Flexible dieting is a quickly growing diet and one that has gained some serious traction as of late. “If it fits your macros” is a phrase often heard from “gym bros” or read on online forums to justify eating McDonald’s 4 times a day followed by an ice cream chaser. This is the reason that many feel IIFYM is a flawed diet that results in eating nutritiously lacking foods or a way to justify bad eating habits. I would argue that flexible dieting is just the opposite of that. I won’t defend the “eat anything” diet because that fundamentally misrepresents IIFYM. That is using flexible dieting as a way-out to escape having to change your own bad diet. True IIFYM advocates actually for the most part follow what some would call “healthy eating habits”, that is they eat foods that are accepted by most as “nutritious”. The difference is that flexible dieters know that fitting donuts or cookies in won’t throw their diet off. In fact, it will allow for a much better and easier to follow diet in the long run. Sweets and junk food aren’t the enemy (check out my GMOs and Organic Food blog post). No individual food or macronutrient is to blame for the obesity epidemic. Calories in vs calories out is what truly matters. Science backs this claim. Too many people are led to believe that eliminating certain foods or macronutrients from their diet is the way to lose weight and aren’t encouraged to even track their macrontrients. Again, this is not a “free pass” to go eat sweets all day as that is counterproductive in so many ways and such a misrepresentation of IIFYM. Flexible dieting simply allows for the dieter to insert treats and foods that many would call “unhealthy”. I have tried the Paleo diet and lowering my sugar intake in the past. I found that Paleo was very hard to maintain in the long run, especially for athletes (if you lift weights or engage in resistance training regularly you are an athlete) and it made me feel drained and lacking energy. Personally, IIFYM has taken my training to a much better level and allowed for me to focus more on my fitness goals as opposed to constantly making sure my food doesn’t contain _____. I would encourage anyone reading this to do some research on the topic and not just take my word for it. Again, no macronutrient individually is responsible for weight gain or weight loss. The amount of energy (kcals) you put in vs how many you spend throughout the day through exercise and normal body processes is what will cause weight gain or weight loss. Tracking your macronutrients is so easy with so many widely available apps right at your fingertips. It may take a few minutes out of your day, but like a fitness journal (see my earlier post on these) it will allow you to really see what you are eating and how your macros weigh in. It will allow you to easily see how you’re making gains and hitting goals or why you aren’t. Flexible dieting is an excuse, as many believe. It’s a stepping stone to better health and a flexible lifestyle.
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