How Paul Lost 100lbs with IIFYM & Flexible Dieting

Flexible dieting (a.k.a. IIFYM) is quickly gaining popularity as the new way to transform your physique.

I’ve mentioned before how helpful it has been in my own journey and I’m a huge advocate for people giving it a go. It can really be beneficial if you’ve found your diet to be very restrictive.

When I first started looking into flexible dieting I came across Paul’s Instagram. Apart from being filled with insane “food-porn” he also regularly posted about his weight loss journey – His own transformation from fat to fit.

Paul is a great role model for people looking to get in shape. He’s tried different strategies, done a ton of research, and has figured out what’s worked for him, all while getting results.

Below he answers our questions on his transformation journey.

What motivated your transformation?

The simple answer is I wasn’t happy. I mean, I always felt happy, but I knew I didn’t want to stay at 280lbs forever.

I knew it was a problem. I joked about going from a 2XL shirt to a 3XL shirt, but I really was disappointed in myself.

I didn’t make the decision all by myself, though. Joseph my twin, although 40lbs lighter than me, wanted the same thing. So, we knew we had to change and we could do it together.

Our entire family had weight problems and we didn’t want to continue the cycle.

We wanted to break free and start something new: A cycle that involved improving our bodies and overall improving ourselves.

What diet plan did you use?

Initially I started by cutting out soda. This didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, with the help of my brother, we both managed to stop. I then examined all the other things my body was intaking. I then began by counting calories. Everything I ate, I accounted for.

I thought I had to eat “clean”. It was vegetables, chicken, and rice every day. If it had more than 3 or 4 ingredients, I didn’t want to touch it. I was scared it would affect my progress.

It didn’t matter if 60% of my calories came from fat, it was all about calories and the food being as least processed as possible. My food choices became smaller and smaller and eventually it became a burden.

My brother then introduced me to IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and flexible dieting. I was skeptical at first. I didn’t know how it worked. I didn’t know how somebody could eat what they wanted and at the same time achieve the goals they desired.

I did my own research. I learned what the body needed and I learned eating “clean” wasn’t the only way that worked.

I found out that there was science behind this. I then began to count my macros. I figured out what was best for MY body and worked off that.

Did exercise help transform your body?

Exercise played a major role. It helped me lose the first 100lbs. It’s also how I gained the muscle I have today.

In the beginning, I ran.

I would set my alarm and my brother and I would go for a run. A quarter of a mile turned into half a mile and a half mile turned into a whole mile. A few months later, we were both running a little more than two miles a day. The weight was just melting off.

I eventually decided to add in weight lifting. I didn’t know much, but I’d taken a weightlifting class in high school, so I started with what I knew.

I would bench press here and there. I had a stationary bike as well and started doing HIIT on it, along with ab exercises. I didn’t gain much muscle, but I was still losing weight. I eventually got to 180lbs.

This is when I decided to take weight lifting seriously. It was time for me to bulk up. To put on some muscle. I did research about exercises and how to do them properly.

I was scared of intense weight lifting at first because I had just lost 100lbs and didn’t want to gain any of it back.

Eventually, I decided to go through with it. I got equipment and started small. Bench press, squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and all the assistance workouts were being done weekly.

I still do all of them (plus more) and I still push every day to lift more than I did last time.

Paul and his brother, Joseph, lost weight together

Paul and his brother, Joseph, lost weight together

Did you ever feel like you were obsessing over food or exercise?

At first, yes. My choices of what I actually considered “clean” were small. It was actually starting to make enjoying myself a lot harder.

Going out turned into a huge situation in my head about how I would just make it a cheat meal or how I would just not eat the rest of the day. Those cheat meals basically became cheat days and I would binge the rest of the day, feeling as if I already “messed up”.

Note from Dan: I’ve done this too. Here’s what helped me.

I felt horrible the day after and would eat even “cleaner” than usual. I would even go as far as avoiding salt because I didn’t want to get more bloated. I would over-estimate what I ate just to make up for the previous day.

