A beginners guide to flexible dieting with Jacqui Toumbas

A beginners guide to flexible dieting with Jacqui Toumbas

A structured and science-based method of eating

Photo credit:

Photographer: Valeria Ramirez Photography

Why choose flexible dieting?

The health and wellness industry is flooded with different types of diets that account for different results. From elimination diets that restrict foods or food groups to eating only “diet-friendly” foods or avoiding anything considered unhealthy, you’ll find everything. These types of diets might provide results in the short term, but can hamper maintenance and also lead to burnout.

Flexible dieting is a concept that works for everyone. You eat mostly nourishing, unprocessed foods, by also being able to enjoy foods that are less healthy. You can therefore eat a wide variety of foods in line with your lifestyle. This makes the diet enjoyable and easier to maintain.

What is flexible dieting?

Flexible dieting is a sustainable and effective approach which allows you to enjoy foods you love in moderation. It is a structured and science-based method which involves tracking the three main macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats & proteins.

Macronutrients provide your body with energy, in the form of calories and are needed to maintain your body's functions and structure

Flexible dieting involves individualised macronutrient levels which can be adjusted for muscle growth, fat loss, or weight maintenance.

How to track your macros?

Firstly, you need to understand the following:

  • BMR (Basal Metabolic rate); this is the number of calories your body needs to function at rest.
  • TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure); this is the number of calories your body burns on a day taking all the exercise and movement you do into account.

How to calculate these? You can find countless calculators online that do it for you, and to be honest, it’s the easiest way. Here is one I have used before.

Now that you know your TDEE, it’s time to define your goals and determine your macro ratio.


Weight Loss:

Calories: you need to be in a calorie deficit, I recommend reducing by 10%-20%.

Macro Ratio: somewhere within 10-30% carbs, 40-50% protein, 30-40% fat.

Muscle Gain:

Calories: you need to consume more calories than your TDEE, start by increasing by approximately 10%.

Macro Ratio: somewhere within 40-60% carbs, 25-35% protein, 15-25% fat.

                    1g Carbohydrates = 4 calories

                    1g Protein = 4 calories

                    1g Fats = 9 calories


Goal: Weight loss

TDEE: 2000 calories per day

Daily Calorie Goal: 2000 - 15% = 1700 calories

Macro Ratio:

          Carbs: 30% = 1700 calories x 30% = 510 calories. 510 calories / 4 = 127.5g carbs daily

          Proteins: 35% = 1700 calories x 35% = 595 calories. 595 calories / 4 = 148.7g proteins daily

          Fats: 35% = 1700 calories x 35% = 595 calories. 595 calories / 9 = 66.1g fats daily

Test out your numbers for 2-4 weeks and make adjustments regularly to ensure you stay on the right path to weight loss or muscle gain.