In the endless battle of Good Vs Evil (a.k.a Clean VS IIFYM), there can never be one winner. Many hardcore fitness enthusiasts will swear by eating clean, while some of the new generation of fitness models/enthusiasts are completely against “BRO foods.” Here’s the thing; YOU’RE BOTH WRONG!
“Clean Eaters” have issues with food binges, post-competition rebound weight, or even sticking to their diet. I’ll admit it; I’ve had my fare of post-competition binges where I gain 15 lbs of weight within a matter of a week or two. Some “diet gurus” swear that you don’t have to calculate macros and just eat clean. This is wrong because if you eat too much “clean food,” you’ll still gain weight. There’s no magic fairy that sprinkles gypsy tears on your food causing you to lose weight just by eating “clean.” It’s all about calories burnt vs calories consumed in a day.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
It’s all about moderation. You can allow yourself to enjoy a snack here and there while still hitting your macros when you’re far out from competition. This is where flexible dieting comes into play. Most experienced flexible dieters focus on the 80% whole food (clean food) and 20% calorically dense food. But, when you’re on a caloric deficit, your overall caloric intake starts to reduce. You’ll be feeling a lot more hungry and those calorically dense meals will start hurting you in the end. This is why most flexible dieting competitors find great alternatives for sweets through low calorie foods, like Walden Farms foods or Arctic Zero ice cream. Typically, a few weeks out, flexible dieting competitors focus on consuming mostly calorically-sparing foods (clean eating) to help with hunger. Especially people like me who are endomorphs at heart; We need the satisfaction of consuming more volume of food. In the end it’s all about personal preference and what works best for you.
Some people like to promote IIFYM by posting grocery carts filled with “junk food.” This leads to making newbies think they can consume a ton of junk food while losing weight. In theory, it works. But, it’s definitely not healthy if practiced over a long period of time. Many of the experienced flexible dieters (people who practice IIFYM) understand the concept of fitting in your macros. The problem is that some of these people who are less experienced with the concept believe you can eat whatever you want as long as it “fits your macros.” They create a cult-like following where it’s good to shame “BRO DIETERS.” They use memes shaming cleaning eating and bro food. Here’s the lowdown: you CAN lose weight by eating whatever you want as long as you’re in a caloric deficit. Mentally you’re sane because you’re still able to eat “junk food”. But physically, if you consistently keep eating junk food, the only “gains” you’ll be making is Type II Diabetes. You can be physically fit, shredded or aesthetic, but internally you’ll be having “ALL KINDS OF PAINS!“ This is where the importance of balancing your daily macronutrients, micronutrients and fiber comes into play. But, I digress (Sheldon from The Big Bang theory reference), some of the younger people that are just getting into the fitness scene is being misled into thinking they can eat whatever they want as long as “It fits their macros”. STOP HASHTAGGING #IIFYM and misleading people into thinking they can eat junk and be healthy.
Here’s an excerpt from a fellow Fitness Enthusiast/Flexible Dieter Aidas Sungaila (www.BarbFitness.me).
“Today in our flexible diet community we have people that make us all look like diabetic 10 year old kids because of the stuff they post on social media. Just take a look at this screen shot of a 130 lb chick, in her cart you can see 2:1 ratio of junk to healthy food options.”
“Of course! She hashtagged it with #IIFYM. Now, tell me how is she going to eat it all? Alright, let us compare a grown man who weighs 210 lbs (me) to a 130 lbs women, I know for sure me to go down from 14% body fat to 12% it will be max 2x scoops of bnj a day if I wish to stay healthy and hit his micros. Therefore I am safe to assume that she fed it all to someone else or just unloaded the cart. Now you see, that some people are legitimately leaving out the REAL information and process of iifym. These people like to leave out the fact they have to limit themselves by eating only a small portion of what’s in her cart for a long period of time. Why? They want to come across like they have "the secret". I'm not going to publish names or say that IG account of this picture is guilty of this. But there is a good part of people who mislead their followers by hiding details about IIFYM.”
In the end, there is no right or wrong way. If you can stick to a diet without messing up, stick to fitting macros in with strictly whole (clean) foods. If you feel like you need to satisfy a sweet tooth, fit in a snack that is classified as “dirty” food. This is all in respect to your goals and personal experience. Are you a few weeks out from competition? Are you known for binge eating? Do you have a hereditary health issues?
Your health is the most important thing. Don’t binge, don’t starve, and calculate what you’re consuming to accurately quantify your progress. Learn from experience and what works best for you.
So, I’ll leave you with a quote for the the man who coined the term “IIFYM,”