Everything kind of fell into place though when I discovered IIFYM and flexible dieting.

Although it wasn’t easy at first, I am now incredibly comfortable with it. I can eat whatever I want (in moderation) and not feel guilty. Going out has become fun again and the binging has stopped.

There is no need to binge when you allow yourself to eat what you want.

What’s one mistake you made during your weight loss journey?

One mistake I believe I made was not lifting weights as much in the beginning. I lifted in my junior year in high school, but then I stopped. The strength I gained was lost through all the running.

It feels as if I had to start from scratch when I lost the weight. I went from being overweight with a little bit of muscle to just skinny with almost no muscle. I had to rebuild what I had lost.

I also believe I lost the weight too fast and in that process lost a lot of muscle.

What has been the most challenging with your journey?

The aspect that challenged me the most is the fact that I didn’t know much at first.

I went to the extremes to lose the weight and overall it became an even longer process. I had to learn the best method for me and I had to find balance. Finding balance is to find a lifestyle, not simply a diet.

Although it has taken time, I’ve managed to learn what works for me and discovered ways to reach my goals.

Paul is famous for his epic food photos on instagram. WARNING: Don't browse his page while hungry (http://instagram.com/healthnutlife)

Paul is famous for his epic food photos on Instagram. WARNING: Don’t browse his page while hungry (http://instagram.com/healthnutlife)

What are your future plans with health and fitness?

I actually plan to do my first physique competition in November of 2014 with my brother. Although I’m not so sure what the outcome will be, I want to mainly do it for the experience.

I want to see what I can push myself to do. I plan to keep fitness and health a major part of my life and I’m looking to get a  NASM certificate soon so I can become a personal trainer.

I would love to help people reach their fitness goals through my experience and what I have learned.

Any advice for others wanting to lose weight?

Start off slow. Make small changes, because eventually those small changes will turn to large changes. Don’t stop because you’re not seeing progress. Just keep giving it your all every day and you will get there.

A good thing to do is keep a lot of progress pictures so you can see the small changes.

Also everybody is different. Just because one thing works for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for everybody. You have to find what works for you.


Disclaimer: Your results may vary and Paul’s were largely due to his dedication and adherence to his calorie/macro protocols.

Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and is our lead macro coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see our personal coaching options.
Last Updated: June 30, 2019

4 Comments

  1. Jesse Hanley

    10/10 transformation. Amazing job Paul – inspiring to a-lot of people. I’ve even shared your story with a few.

    IIFYM was what I used during my 2010 competition season, I wrote about it somewhat here: ttp://jessehanley.com/blog/if-it-fits-your-macros-guide/

    Reply
  2. Ted

    Great Job Paul! Really inspiring! I still think we should try to eat at least 90% clean since it’s not just about weight loss but also about being healthy inside as well. But, as you said people should make small changes at a time. I think they shouldn’t aim for 90% all at once but gradually make their diets cleaner. It’s amazing how my tastes have changed. In my 20’s I used to think that I could never live without sugar, milk and cheese but now I don’t even miss them. 6 months ago I thought I could never live without wheat, now I don’t miss that either especially since it has proven to be the root cause of my allergy symptoms.

    Reply
  3. spectra311

    I’m glad you found a plan that worked for you, Paul. I tried to do a flexible/IIFYM plan but I couldn’t do it without overeating. I did better when I just focused on cutting out processed food and eating mostly plants. The great thing about losing weight is that there are many ways to get to the same end and that’s great news because we’re all different and have different ways of doing things. Amazing job, BTW–you look fantastic!

    Reply
  4. Sue

    Kudos to you, Paul! Keep learning and keep sharing. I lost 100 pounds 20 years ago and have kept it off, ultimately becoming a certified health coach so I can help others improve their wellness. Good luck on your personal training certification process and keep up the good job!

    Reply