Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#IIFYM #flexibledieting... What Are You Talking About?

About a year ago...

Scrolling, scrolling through Instagram, stop..."#IIFYM, #flexibledieting, ... #sciencebitch ... WTH are these hashtags?" Further hashtag searches led me to pictures of ice cream, cheese-topped proteins, and carbs (and I mean hundreds of grams of carbs) being eaten by incredibly lean and muscular people. My mind was blown. Who were these people and why I hadn't I heard of this sooner? The thoughts that followed consisted of skepticism.. this has to be some sort of marketing ploy, this is a fad diet....After a search on the internets, I learned that the crux of the diet is to eat to meet your daily macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fats) and fiber. You decide what to eat to fulfill your macros. Simple enough. My interest was piqued.

I soon started reading about how IFBB athlete Ava Cowan was doing a macro-based prep and so was my friend Kristy (NPC Physique athlete). These two ladies have physiques that I have been admiring for years. I needed to learn more. What about the non-competitor, would flexible dieting be sustainable? Short answer, yes.

I calculated my own macro plan based on an article I read by Sohee Lee. I maintained my a great off-season weight by gaining 10-15 pounds the first 8-weeks post show. I was eating at restaurants again and enjoying desserts. Macros was working.

Fast forward to maybe 6 months

My diet was improving. What hadn't changed was my habit of binge eating. I needed to teach myself that it was okay to eat what I wanted because it fit into my macros and to not eat as much as possible before I got caught, lol. I enlisted the help of Metabolic Evolution to help me with calculating my macros. The plan helped me get back on track. My nutrition coach helped me better understand how to build an efficient metabolism. Learning sustainable eating habits is not a race. It's a learning journey and a slow and sustainable process.

Present day

After quitting my job to move, I was a bit loose on my macros. Adjusting to this life change and the month of manual labor doing house projects was enough for me to handle. No biggie. Life happens. It's not the end of the world. It happened and now that I am adjusted here, I can work on my goals of increasing strength and decreasing body fat, along with optimizing my macros for lifting and non-lifting days.

Here are my recommended reads and resources if you are interested in IIFYM nutrition plans:
  • "How to Count Your Macros" ebook by Sohee Lee - The article I read a year ago turned into a great ebook with more details and examples on how to calculate a macros plan for yourself. The book is straightforward and practical. Bonus - Sohee responded to my tweet about reading her book! She told me to tweet her if I had any questions... how awesome is that?
  • "3 Keys to Dialing in Your Macronutrients" - Informative article on about how to calculate macros for your body type.
  • "IIFYM v. Clean Eating" - Video by Dr. Layne Norton on his opinion of IIFYM and clean eating. Dr. Norton, in my opinion, is one of the pioneers of flexible dieting and breaks down flexible dieting, metabolic damage, etc. with science.
  • "Diet Doesn't Need to Mean Denial" Article on by Sohee Lee that breaks flexible dieting myths.
I am an advocate of flexible dieting because with macro guidelines I have the most flexibility to go out and eat a restaurants or social events without feeling guilty. I haven't been dropping pounds like I did with a strict clean eating plan, but that's ok. My long-term goal is to have a sustainable fat loss. Long-term health is what is more important to me than fitting into a smaller dress size next month.

Flexible dieting is not a "quick fix" to fat loss or gaining lean muscle. It may take a couple weeks to adjust your macros to meet your goals. You are the one who has to stick to the plan, so do your research and figure out what will work for your journey.

Any thoughts on IIFYM v. Clean Eating or recommended reads about nutrition?

Happy training,