*kiss, kiss* Welcome back! If you read through Part I – first, bless your heart. And two, here is part…two.
Okay, so I left off talking about my disastrous venture into what I now refer to as the nazi regime diet. Eating far too little, far too limited foods, extreme scheduling and feeling tired and crappy. No bueno.
I also mentioned that right after beginning the nazi plan, I had began to do a lot of research. I mean, a lot. When I’m intrigued by something, I will hunt down all the info. That is actually how my Paleo journey had began over four years ago. What I began researching was: Flexible Dieting. And all thanks to discovering Krissy Mae Cags’ Instagram (@kmaecags).
This is another novel of a blog – brace yourself, grab an iced coffee and enjoy. Click here to move forward:
Feel free to lurk on her on your own. If you do, you’ll see her advocating eating doughnuts – or your choice treat, so as long as it fits your macronutrient goals and still reaching your fitness and weight goals. For example, she has one doughnut a day before she trains. Eats 2,000+ kcals daily, trains like a beast, yet looks like that. Amazing. I was so intrigued by the sheer amount of food she can consume while remaining strong, lean, etc. And, the more I read, I come to see that you can eat “flexibly”, as long as you eat within your macros, and also LOSE weight/body fat if that’s your goal. WHAT.
At first it had my interest, now it had my full blown attention. So I looked more into Krissy and how everyone recommends her Flexible Dieting ebook. I held off for the meantime and kept researching. Beyond Krissy, I found a couple other IG’s that follow this “flexible dieting”, and a couple of them happen to also CrossFit and also come from a Paleo background (Riki and Trina). Even more intrigued. Other professionals in the industry that I came upon include Kyle Hunt Fitness and Dr. Layne Norton and Sohee Lee. Knowledge is power, yo.
So, to get to the nitty gritty – what the heck is Flexible Dieting (also known as IIFYM/If It Fits Your Macros)?
Flexible Dieting (or IIFYM) is basically the tracking of macronutrients (Fat, Carbs/Fiber and Protein to the gram – NOT percentages) to achieve a specific personal goal whether it is to lose weight / body fat, maintain or bulk (gain muscle). All of these are (or should be) calculated based on your current weight, body fat, LBM and current activity levels. Don’t you love all the math and science?!?!?
Ok, I don’t. I hate math. But, that’s not the point. As i hammered on with my research, I also noticed all the negativity surrounding this lifestyle. This is mainly due to what many Flexible Dieters and IIFYM’ers post on their blogs and Instagram – them enjoying a doughnut, a cupcake, a cookie, a Poptart (this is a big one), Oreos, ice cream and any and all treats you can think of. It gets referred to as the “junk food diet” often.
Guess I don’t blame people. If you search the hashtags #iifym or #flexiblediet on Instagram, that is the majority of what you will find. That and/or NPC chicks – but I won’t get into that. But, if you take the time to read into it more – that is by far not all one can eat on this “diet”. There is no way someone can fulfill their macros (and micros – yes, those count, too) by just eating desserts (or treat of choice). No way. Good luck trying.
If you’re wondering how this comes into play in my life? I bought Krissy Mae Cagney’s Flexible Dieting eBook – a 30 page easy and interesting read. Well, the more and more I read (on her ebook and elsewhere), the more calculations I tried on my own, the more I realized that I would need to embark on a Reverse Diet portion of Flexible Dieting. Basically, I had unknowingly been eating far too little (even before nazi plan) considering how much I train and overall activity level. I was sitting at about 1200-1300 kcals – max. I unknowingly developed a fear of eating more for fear of weight gain – as so happened quite easily. And having been Paleo for the last 4+ years, also developed fears of specific foods. Therefore, more and more sounding like my body was in semi-starvation mode and holding onto fat without me knowing. According to many resources, it is recommended that someone who has been low carb for a long time and has had a low calorie intake, should first do a reverse diet. The explanation below is from fellow Tumblr, ClassyGFitness (with a few added points by me) and I thought it was one of the most concise explanations out there:
Reverse dieting increases your calories week by week in very small increments (usually increases all of my macros by 10 g of carbohydrates and 1 g fats weekly) – protein remains the same normally. Reverse dieting is usually implemented by individuals that are looking to reset, or raise their metabolic capacities after coming out of a cut (caloric deficit) or those who have mistakenly done some serious metabolic damage through excess cardio and lowering essential macronutrients to the e x t r e m e , but unfortunately, our body does not always abide on the same principle. You go too hard? Things can shut-down! Trust me, I know from personal experience. However ‘weight gain’ is definitely not the goal, despite the fact that you are adding calories weekly. If done carefully, that will not happen. The ultimate goal is to get total calories as high as possible before you start to see that scale weight start to increase. Then, you will know your maintenance. Which is MUCH higher than most people think.
