My Personal Experience With Flexible Dieting Thus Far
I’m not only an IIFYM/flexible dieting author and coach for HealthyEater.com but I’m also a member of the club!
And, I’ll be the first to testify that flexible dieting is transforming not only my physique but also my relationship with food.
At the time of writing this, flexible dieting has helped me to lower my body fat percentage to 8.6%, which is the lowest it has been in all my 42 years on this planet!
All the while…
- Not obsessing about food choices.
- Eating desserts.
- Eating out at restaurants.
- Making great gains at the gym.
My History with Getting Fit and Healthy
I’ve never been obese or even significantly overweight, but this doesn’t mean I’ve always been fit nor healthy.
Until my mid 30’s I ate whatever I wanted and worked out sporadically. Although I dreamed of having a great physique, I lacked the motivation and knowledge to help me get there.
In my mid 20’s I did start to make changes to my diet that allowed me to experience the way those changes can make a big difference. I first gave up soda on a daily basis and switched to plain water. I was amazed by how much better I felt and how much better my skin looked.
However, it wasn’t until my mid 30’s that big changes came when I decided to quit my job, sell my house, and live overseas. After some traveling around I eventually settled in New Zealand and there is where my fitness and healthy eating journey really started.
Fitness-wise, there were tons of mountains to conquer and mountain bike trails to ride and I was nowhere near as fit as the Kiwis I was hanging out with and that had to change.
Diet-wise, New Zealand lacks a lot of the junk food, fast food, and huge portion sizes America is constantly enticing us with, so it was easier to eat less, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and to eat higher quality food in general.
Overall, I became a lot more active with hiking, surfing, biking, going to the gym regularly, and eating better. I began to see results and this motivated me even more.
My Personal Diet Gimmicks
I will admit that before the flexible diet I’ve jumped on my fair share of nutritional bandwagons over the last 6 years prior to starting the flexible dieting lifestyle.
- Remove all sugar from the diet…
- Eat only low carb and ketogenic…
- Remove wheat from my diet…
- Eat vegetarian…
- Eat strictly healthy during the week but splurge on the weekends…
But, all of these bandwagons had a few things in common.
- They were hard to stick with.
- They weren’t compatible in social situations.
- They couldn’t quite get me to my goals.
At one time in my diet journey here was a common scenario:
“Sorry I can’t come to your birthday party on a Thursday night because I can’t eat anything unhealthy that night and your party is at a pub.”
How lame is that? And, it’s no way to live or be a friend.
Then Enters Flexible Dieting and IIFYM
Dan, another writer on this site, first introduced me to flexible dieting and I was at first appalled by the premise that people were being encouraged to eat things like Pop Tarts and ice cream to lose weight.
After all, Pop Tarts are one of the worst foods ever concocted in a lab and how could a site called Healthy Eater support the notion of eating them?
It took some convincing, reading success stories, and seeing physique transformation pictures for me to finally be willing to give it a try, but I did, and haven’t regretted it a day since.
Now I still think Pop Tarts are disgusting, but I now understand that one here or there will not hinder one’s health nor progress as long as they fit within a person’s macro goals.
I found my TDEE and macro levels using our calculator, entered that data into MyFitnessPal and ran with it. After all, if I was going to assist people on this website, I should at least give it a try, right?
Since then, flexible dieting has completely overhauled my relationship with food and eating as well as transformed my workouts and the ability to reach my long dreamed about goals.
- I no longer obsess about a food’s sugar amount.
- I no longer deprive myself.
- I no longer starve during the week and binge on the weekends.
- I now have more energy at the gym because carbs are allowed.
- This extra energy has caused gains at the gym.
- My body fat percentage keeps dropping.
This all was made possible by being aware of and sticking to my TDEE as well as eating according to my personal macro amounts. So simple, but so rewarding!
I now live in Bend, Oregon and because of what flexible dieting has taught me I’ve been able to maintain my goal weight and fitness lifestyle for many years.
What About Eating Healthy?
Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on healthy eating. I still eat really healthy 85% of the time. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit every day as well as a lot of lean chicken and fish as my protein sources and healthy fats. I love being in control of what goes into my body and no longer do foods or meals take me by surprise.
The biggest thing that kept me from my goals was my splurging on the weekends. Looking back, I probably ate upwards of 4000 calories on Saturdays and Sundays without doing much exercise those days. No matter how “good” I was during the week, I couldn’t drop below 11% body fat and this crept up even further after the holidays.
Flexible dieting has taught me to be consistent even on the weekends, which has allowed me to break the 10% mark and go even further towards my overall goal of 7%.
So, the reason that I’m so passionate about Flexible Dieting and IIFYM is because of what it has done for me personally. I firmly believe that, just like me, it will help so many people finally reach their goals, give up crazy diet obsessions, and start eating and enjoying food again.
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Disclaimer: Individual results may vary based on a person’s unique health profile and how accurately they track their macros and adhere to their calculated TDEE.