One of the non-physiological benefits of a long Sunday run (at least for me), is that my mind wanders free – often harvesting some really practical views on health and fitness.

It’s stuff that gets me excited to share, especially if it's useful.

Last Sunday morning, that topic centred on how to think about the flexible eating approach used with the Sensible Fitness Program.

You see, I find that fitness pundits either see eating (or dieting, if you like – although I hate that word), as a black or white ‘thing.’ And I don't think weight loss candidates warm to this very much.

It seems that for the fitness industry, you either eat ‘clean’, or you won’t reach appreciable goals or ‘gains.’ As with several of these rigid approaches to getting in shape, I have a big problem with eating only whole unprocessed foods.

Where’s the fun in that?

My next question is: how long can you keep it up? Until you lose those unwanted pounds, right?

Then what?

Here’s the uncomfortable truth: if you follow the conventional route to weight loss, the moment you return to your former eating style, you begin that return-journey.

Slowly and steadily, back to square one.

Unless, as I’m always harping about, you devise a sustainable and enjoyable eating plan – for life.

But most folks just don’t get it. Aside from underlying social or psychological reasons, I believe the prospect of rigid eating is why most out-of-shape people choose not to act. A major cause of the procrastination seems to come from an apprehension about having to give up the food they love so much.

But it needn’t be that way.

How so?

If you can keep to your goal-specific calorie-requirement – whether it’s for weight-loss, maintenance or building muscle – why can’t you throw in some of your trigger foods? As you might know, the sensible approach uses 80-20 (whole unprocessed food vs processed varieties), and I maintain this ratio permanently. I have no hunger pangs, feelings of deprivation or frustration.

The only tricky thing to keep in mind is that while there’s instant gratification from pleasure foods like chocolate, there’s little satiety afforded by it. Refined and sugary snacks also tend to stimulate your appetite. So you need to get the balance right between ingesting the beneficial nutrition density and satiety to carry you to you next mealtime – and at the same time enjoying your treats. Within reason, of course.

Moderation is good. Excess won’t work. Simple as that.

With practice, anyone can create this solution for themselves.

Once you’ve followed this sensible lifestyle for a couple of months, you’ll also find that it’s a beautiful thing. And you can have it for good.

Who in their right mind would squander this?

So next time you find yourself stuck, thinking that a physical transformation can only be achieved by giving up pleasure foods, imagine a life where you actually get to eat the food you dream about and live for – while staying in shape.