I don’t like the word diet because it implies a temporary way of eating to lose weight. Most “diets” are complete bullshit and are only designed to sell a book or program to suckers looking for a quick fix.
If you look at most of the popular diets you’ll notice they usually involve starving you or completely cutting out carbs. Now we know that the weight loss from cutting carbs is only temporary, but most people aren’t educated on the subject enough to know that.
Our diet is just the way we eat at any given time. Whether you’re trying to gain or lose weight, you have a diet. See, if these health gurus taught you how to really diet then you wouldn’t need to buy any more of their bullshit diet programs would you? So it’s in their interest to get you temporary results, just enough to convince you that their diet plan works. However, they rely on the rebound effect of those diets to make you gain all that weight and more back so you are ready to buy the next program.
The foundation of my diet approach is based on flexible dieting. I’ll explain what that is, the pros and cons and I’ll address the negative stereotypes associated with it. Then I’ll breakdown my philosophy on how we should approach what we eat.
What is Flexible Dieting?
First you should read my article on tracking macros so this makes more sense.
Flexible dieting is the theory that once you calculate what your macronutrient needs are, you can eat whatever you want to fill those macro needs. The idea is that instead of following a diet that restricts what you eat, you can eat whatever you want – as long as it fits your macros. The primary benefit here is that you can have a diet that you never struggle to stick to.
See, the way these health gurus scam people is by convincing people that there is such a thing as good carbs or bad carbs. Not only is that complete bullshit, but it’s been overwhelmingly proven false by science. Regarding body composition (bodyfat % and lean mass %), there is no such thing as a “bad” food – assuming it fits into your macronutrient needs.
Let me make myself clear, I personally don’t think you should build a diet on fast food and candy. However, when it comes to losing fat or gaining muscle you CAN do that. If you don’t care about your health, but only care about a six pack then by all means have at it.
Flexible dieting was theorized so we could eat whole, micronutrient-dense foods 90% of the time and leave room in our macros for our guilty pleasures. That way we can be healthy and fit, but still get to eat our favorite treats. Do you see how that would be easy to stick to?
The problem is that flexible dieting has gotten a bad rap from people who abuse it. If you aren’t familiar with the acronym IIFYM it means “if it fits your macros” and this is what people say to justify eating garbage.
The IIFYM Trend
The IIFYM crowd has further proved what those in the science community have been preaching. When it comes to body composition, our bodies don’t care if we get our carbs from brown rice, white rice or even table sugar.
Humans are prone to taking advantage of technicalities and this is no different. The IIFYM crowd brags about the candy, ice cream, pizza, etc. that they eat while still reaching all of their body composition goals.
The problem with this is that it makes the entire idea of flexible dieting look bad. People will criticize flexible dieting and say it isn’t healthy because of all the shit the IIFYM crowd brags about eating. However, the intent of flexible dieting wasn’t to try to eat as much garbage as we could get away with – it was about a balanced lifestyle that supports your health goals without feeling like punishment.
Just search ‘IIFYM’ on Instagram if you don’t believe how ridiculous they have gotten. If you aren’t familiar with flexible dieting or IIFYM you will probably be in disbelief. However, I can tell you from firsthand experience that following IIFYM works.
To test this, a few years ago, I dropped 10 lbs of fat while eating MOSTLY fast food for a couple months. I had to do it myself to believe it and sure enough, it works.
My Diet Philosophy
In my fitness journey, I’ve found a way of eating that allows me to be healthy, eat what I want, manipulate my body composition however I want and never starve. Here are the main principles in my diet approach.
- Flexible Dieting
I track my macros and try to fill those macros with mostly micronutrient-dense (tons of vitamins and minerals) foods and leave a little room for fun food. I also track fiber intake; I like to get in 30-40 grams of fiber a day.
That means most of my diet is made up of lean meats, fruit, veggies, rice, beans, avocados, MCT oil and nuts. I also eat a strawberry popsicle (Trader Joe’s brand) every night as well.
It’s all about balance with an emphasis on health.
- High Caloric Intake
Food is fuel. The problem is that we get fat when we eat more fuel than we need. That means if you want to eat more calories, you need to be more active.
Why not just be sedentary and eat less? A sedentary lifestyle is bad for humans, physically and psychologically. We are animals. Have you ever regretted a workout? Have you ever regretted sitting on your ass all day? My point exactly.
More food means more micronutrients. If you are eating whole foods, just think of how many more vitamins and minerals you would get if you consumed an extra 1000 calories a day. Those micronutrients won’t get you a six pack, but they will help your body function optimally and health is more important than a thigh gap.
The good news is you can eat more and still look good. You just have to increase your activity level.
Using the fuel analogy from before – would you rather be a Prius or a Ferrari?
We look better and feel better when our maintenance caloric requirement is higher. Why do you think anorexic people look so deathly? It’s not just because they are starved for calories, but they are most likely deficient in many vitamins and minerals.
The final benefit of a higher calorie diet I want to mention is the ability to lose weight while eating more food. Would you rather lose weight on 2000 calories a day or 2800 calories? Which one do you think would be easier to stick to?
Start moving more.
- No “Clean/Dirty” Classifications of Food
You’ve been sold a lie. Natural food is just a myth. It’s not so black and white, you have to open your mind up a little.
There’s no such thing as a good person or a bad person in real life. All people have good and bad qualities. Some people have more good qualities and some people have more bad qualities.
That’s how food is also. Some foods have more micronutrients than others, some have a different macronutrient profile than others and some are more natural than others.
When you hear someone classifying broad groups of food as good or bad, clean or dirty, or anything similar – that should be a red flag that this person might be a fucking idiot.
We are all guilty of using these terms, but it comes down to how you define those terms. Anyone who says all fast food is bad for you and all organic food is good for you is very ignorant.
The person who says all processed foods are bad for you is a dumbass. When you buy a bag of organic salad mix – that is processed! Do you think lettuce just grows chopped up and in plastic bags in the wild?
I’ll be the first to admit that I was once a dumbass myself. I’ve been guilty of all of this. I still have to fight the urge to label foods good/bad or clean/dirty when talking to people about nutrition. I just get a little heated because I have a problem with people who ACTUALLY know better and hide the truth to sell people crappy products. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing any better, because you came here didn’t you? You’re obviously trying to expand your knowledge and I promise to never intentionally steer you wrong.
The problem is everyone is just repeating the same bullshit they’ve heard someone else say. No one is taking the time to understand the basic chemistry behind food. It makes sense, because it’s logical to assume that “processed” foods are bad and “natural” foods are good.
You have to look at the big picture. Judge foods on a case-by-case basis. Use your brain and look at the good and bad qualities. Then decide for yourself what food is bad for YOU.
Balance is the key to sustainability in all areas of life. You can have everything you want in life that you can balance.
When you look at a food item you should look at:
- Macronutrient profile
- Micronutrient profile
- Satiety (how filling it is)
- The quality of ingredients
- The source of ingredients
Decide for yourself what is good or bad based on those qualities and your goals.
Flexible dieting is great and it works. The IIFYM camp has proven, to an extreme, how effective this method can work. However, unless you want to have diarrhea every time you go to the bathroom then I suggest incorporating more micronutrient-dense foods in your diet. The key is balance with an emphasis on health for long-term success in health and fitness.
What’s your approach to diet? Let me know in the comments.
Until Next Time,
Fitness Dieting Made Easy
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What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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