Diet/nutrition is the most important thing when it comes to weight management. You may have heard the saying “you cant out exercise a bad diet” and while this is true in theory, it doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the foods you like and still get results. What?
After experimenting with every way to lose weight under the sun - low cal, low carb, clean eating and crash diets (I even tried that stupid lemon detox diet years ago – don’t ever ever ever ever try this BTW) – and after completely and utterly wrecking my metabolism and my relationship with food, I came across this wonderful magical thing called flexible dieting or IIFYM (if it fits your macros). It. Is. Amazing.
In a nutshell you can eat the foods you like (anything… yes A-NY-THING you like) but the catch is that you can only do so in moderation. Not a bad catch to be honest. And it WORKS. I have had the most success with this approach and this is shown in my dexa scan results. I also no longer have cravings or succumb to binging like I used to, and have learnt to enjoy all foods in moderation instead of labelling foods as good or bad. They are ALL good, in moderation (even refined sugar, shock horror yes I eat tim tams and lollies check my instagram account for proof!)
IIFYM is not counting calories, but it is a similar concept. Flexible dieting is counting macronutrients. Macros are proteins, fats, carbs, and we will also count fibre. This form of “dieting” recognises that each individual has their own specific macronutrient requirements, specific to their goals. It also recognises that whereas you may be used to eating chicken and broccoli to get lean, there is no reason why you cannot swap that chicken for a different form of protein with the same macronutrient profile.
It does not matter WHERE you get your proteins, fats and carbs from, it only matters the AMOUNT you have.
Now I know what you’re thinking, you can’t possibly get all of your carbs from sugar and still function normally. No, that is not the idea. By default you end up consuming mainly whole foods, as you need to hit your fibre (which is difficult if you just eat junk) and other micronutrients (vitamins/minerals etc) however as long as these micronutrient daily totals are satisfied then you are able to make up the rest of your macronutrients with “junk” if you wish. The idea is to have the supposed naughty foods whenever you feel like it but just in smaller amounts. All foods really are fine in moderation. Even gluten (to which only a very small percentage of the population is actually allergic), sugar, WHITE CARBS, pizza and fat and so on. What matters is the amount of these foods you have, and whether you like them or not. If you like something have it, if not don’t.
It can be a little tricky at first, but it gets much easier. It also makes you more aware of what you are eating, and enables you to make better choices.
If you want to use over half of your daily fat allowance for one piece of cake, then that is up to you. I have done it, and it was actually really interesting to see how such a small (ok medium) sized piece of cake stacked up against my whole days requirements. It was approx. 1/3 of my total carbs for the day, and over 1/2 of my total fat for the day. Do I do that every day? Hell no. But I was able to enjoy cake for my partner’s birthday without having to go without, which is what I would have had to do previously, or wait for a “cheat meal”.
Speaking of cheat meals…. My post “Clean Eating vs IIFYM” covers these off…
As for IIFYM or flexible dieting, one of the reasons I believe it is so successful is because it is sustainable long term. If something is too limited, and you are hungry all the time then it’s very difficult to stick to.
It also helps people become aware what is in the food they’re eating, and thus makes it easier to make healthier choices. It has fixed the issues I used to have with cravings and binging, and there is a lot of science and research to back it up, along with my own personal results, which I cover in my post “Calories In vs Calories Out.”
The key for a successful nutrition plan is to find something that works for you. I personally think IIFYM is the best way to do this. Some people prefer “clean eating” and having a cheat or binge meal once a week. I do not think this is an effective way to be eating and think it causes a lot of problems with peoples relationships with food, however if you’re happy sticking to chicken and broccoli every day then that is entirely up to you. I simply voice my opinions on what I have tried, and what I think works or doesn’t work with my reasoning behind these opinions. I hope the information I post is useful to you on your weight loss journey.