If you have been following me on social media, you know I’ve been following IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros/Flexible Dieting) for a long time. Here I’m just going to share my experience, thoughts, and the reasons why I think it is so beneficial. I’m not going to tell you that this is what you have to do in order to achieve your goals, how to figure out your macros, or what my macros are.
Before I start I think it’s important to say what’s Flexible Dieting:
For starters, flexible dieting is not a diet – it’s a nutritional concept. The basic rundown is simple: you have a daily calorie, macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat, and fiber) target to hit and as long as those specific numbers are achieved, then food selection is left up to your personal preference. – Kyle Hunt.
That’s pretty much what Flexible Dieting is. All you have to do is hit your macronutrients and calorie intake every day. Flexible Dieting allows you to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation and give your body the fuel it needs to reach your goals. I’ve said before on my Instagram that the reason why I love Flexible Dieting is because it is a lifestyle, it is flexibility, it is balance. Every day I have the option to decide what I want to eat, I don’t have to follow any type of meal plan. There are no “good” and “bad” foods. I always make sure I eat a lot of nutrient dense foods, but if I’m craving something I know I can have it. No need to have “cheat meals”.
Now, here is my story
Pizza, Hamburgers, French Fries, Burritos, and Cookies was all I was eating when I moved to New York. I wasn’t exercising enough to burn that food so obviously I gained a couple pounds. I decided to hire a coach from my country and I was really excited to start a “meal plan” and lose all the weight I gained. Well, that excitement didn’t last long until I received my diet. I almost cried because of how miserable it was. Six meals, eat every three hours, extremely low in carbs, maybe 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and tons and tons of protein on each meal. This program was one month long and after that he was going to change things a little bit so my body didn’t hit a plateau. I don’t remember if I even started this meal plan, but I decided to pay more attention to the foods I was eating. I was trying to eat healthy and work out regularly but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.
A year after, I hired another coach and even though I had a meal plan it wasn’t as limited as the one I had before. There were more food options but I still had restrictions. However, this time was different, I was really motivated to follow my diet.
I don’t know how much I was weighing when I started, I don’t know how much weight I lost, what I know is that my body changed drastically. I was extremely happy with my results, although I wasn’t paying attention to the damage this “meal plan” was causing me. I made “healthy” recipes a couple times (like muffins, cookies, cakes, etc.) and I didn’t even lick the spoon because they weren’t part of my diet. I never went out to eat with my family or friends unless it was my “cheat day”. I was so afraid to eat something that wasn’t listed on my food options. But if it was my cheat day… Oh boy, I went crazy and ate every single dish.
After getting to the point where I was happy with my body, I decided to do a Bikini Show which was in September last year. My diet was awful, but I was so committed that I didn’t care. Long story short, I did my show, I placed 5th, I was happy, I was satisfied… Now what? The disaster began. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. All I knew was “I reached my goal, now let’s eat all the food” which was a terrible mindset. I was on a caloric deficit for almost 8 months, imagine how depleted and destroyed my body was at that point. It was begging me for food.
Unfortunately, I developed a Binge Eating Disorder, which I think most competitors have to deal with after doing a show. (I don’t really want to talk about it because that’s another story. If you would like to know how I overcame it, feel free to leave it on the comments and I would love to share my experience.)
I gained a ton of weight again, I think I was around 130 pounds, who knows if a little bit more. I didn’t know what to do, I was desperate, I was stressed. I lost control of my body, I was eating huge amounts of food even when I was full. I was stuck in a cycle, until I was introduced to “Flexible Dieting”. I don’t think I have ever been as happy and stable as I am right now, both physically and mentally. Now, I don’t feel guilty if I have a couple oreo’s, or one serving of ice cream here and there because I know I have the freedom to do it. Before, I thought that having a cookie was unacceptable and I was no longer a “dedicated” athlete. Also, I don’t need to have cheat meals, in fact, that word doesn’t even exist for me. Why? Simply because every food is okay.
I’m in the best position I have ever been. Flexible Dieting has fixed not only my relationship with food, but also my social life. Now, if a friend invites me to have lunch I can easily check the menu, pick something that fits my macros, and track it. If I want to have a glass of wine with my mom or my friends, I just have to track it. I don’t need to eat 6 meals a day, I don’t need to open a tupperware with tilapia and sweet potatoes in the middle of class. I can plan my meals according to my schedule.
And.. No carbohydrates after 6 pm? Yeah right… Eating carbs at night are not going to make you fat!
I encourage all of you to do your research, and understand what you are doing. Ask questions, read books, learn about your body, and understand the process. If you want to know more about IIFYM/Flexible Dieting, calculate your macros, etc. I highly recommend you checking out Krissy Mae Cagney or Layne Norton. Both of them have really good videos/books that will help you getting familiarized with the concept.
I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions!