Let’s keep some themes going, shall we? It will keep me covering topics that interest me and not to mention keep me accountable in blogging regularly. Mondays will be for all things food, whether it’s a delicious restaurant I visited and have to rave about, or if I had an awful experience at a restaurant or cooking that I have to rant about, or about an adventure or realization in flexible dieting. Welcome to Eat It. Today’s edition? I Don’t Always Eat Like An Asshole.
Due to posts from flexible dieters and IIFYMers all around the interwebs – specially on Instagram (just peek look through #flexibledieting and #iifym on Instagram to get a taste) – it very well seems that all we eat are treats and desserts like donuts or pizza or or Poptarts or pancakes or [insert carb-heavy and fat-heavy food choice].
Bursting That Bubble
Hate to burst that bubble to those non-flexible dieters and naysayers out there, but it’s just not true. That food is just more fun to post. And the intended reason, beyond fun, is to show that these foods aren’t “bad” or “dirty” as many other diets perceive them to be, all while still being able to reach your goals. They can be had, just in a controlled manner. It’s all about moderation and portion control. Sure, I can have the ONE donut as pre-workout fuel. Key word: ONE. And it would be tracked. I normally would not go and have four donuts in one sitting because YOLO. It would be leave me little to no carbs and fats left in my day to eat and would be having to stuff my face with just protein (believe me, that is no fun) and my fiber intake would not have been met. I see a salted caramel donut, and beyond thinking “hnnnnnnnng gimmeeeeeee,” I also think to myself, “well alright, that is roughly 20g fat 50g carbs, minimal proteins….can this sucker fit in my macros today? Maybe half of one?” And if I really want it, I’d proceed to check My Fitness Pal to see where I’m at with my macro intake so far.
It is all calculated and measured to fit within my macronutrient allowance. Over consumption of anything is bad. In reality, most of my meals (90%) are nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, lean proteins, etc.
Sure, some Macro Monsters (ugh, hate those lucky bastards), specially in a bulk or reverse dieting phase, may be able to fit four (or more) donuts into their daily intake but that is on top of getting all their vitamins and minerals (aka micronutrients) intake the rest of the day, which is priority number one. And sometimes, calorically dense food just makes sense to meet your daily goals. Think about it, if someone needs to eat 300g+ of carbs and 150g+ fat daily, it would take that person stuffing their face with a ridiculous amount of vegetables. Ugh. And talk about bloat hell.
What People Don’t Realize
People become attracted to flexible dieting because they see folks enjoying food that is normally considered a “cheat” without a care in the word and still have an awesome body. What they don’t realize is the hard work it takes to be successful in flexible dieting. There is NO magic here. It takes a lot of discipline, time, patience, calculating and compromise. You have to weigh all your food, plan ahead, balance out your macros throughout the day so that you’re not left with only protein to eat at the end of the day. It’s never fun to be left with one macronutrient group at the end of the day (picture having to eat a big spoon of just butter because you only had fats left or turkey deli slices because you only had protein left to finish). If you’ve never weighed or measured or tracked your food intake, the adjustment period is pretty hard and roughly 2-3 weeks. Shit is hard specially if you’re beginning. It’s hard and time consuming and that is when people tend to fall off the wagon with excuses that they don’t have time.
The Bottom Line
Every flexible dieter has their own set of macronutrients that have been tailored to their goal whether it is fat loss, maintain, body recomposition or building muscle mass. Chances are if you’re going for fat loss, and you have a ways to go, you will eventually get to a point where your macros will be fairly low and you won’t have much (if any) room to sneak in those high carb / high fat treats. Times of sacrifice for your goals. Specifically for weight class sports where the number on the scale matters. But, keep in mind, it is still a flexible diet and of course there are days when you shouldn’t beat yourself up and be a slave to your numbers for example big special occasions such as an overseas vacation or wedding, etc. Or simply when your brain needs rest after a long and hard deficit.
This is the main reason I have stuck with flexible dieting for the past two years: Sustainability. I don’t feel deprived. Nor do I have this laundry list of DO NOT EAT foods. Of course, it still has its tough moments, specially when on a fat loss cut, and traveling or wanting more of something delicious than you’re able to fit. Real talk? I can throw down a whole medium pizza, maybe even a large, in one sitting by myself. Full order of truffle fries? I can take it on, no problem, bottomless pit. Full order of nachos? That’s right. But will I? No. I’ve been fluffy before and I’d rather not go back to full fluff. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and I’m not even done, so why back track? But do I zero out my macros every single day? No. I’m not a robot, I have my days when everything is shitty and I go over or when I’m not hungry at all and end up under on daily intake. But there is no sense in going on a bingeing bender and backtrack my progress so much that it would take twice as long to reverse the effects. Is all the tracking, weighing, time and planning worth it? Absolutely.
But don’t just take my word for it. I am by no means a professional or qualified BUT I have done my research (I’m a nerd that likes to know the whys and hows and ask a shit load of questions), so if you’re looking for legitimate sources of information on the science behind how the human body really processes nutrients, then please look into Dr. Layne Norton, one of the pioneers of flexible dieting.
I am happy to answer any questions about flexible dieting through my experience, what has worked for me in adjusting, making it easier, tips and tricks, etc. Just let me know in the comments.