This is a concept I came up with to allow flexibility in your nutrition plan. To me, nutrition should not be about extreme dieting where you are either “on a diet” or “off the diet”. This sliding scale philosophy teaches you to adjust your nutrition based on where you are at in life or the goals you are aiming to achieve.
For instance, let’s say right now that 30% of your food is healthy or supportive to your goal of weight loss and 70% of your food is unhealthy or non-supportive to your goal of weight loss. You must recognize that in order to see a physical change in your body, this needs to be improved upon. This person would begin the process of sliding up the scale. It would be a mistake for this person to completely overhaul their plan and go to an extreme diet that is 90% healthy and 10% unhealthy. For most people, this is not sustainable and a recipe to fail in the plan. Instead, this individual should take one step at time. Over the next 30 days, the goal for this person would be to move to a 50% supportive/50% doesn’t support plan. This is a slow process but also more likely to be sustained over longer periods of time.
Are you following? You might be asking how do we figure out our percentages of healthy/unhealthy food intake? Simple, you need to food log for 5-7 days. In that time period, count the number of total meals. Then count up your “healthy/supportive to your goal” meals and divide by your total amount of meals. (Liquid calories count!) This will give you your healthy/supportive percentage.
Example: 5 day food log, 18 total meals, 10 of them were healthy and supported the goal, which is 55% and 8 of them were unhealthy or did not support the goal, which is 45%.
Another example is the person heading to vacation in 30 days. Say they want to tighten up their body and dial in their nutrition before vacation. Well they would slide up the scale to 85/15 over the next 4 weeks. Of course, vacation would slide back down, enjoy! But once you return back from vacation, you go right back to 85/15 for 10 days to regain your healthy habits and cleanse the body. After 10 days, this person could slide down to 75/25 because this may be their “sweet spot” in their life.
This concept could be used the rest of your life. You slide up the scale when you are aiming for a particular goal and slide down the scale when on vacation or life just gets in the way. You are not aiming for perfection here. Find your sweet spot that allows you to enjoy life but also achieve your goals. Just remember, below 30/70 leads to many health issues like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and chronic inflammation so do your best to live above that level.