A Guide to Flexible Dieting


Contrary to what most dieters seem to believe, research has routinely found that dieters who are too rigid in their behaviors, expecting perfection, not accepting even the slightest slip actually do worse than people who take more flexible approaches to dieting. A Guide to Flexible Dieting explains how being less strict about your diet can actually make it more effective.  See below for format information.

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About A Guide to Flexible Dieting

Rather than presenting a specific diet, A Guide to Flexible Dieting is a look at some of the psychological and physiological reasons why diets so often fail. Among these is the research demonstrated fact that individuals who are too rigid in their approach to dieting (e.g. expecting complete unyielding perfection at all times) are actually less successful in the long-run than individuals who are more flexible in their approach.

Building on this research, as well as looking at the physiology behind bodyweight regulation, A Guide to Flexible Dieting examines three distinct strategies that dieters can use to make their fat loss efforts more flexible. Free meals (single meals that ‘break’ the diet), refeeds (periods of deliberate high-calorie consumption) along with full diet breaks (periods of 10-14 days where active dieting is not pursued) are all discussed in detail with specific guidelines for their implementation.

Dieters who find themselves falling into the trap of “I broke my diet by eating a single cookie, I should just go ahead and eat the entire bag (and another for good measure).” should read this book to see how such rigid attitudes towards dieting are ultimately both limiting and destructive to long-term success.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: This is not your father’s diet book
Chapter 2: A brief tangent: weight vs. fat loss
Chapter 3: Why diets fail part 1: Bodyweight Regulation
Chapter 4: Why diets fail Part 2: Introduction
Chapter 5: How dieters fail diets
Chapter 6: How diets fail dieters
Chapter 7: Introduction to flexible dieting
Chapter 8: Determining your bodyfat percentage
Chapter 9: Free meals
Chapter 10: Structured refeeds: Part 1
Chapter 11: Structured refeeds: Part 2
Chapter 12: The full diet break: Introduction
Chapter 13: Eating at maintenance Non-calculating method Part 1
Chapter 14: Eating at maintenance Non-calculating method Part 2
Chapter 15: Eating at maintenance Calculation Method
Chapter 16: Moving back into dieting
Appendix 1


The following is an excerpt from the Introduction of the book

See if this sounds familiar: you’ve just started a new diet, certain that it’s going to be different this time around and that it’s going to work. You’re cranking along, adjust to the new eating (and exercise) patterns and everything is going just fine. For a while.

Then the problem hits. Maybe it’s something small, a slight deviation or dalliance. There’s a bag of cookies and you have one or you’re at the mini mart and just can’t resist a little something that’s not on your diet. Or maybe it’s something a little bit bigger, a party or special event comes up and you know you won’t be able to stick with your diet. Or, at the very extreme, maybe a vacation comes up, a few days out of town or even something longer, a week or two. What do you do?

Now, if you’re in the majority, here’s what happens: You eat the cookie and figure that you’ve blown your diet and might as well eat the entire bag. Clearly you were weak willed and pathetic for having that cookie, the guilt sets in and you might as well just start eating and eating and eating.

Or since the special event is going to blow your diet, you might as well eat as much as you can and give up, right? The diet is obviously blown by that single event so might as well chuck it all in the garbage. Vacations can be the ultimate horror, it’s not as if you’re going to go somewhere special for 3 days (or longer) and stay on your diet, right? Might as well throw it all out now and just eat like you want, gain back all the weight and then some.’

What if I told you that none of the above had to happen? What if I told you that expecting to be perfect on your diet was absolutely setting you up for failure, that being more flexible about your eating habits would make them work better? What if I told you that studies have shown that people who are flexible dieters (as opposed to rigid dieters) tend to weigh less, show better adherence to their diet in the long run and have less binge eating episodes?

Customer Feedback

“I’ve read a lot of diet books, and most have gotten me to lose weight, but this is the first book that helped me learn how to keep the weight off. And no other diet allowed me to eat the foods that I enjoyed and lose weight. This book helps you to figure out how to eat while losing, maintaining or gaining without getting into the minutia that other plans do. With this book I was able to go from around 20% bf to 14% without killing myself, and all the while maintaining the muscle mass I already had developed. I’m using right now to gain some more muscle mass while trying to limit body fat gained, with very good results thus far. I would highly recommend this as the first and possibly the last diet book that anyone could ever need.”

– Mike, Washington

“I would like to commend this easy to read book which describes in adequate detail the logic and science behind a flexible approach to dieting. This is the one for people who want to customize their own eating plans going from basic principles that work and are backed with research. This is not a cookie cutter or paint by numbers approach for dummies, but a method of thinking flexibly about the whole business of adjusting diet to suit one’s needs, whether for weight loss or maintenance.”

– Dr V Lewis. Queensland Australia

“For many people, dieting is synonymous with eating dry chicken and broccoli six times a day, starving themselves and generally feeling miserable. If more people would learn the basics of how the body mobilizes and burns fat, more people would be able to achieve their goals, lose weight and keep it off. As Lyle himself would say: The best diet is the one you can actually stick to over time, and in The Guide to Flexible Dieting book he teaches you just how to do so.

I find this book to be the best starting point for people on how to learn more about the physiology of dieting, how to implement dieting principles based on science which works time and time again, avoiding the most common errors, implementing free meals and refeeds to make the diet even more effective (nothing is called “cheating” or “breaking the diet” here), and how to move back to maintaining your weight in a simple and easy way – even without counting calories. This is the best book for everyone who is tired of failing on their diets, or their diets failing them – and I highly recommend it for those who want to learn the mindset of successful dieters instead of strict meal plans which never work anyway.”

Borge (aka Blade) – Norway

Additional information

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E-book (Kindle + PDF), Softcover, Softcover + E-book (Kindle + PDF)

2 reviews for A Guide to Flexible Dieting

  1. Stephen kendall

    A diet book like no other. Explains all aspects of dieting and more importantly how to schedule free meals, refeeds and diet breaks.

    Also goes in detail about what to do after you go off the diet.

  2. Kurt

    I bought this in 2005 or 2006 and nobody was talking about diet breaks and refeeds on long diets when this came out, the common advice was to just use “willpower” to stick it out. If there was ever a clear example of Lyle being far ahead of the fitness game (or rather, the rest of the field catching up) – this is it.

    The advice given is just as useful today as it was then and I highly recommend it.

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