Base Point Reset - On day 3 you will begin the sweetness base point reset. This is essentially the same as the palatability base point reset, however you are now allowed to add everything back except for sweeteners, sugar/sweetener based sauces and fruits. (Berries are okay to have during this phase.)
Day 5 (Evening): Beginning “Normal” Biofeedback Flexible Dieting - On the evening of Day 5, you can break the sweetness ban and choose one high sweetness food to add to your dinner or have as a dessert. (i.e. A protein bar, ketchup or a piece of fruit, etc.)
Step 2 – Follow the Rules of Biofeedback Flexible Dieting
You will be basing your food choices and timing based on what your body signals are telling you and using the rules below to guide your actions.
Rule 1: Eat only when hungry. This means delaying or skipping meals if you are not hungry. Alternatively, if you eat at fixed times, this means reducing the sizes of your meals so that you will be hungry (but not ravenous) by the time of your next meal.
Rule 2: Eat 90% low palatability, non-calorically dense foods. (This includes limiting liquid calories.) This allows your body’s natural hunger signals to indicate when you are actually full. Highly palatable foods override your body’s satiety (fullness) signals and it is easy to accidentally overeat high caloric density foods. (Highly palatable foods are often calorically dense and vice-versa, so often these foods are one in the same.)
Mindset tip: Think of eating foods "for function" throughout the day and eating a meal "for enjoyment" in the evening. Make the daytime meals about getting you through your day physically and mentally and take the time to enjoy a meal at night.
Rule 3: Keep blood sugar balanced. This is actually more of a rule for easy adherence, but this is absolutely critical to ensuring that the signals you receive from your body are accurate. If you don’t eat adequate protein or you eat too many carbohydrates in a meal you may end up with “hangry” low blood sugar hunger between meals. This will give you an “I HAVE TO EAT RIGHT NOW!!” signal that overrides the “true hunger” signal.
Rule 4: Stop eating at 75% full. By stopping at 75% full you should feel satisfied but not full. At a certain point of fullness, the amount of satiety that you receive from a meal is often diminished. So if you eat to 100% fullness, you are eating 25% more food, but it may only keep you from getting hungry for 10% longer. (Note: This is not an absolute rule. 75% full is about where we have noticed this, but because everyone’s definition of 75% full is different, this requires a bit of trial and error to figure it out for yourself.)
Rule 5: Breathe, eat slowly and eat mindfully. By eating slowly and mindfully it’s possible that you can get more enjoyment out of ½ or even ¼ of the amount of food you would normally eat mindlessly. Eating slowly also allows your natural satiety signals to kick-in. Really take the time to enjoy what you’re eating, feeling the textures and enjoying it’s tastes. Meals should take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the size.
Rule 6: Be a little bit hungry a few times through the day. If you have less than 30lbs to lose, there’s a good chance you’ll need to go a little bit hungry to see results. Often the best time to do this is before bed or first thing in the morning, but you can do it before or after other meals as is convenient for you. Again, do what works best for you. Being a little bit hungry is that little push that takes you from maintaining your weight to making progress with Biofeedback Flexible Dieting by creating a caloric deficit. The other rules are all required in order to get you to that maintenance point, but this rule is the one that puts you over the top.
Note: If you are currently or have ever suffered from an eating disorder, please seek medical advice prior to following any of our recommendations. Staying healthy comes first!
Conclusion: This is where awareness of your body and paying attention to the signals your body is giving you is most critical. You are essentially “feeling out” whether you are in a deficit or not. I hate to say “You just know”, but that’s kind of what it is. If you eat to 75% full and eat 90% low palatability foods and then go mildly hungry (remember you’re avoiding "hangriness" by eating adequate protein to balance blood sugar) for an hour here and there, you can rest assured that you are most likely in a caloric deficit.
Other Rules & Strategies: There are many other rules that we use with Biofeedback Flexible Dieting and these 6 core rules may change slightly as we finish developing the full version. However this, along with our FREE Meal Guide, will give you a good start for now.
As I mentioned with rule #4 - that eating 75% full is not an absolute rule, none of the rest of these rules are absolutes. If you can get results while your hunger and cravings are under control and your energy level is good then you are following the core principles of this diet.
These rules (and all of the others we use) are simply one method that we have developed to accomplish the principles, but it certainly is not the only method out there. If you can keep the key principles in mind and avoid getting too attached to the methods, you can modify this plan to be even more flexible and individualized to your own needs than what we have provided.
Step 3 – Adjust as Needed Based on Results
Hunger & Cravings: If you find the meals listed do not satiate you and/or you are ravenous before your next meal or if you are getting crazy cravings (double check that your sleep and stress are under control), increase the portion size of the protein or eat an additional breakfast/lunch type meal. This will ensure that you do not overindulge when it comes time to eat your next meal.
Also ensure that you are limiting hyperpalatable foods. If you continue to experience insatiable hunger and cravings, let us know so we can look closer at your diet and investigate the underlying causes.
For some people who choose to eat at low frequency (i.e. 1-2 meals per day), eating a meal that satiates them until the next meal may mean breaking the stopping at 75% full rule. This is especially common in women eating 2-3 meals per day. The key is to listen to your body’s feedback (in the form of hunger, cravings and fat loss results and go based on that.)