There you have it. I trust that I have done plenty of research on my own for this – and continuing to do so – and am ready to move forward with it. In fact, I have. I officially started on September 10th under the watchful eye of my Coach, Riki Long. She is flat out awesome. She is a CrossFit coach and athlete, olympic weightlifting competitor and also comes from a Paleo background. She’s a firm believe that Paleo made her fat. That on Paleo, she wasn’t making the gains she wanted to be. Yes, I know there are plenty of people that eat Paleo and make gains. I get it. But I tried it for so long without the results I wanted. Only insane people keep doing something with the same result. Time for a change. Those things alone made me want to hire her but knowing that she worked closely with Krissy herself, was the nail on the coffin. Oh, did I mention she is teeny tiny but oh so freakin’ strong? She continues to make gains at 4’11 and 116lbs and will be very soon competing in a weightlifting meet. Looking at her, the proof is in the pudding. Wait, is that even a saying?
Just so you have an idea what I was roughly having before starting, here was my rough intake:
Cals: 1163 F: 35g C: 83g P: 129
Oh, so low.
Now, before I reveal my new macro goals, keep in mind that these were customized JUST FOR ME. This is NOT a cookie cutter program. These numbers are based off my current body composition, weight, measurements, diet history, training, before photos and my goals. Mine will be different than yours. I am technically on a cut (caloric deficit based from my BMR). But, in my eyes it is a reverse diet, because my intake will be slowly increasing. Hell, considering how little I apparently was eating before, this seems like a bulk to me. Ready? My new macro goals are:
Cals: 1624 F: 52g C: 159g P: 130g – holy crap.
That is literally what I sent my coach when she sent me those numbers. Holy cow. But you know what, it’s only been a few days, and yes, it is a struggle (physically and mentally) to meet my macros due to the amount, but I’m getting used to it. The tracking of macros, all the weighing, measuring and calculating makes my brain hurt – I am NOT a math whiz. But I must say, it is also SO refreshing so far.
It’s true, I do. Who doesn’t? Refreshing, but it is still a huge mental battle for me as well. Eating “clean” for so long, makes it VERY hard to wrap my head around eating things like bread, cheese, rice, beans, even pizza. If you know me, I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth. Not that I think it’s gross, I just don’t crave the stuff like many do. But, trying out few little things here and there. I am working on not feeling guilty for having these foods. To not think of them as the devil or “bad”. Trying to have a better relationship with food – so as long as it fits my macros!
In summary, in the end flexible dieting advocates being able to eat what you want but in moderation so that you never feel the need to binge or “cheat”, because it can all be built into your daily life. Going out at night for dinner? You can save a good chunk of your macros for that night by eating light meals during the day. Little things like that. You adjust as you see fit. Speaking of, though this topic has two sides to it, generally meal TIMING is not important at all. Carbs after dark? Not an issue. Unless you are a hard training athlete (workout multiple times a day), there is no meal timing or “prime” times to have specific foods.
Phew! That was a LONG one. If you made it here, wow, I commend you. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything and that most things went answered. Granted, I’m sure I left some holes in there, but people, please try to educate yourselves and also do your own research if this is something that interests you. This is definitely not for everyone, I would never try to push it on anyone, just like I would not have liked it if someone pushed it on me. I discovered it on my own. If you do decide to try it, let me know!
Disclaimer: It is CLEARLY too soon to tell if there have been any changes to my composition, so there will not be any photos…yet. Most my posts come from Instagram (@myquirkylife) and they will feature some of the nom I am now having – so different than Paleo, though I still try to have mostly non-processed protein and veggies.
Stay tuned! And, for sticking around: