I’ll be the first to admit that I find diets to be utterly frustrating and confusing. We’re all human beings yet there are so many different approaches to eating.
Are we all that different in how we process food?
I know there’s food allergies that may cause some deviations but how can there be so many COMPLETELY DIFFERENT trains of thought?
You got the low fat diets – unhealthy despite what the name implies.
You got the low carb or no carb diets (i.e. Atkins) – effective but unsustainable.
You got Paleo – a step in the right direction but still difficult to quantify your nutritional intake.
You got vegan and vegetarian – not bad, but difficult to eat a balanced diet.
These are just a few of the most popular diets on the market and they all preach completely different things.
So what gives? Is there no happy medium? Is there not a way to eat to achieve your goals that won’t leave you stressed out and deprived?
I’ve always been an advocate of sensible eating and everything in moderation. I’m not gonna lie though, I fell into the “carbophobia” trap for a while.
Despite maintaining a consistent 4 day a week training regimen, I still gained 25lbs of fat!
I knew something wasn’t right and I wanted to nip this shit in the bud quick! So that’s when I decided to hire a nutrition coach and I was then introduced to Flexible Dieting aka “If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)”.
Popular in the bodybuilding world, flexible dieting is slowly making its way into the mainstream and for good reason.
So what the heck is flexible dieting, you ask?
For those of you that are unfamiliar with flexible dieting, it is more of a lifestyle approach to eating than it is a diet.
The basic premise is you can eat whatever foods you want as long as you meet a certain macronutrient (protein, carbs, fats, and fiber) and caloric intake.
Of course, depending on your goals (i.e. weight loss or gain muscle), your macronutrient and caloric intake will vary but that’s about it.
This simple yet very effective approach to eating allowed me to drop 25lbs in 90 days! As someone who was never really into weighing and measuring their food, I didn’t find it to be a very difficult process.
I know that when it comes to diet, there is no “one size fits all” but flexible dieting comes with many benefits that can set you up for success. Here are some of the major benefits:
1. It’s flexible – Not to sound like a smart ass but having the ability to pick the foods you want to eat is a huge benefit.
Don’t like sweet potatoes? No problem. Don’t like chicken breast? No problem.
Just substitute with foods that you like that have a similar macronutrient make up. You never have to worry about completely eliminating your favorite foods for months on end and feeling restricted.
2. No cravings or desire to binge – There are no cheat meals because you can have whatever “junk foods” you like as long as you hit your macros for the day. Being able to eat foods like pizza and cheeseburgers from time to time will reduce the likelihood of binge eating if you don’t eliminate them altogether.
3. You can have a life – With flexible dieting, you can have a social life and go out and enjoy a meal with your friends. You don’t have to pack your food scale and tupperware with you and look like a complete idiot. Instead, just plan ahead and eat a little lighter throughout the day so you have some macros left over for a tasty dinner.
4. You can quantify everything – Unlike most diets that simply tell you what foods you can and cannot eat, flexible dieting allows you to know HOW MUCH of each macronutrient you need.
For example, if you’re just on a “clean eating” diet, you could eat 2 chicken breasts, half a sweet potato and half an avacado for lunch which are all healthy foods. However, you may have gone over on your daily caloric intake which means you could still end up gaining body fat.
On the other hand, with flexible dieting you could eat a cheeseburger, small fries, and a diet soda, hit your macros perfectly and still lose body fat.
I’m not saying that you should build your diet around fast food, in fact quite the opposite. I would say that at least 80% of your macros should come from whole, nutrient dense, unprocessed foods and the remaining 20% can be reserved for treats.
My point is calories and macros matter regardless of whether they come from “clean” or “junk” sources.
Flexible dieting addresses the quantity which is just as important as the quality.
5. You will learn a lot about food – Because you have to focus on proteins, carbs and fats, you will quickly learn the macronutrient make up of foods pretty quickly.
This was like a 90 day nutrition course for me. I can remember there were times where my protein and fat intake were almost perfect but my carbs were still a bit low and I knew I had to eat more.
In any other circumstance, if I was hungry I would just eat whatever I thought was healthy. But now knowing that I needed carbs, I simply ate an apple and a banana to hit my quota without affecting my proteins and fats.
Flexible dieting taught how me to pick the right foods to provide the right fuel source.
6. It’s sustainable – Once most diets come to an end, most people revert back to their old habits thinking that they have afforded themselves some leeway. Before you know it though, you’re right back to square one.
Having the ability to eat whatever you want in moderation drastically increases your chances of staying consistent. Once you’ve hit your goal, you can adjust your intake accordingly.
The numbers don’t lie, now you know exactly how much of each macronutrient you need to eat to maintain your desired weight.
7. It works! – There’s a saying “what gets measured, gets improved.” Flexible dieting embodies this to a T. Control your food quality AND your food quantity and you can’t lose!
25lbs in 90 days! Not bad huh?
Need help with your training and nutrition? My online training program might be just what you need!
Stay strong and stay lean,