If you’re getting fat loss results and your hunger and cravings are under control, there is nothing wrong with breaking some of the rules!
Results: If you find you are not seeing results, ensure that there is not something you are forgetting to account for. Everything you eat or drink counts towards the caloric deficit that you are creating by following the intuitive eating rules.
Be sure that you are not just experiencing constipation, water retention from lack of sleep, stress, PMS/menstruation or menstruation or that you did not simply eat a large meal the night before.
Unfortunately, water retention can mask fat loss and sometimes even make it seem like you are regressing and gaining fat. It is possible for weight to go up or down as much as 5lbs (and sometimes even more) due to water retention. To sort out whether it is "real" weight gain, give it a few days or even a week or two beyond those possible causes and consider that typically "real" weight gain happens slowly, so 2-5lb jumps from day-to-day can be taken as a sign of water retention. Also be sure to take measurements and compare progress pictures to support (or disprove) your conclusion.
You should have 2-4 weeks of data with at least 6 weight measurements showing that the pattern of your weight has not changed. (Using weekly average of daily weigh-ins can be a good way to do this.)
If you have ensured that there is nothing you are forgetting to account for and you have given it time to work, slightly decrease the size of your meals (removing fat or carbohydrates). You can also significantly decrease one meal or increase the length of your overnight fast by a few hours per day (this could be in the morning or in the evening) as long as it is not unsustainably long and miserable. Be sure that you’re not making up the difference in your other meals. The goal here is still to reduce your daily caloric intake.
If you are maintaining your weight at your current intake, these changes should be enough to produce fat loss results.
NOTE: If you are working out relatively intensely, do not reduce your intake below 2 large meals or 4 small meals without consulting a qualified coach or medical professional as insufficient caloric intake can have damaging effects on hormonal function.
DO NOT MISS THIS.
THE NEXT PARAGRAPH HOLDS THE KEY TO MAINTAINING YOUR RESULTS LONG TERM.
I reached my goal. Now what?
This is where most diets fail. They expect you to maintain a high level of precision and attention to your diet ad infinitum. That simply isn't realistic.
If you cannot maintain your results long-term, your diet has failed. I don't care how great the results are, if you can't maintain them those results are useless.
In my experience, you must have two things in order to maintain your results:
- You must enjoy your program enough to stick with long term, and
- Your program must be effortless enough to continue, when other life priorities inevitably take over.
Using the principles and methods provided in this program I think we will have accomplished this goal for most people, but you must assess this individually for yourself. Everything always comes down to what works best for you on an individual basis.
Get Notified When The Full Version of Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Is Released!
Biofeedback Flexible Dieting V1.0 (full version) will include a much more detailed description of each instruction and detailed description of the technical reasoning behind each protocol and instruction (there’s a lot to explain!), plus:
- A quick start guide to get started on your way to lifelong results now while working slowly towards understanding all of the theory behind it.
- A 'choose your own adventure' style guide for navigating through the program so that you do not waste your time reading anything that is not relevant to you.
- Our favourite bonus tools and strategies that we use ourselves to make Biofeedback Flexible Dieting even more effortless!
- Variations and tweaks for personal preferences (how to make it perfectly fit your lifestyle), based on your age and specific recommendations for men vs. women
- Troubleshooting instructions and a “common mistakes to watch out for” guide
Some Quick Workout Recommendations
As you may know, working out is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to reaching your fitness and body composition goals. When you weight train you can “get away with” a surprising amount of nutritional transgressions. Needless to say, working out is critical to seeing both immediate and lasting results.
We will include much more detailed workout recommendations in the full version of Biofeedback Flexible Dieting, but in the meantime, the programs below are two that we support so much that we are selling them as our own.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this program is the culmination of 6 years of learning and research. If it wasn't for the mentors and educators I have been able to learn from, none of this would have been put together.
I would like to thank (in no particular order) all of those who have provided material that I have been able to learn from: Robb Wolf, Tim Ferriss, Jade Teta, Jill Coleman, Layne Norton, Menno Hensellmens, Greg O'Gallagher, Chris Kresser, Darya Rose, all of our past and present clients and many others!
Now obviously everything can't be covered in a single blog post and there is much more that is involved in making this your easiest diet ever, but hopefully this post and the free meal template and food list has given you a great head start!
For any questions comment below or let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also available for 1-on-1 coaching consultations to help you sort everything out. Email email@example.com to book a consultation. :)
Happy Biofeedback Flexible Dieting!
Derek & Rachel
Live For Today Fitness
PS. We would love to see your progress as you take on the Biofeedback Flexible Dieting program! Use the hashtag: #BiofeedbackFlexibleDieting or #BFD and tag us as well!
See Rach's first day of Biofeedback Flexible Dieting - Full Day of Eating VLOG
Subscribe to her Ray Colvin channel by clicking HERE.
Follow our Daily(ish) VLOG Updates For Our Personal Biofeedback Flexible Dieting Journey As We Try It Out For Ourselves
Subscribe to our Live For Today Fitness channel by clicking HERE.