If you missed part 1 of this article, you can check it out at PaulNotSmall.com –
After reading the first part, I know you’re now kind of on board with this flexible dieting malarkey. You’re thinking “I like the idea of getting shredded while eating crisps, cookies, ice cream and cake. It certainly beats my tuna, rice and broccoli.”
Hey, I’m with you, IIFYM and flexible dieting are the mutt’s nuts.
But, if you’re still unconvinced (for which I don’t blame you – eat what you want and look awesome does sound like some amazingly spammy American infomercial, or black magic) then hopefully this should clear up any lingering doubts you may have…..
– “I get that I can eat this stuff and lose weight, but what are the benefits from a health standpoint? Wouldn’t I be better eating all clean foods and getting more nutrients”
Ah, the eternal “more nutrients = healthier diet/ better physique” argument.
On the face of it, it makes sense. If fruits, veggies and whole-grains are good, why not just eat more of those, instead of junk?
Once again, it comes down to the idea of a budget.
When your calories are lower, you will migrate more towards these kinds of foods as they’re more filling, and you want to get the most nutritional bang for your calorie buck. But when your calories are moderate to high, eating a large amount of “healthy” foods poses several problems.
It can be incredibly difficult to get 500 grams of carbs from all “clean” sources. You’ll get so bloated and full, you’ll often feel physically sick, and with all that fibre, you’d better have some Gaviscon at hand. Unless you’ve got an endless appetite and a cast iron gut, there’s no way you can get this number of calories from low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods – you need some higher-calorie, lower-nutrient ones too.
There’s also the issue of deprivation and eating for pleasure. If you CAN eat your favourite not-so-clean foods and reach your goals, why wouldn’t you? Mentally, you’re far more likely to stick to a diet when allowing yourself to eat a wide range of foods and not forcing any restrictions on yourself.
– “Do I get cheat meals?”
No. That’s the awesome thing about IIFYM – there are no cheat meals.
Because you can eat “cheat” foods on a daily basis, there’s no need to go out and binge on crap.
I say “binge,” because that’s what cheat meals are. People who have cheat meals kid themselves that they’re getting a metabolism boost – that a higher carb, higher calorie intake will keep fat loss ticking over and provide better results in the long run.
The truth? Cheat meals are rarely just meals. They turn into hour/day/week-long binges, with no sense of control and can often lead to you feeling guilty for your lack of discipline, and plunging into days of low-carb eating and endless cardio sessions in an attempt to rid yourself of your cheat meal-induced bloat and get yourself back on track.
In essence, cheat meals are a form of disordered eating, as they encourage feelings of guilt, binge/restriction cycles and create a poor relationship with food.
Eating cheat foods in moderation with IIFYM takes self-discipline and control. Even if evidence was to arise saying that small amounts of nutrient-deficient foods consumed on a regular basis was detrimental to health and body composition goals, I’d argue that this is still a healthier approach than developing an eating disorder.
– “All that counting and tracking takes so much time.”
It does take some time, but I’d wager you’ve got time for it.
If something’s important, you can always make time to do it.
Also, how much time have you spent today on Facebook? What about Twitter or Instagram? Idly flicking TV channels, or staring blankly into space?
See, we all have dead time – and that’s time that could be used to track macros. It’s so easy to track on your phone, laptop, or tablet, and with a tonne of free apps and websites, there’s no excuse for not tracking.
– “If I don’t have to eat certain fruits and vegetables, doesn’t that lead to nutrient deficiencies?”
A typical clean diet is more likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies than IIFYM.
Have you ever looked at a “clean” bodybuilding cutting diet?
It’ll be based mainly around a few basic foods – usually chicken breast, egg whites, maybe some steak, brown rice, tuna, oats and protein powder. You might have a few different green veggies in there, but that’s about it.
On the whole though, there will rarely be any dairy, no starchy vegetables (bar the odd sweet potato,) oily fish is a seldom addition, and fruit is virtually non-existent. All that, plus the fact that the protein sources won’t stray much from the above, and you can forget about plant proteins like beans and pulses, means that your clean diet suddenly isn’t looking too healthy.
With IIFYM on the other hand, you can eat different foods every single day.
That means a wide array of meat and fish, dairy aplenty, more fruits and vegetables than you can shake a stick at, and you’ve still got room for “junk.”
Plus, if you’re THAT worried, you can always take a multivitamin, and it’s problem solved.
– “People say I need to count the calories from vegetables. That can’t be true, can it? Aren’t they a free food.”
Vegetables are undoubtedly awesome, as they provide a load of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but that doesn’t mean they don’t contain calories.
It’s very hard to over-eat vegetables, but it is possible. If you’re at your maintenance calorie intake, then eat 200 calories of vegetables on top every day, that will put you at 1,400 calories over maintenance for the week – enough to gain a pound of fat in two-and-a-half weeks.
As it’s so easy to track all your food, I do recommend keeping an eye on your veggie intake. That being said, if you’d rather not, just save 100-200 calories every day for green and brightly-coloured vegetables, and don’t stress too much over tracking them.
– “Flexible Dieting is for Lazy People”
I find this myth particularly amusing.
Finding enjoyable, healthy foods to fit your macronutrients actually takes quite a bit of thought, planning and creativity. The tracking process is, as discussed already, relatively pain-free and easy, but it certainly requires more thought process than simply sticking to a rigid plan.
This is one of the main bonuses of IIFYM though – it gets you to think for yourself.
You learn about nutrition, macronutrients and food, helping you get a better handle on what works best for you, rather than blindly following some plan with no real clue why you’re doing so.
Plus, I take issue with the “lazy” assumption – I work damn hard to fit ice cream into my cutting macros on a daily basis!
Berto Nunez enjoying a little flexible dieting feast before stepping on stage looking like this….
What do you Think?
Have I suitably busted some myths?
Maybe you’ll be a reformed “clean eater” like me!
Hopefully whatever you feel, this has given you some food for thought.
To get started with an IIFYM approach to fat loss or muscle gain, visit http://www.healthylivingheavylifting.com/online-coaching/ or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
To purchase your IIFYM/ Flexible Dieting Tees, Hoodies and Apparel, visit http://www.healthylivingheavylifting.com/shop/Tags: cheat meal, flexible dieting, IIFYM, nutrition, pizza
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