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Q&A with The Flexible Dieting Coach Erik Young

Q&A with The Flexible Dieting Coach Erik Young

Today we have Lauryn’s diet coach, Erik Young on the blog.

He’s been working with Lauryn for 3 years and she’s always talking about how much he’s helped her lose weight and still eat what she loves. A couple years ago he was on the The HIM & HER Show talking about is counterintuitive approach to get your body back on track, lose weight (or gain weight) and still eat what you love. He’s worked with celebrities like Hilary Duff, Ashley Tisdale, Molly Sims, LeAnne Rimes and a number of soap stars.

Erik is here to answer all our questions about losing weight, exercise, and adapting a healthier relationship when it comes to food and dieting.

With that, let’s welcome Erik to the blog.


Q&A with The Flexible Dieting Coach Erik Young

Introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential audience. 

Erik Young: Hi! My name is Erik Young and I am a nutrition coach. I work with everyday lifestyle clients as well as celebrities and athletes.  My passion is showing clients that there is a better way to improve their body composition without drastically changing the foods they eat. There are so many “dieting” options available these days but one thing to keep in mind is it needs to be sustainable. 

I have been doing this full-time since 2011 and love every second of it. My goal is to teach and guide clients so they will never have to worry about dieting again. They will have learned all the tools they need to maintain their physique once their goal is reached. 

What is flexible eating?

EY: Flexible eating is not a diet,  it is more of a lifestyle. Flexible eating involves counting and measuring foods to control calories and intake of macronutrients: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It promotes the notion that there are no “bad foods” and allows you to choose any food, as long as it fits within your macronutrient needs.

As a coach, I like to use the 80/20 rule. 80% whole foods and 20% “fun foods.” With the 80% whole foods comes healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. Fiber is also very important and will be included in the 80%. The fun foods would be anything processed really. It could be chips, bread, chocolate or cereal. Like I said above there is no “bad” food. If you are craving something sweet we just have to make it fit into the plan for that specific day. 

What’s more important for weight loss, exercise or diet?

EY: Hands down diet is more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. With that being said, getting your body moving will definitely help the cause. Eating less food and putting yourself in a caloric deficit is how to effectively lose weight. We have many clients that have families that work or go to school and just don’t have time to exercise during the day. They are still able to be successful and reach their goals. Ideally, diet and exercise is where it’s at! I don’t want to discount being active.

What’s an unsuspecting culprit of not losing weight?

EY: There are a few different things. 1. Food could be the culprit. In order to see fat loss you have to be in a caloric deficit. Let’s say you’re only eating 1300 cal and not losing weight. You want to start seeing changes so you cut out carbs for lunch and dinner. So now you are eating 1 cup less carbs a day since you were eating 1/2 cup rice or potatoes for lunch and dinner. That is only 160 cals a day less than what you normally eat. That’s not enough food to take away each day to make an impact. So in my opinion, not knowing your current caloric intake makes it impossible to know how big of a deficit you are in.

2. Alcohol could be a factor, even if you are compensating your carbs earlier in the day for alcohol. In my experience, if you’re drinking 4 or less drinks a week, you can still lose weight. During Covid times I definitely added wine to 80% of my client’s plans. Once you start having more than 4 a week weight loss starts to slow down. 

Lauryn gym

Tell us your favorite success story.

EY: My favorite success story was a client that I coached a couple years ago. When she came to me she had just gained about 15 pounds after eating very low calories for a sustained period of time. She was eating super healthy and lots of whole foods, but ended up binging two or three days a week on sweets and carbs. Basically everything she wasn’t eating.

Her goal was to change her relationship with food, lose the weight she gained,  and get her monthly cycle back from almost a year of very low calories. We worked together for about 13 months. During that time, I was slowly able to add in food over the next six months. She went from about 650 cal to 1500 cal. Her meal plans were flexible and she never felt like she was on a diet. The binges went away because of that. Her cycle ended up coming back around month 5 when we hit 1400 cals. During our time the weight ended up coming off and she couldn’t have been happier! This success story hit everything. Hormones, physical health, and mentally changed her relationship with food.

Can you tell us about some exciting celebrities you worked with like Molly Sims and Hilary Duff?

EY: Totally!  I’ve work with a handful of celebs that are on soap operas. General Hospital, Days Of Our Lives, The Bold and The Beautiful. Those clients are Kelly Brooks, Darren Brooks, Kirsten Storms, Emme Ryan, Camilla Luddington, and Marla Sokoloff. I worked with a couple music artists/ like Bebe Rexha, Sam Fisher, LeAnn Rimes, and Eddie Cibrian. I also worked with Ashley Tisdale, Mandy Moore, and Savannah Chrisley. I worked with a couple MLB pitchers also. It doesn’t matter if you are a celeb, athlete, or just someone looking to improve their physique while eating foods you love. We can help!

When you first started working with Lauryn, what was the biggest change you made to her diet?

EY: Lauryn and I started working together at the end of 2020. When she gave me her food journal, she was pretty low on her protein intake. She was eating 3-4 ounces of protein for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was hit or miss with protein.  Now she’s eating protein for her 3 main meals and she’s averaging 5oz of meat for lunch/dinner.

We also incorporated a collagen protein powder that she interchanges with a whey protein powder daily. Carbs have always been moderate, we have never really restricted those. The second significant change was the amount of food. She came to me after she had already cut calories on her own. She saw some changes, but then she plateaued. Her body had adapted to those lower calories so I needed to add food.  With the protein increase and the slow addition of calories over the next 3-4 months her body started responding very well and weight was coming off. 

Starting major lifestyle changes can be hard for some. What are some mindset shifts you encourage in your clients who are having a hard time with changes?

EY: I’m always telling clients to give themselves grace. They have to understand that not every day will be perfect. As long as they are making the effort to do better, that’s all that matters. 

If they do get off plan for a meal one day it’s not the end of the world. The week is NOT ruined and they don’t need to return to bad habits and start over the next week. I always say one bad meal will not ruin your physique. Just like one good meal won’t give you abs.  At the end of the day, this isn’t a race. It’s a marathon. I’m trying to help clients build lifelong habits to support their individual goals. It takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. 

I also tell them not to compare their progress to others. Everyone’s body has been through different situations that could cause them to lose slower than others. As long as we are moving in the right direction even if it is slower progress, it’s still progress and positive. 

If you have a client with the worst diet you’ve ever seen, who doesn’t exercise, what change would you implement for them first so they don’t feel overwhelmed?

EY: Honestly, it just depends on what their food situation looks like. If they are eating out a couple times a day then I would put plans together and still have them eat out. One of the meals out they could still get a meal they would normally order. The other meal out, I would have them do something healthier but still eating out. I would fill in snacks that are lower calorie but higher volume so they would stay more full. 

Another option would be to have the client just eat  50% less of their normal meal size for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Still eating the same foods but cut them in half.  Then, I would fill in the snacks with lower calorie food to keep them more full. 

What’s a book or resource or podcast you recommend to all your clients?

EY: The HIM & HER Show of course. And Alan Aragon’s book Flexible Dieting.

Where can everyone find you? Pimp yourself out. 

EY: Instagram and my website


Be sure to check out Erik’s podcast episode here and follow him on Instagram for client transformations, hot tips and quick recipes to up your protein intake.

x, The Skinny Confidential team

+ The best foods for hair skin and nails.

++ What Lauryn eats in a day here.


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