Have you ever heard of Flexible Dieting?

Today I’m going to share with you my story about how I got through a “clean eating” diet which almost led to having an eating disorder and why I switched to a “ flexible dieting ” in order to achieve a healthier, full of happiness lifestyle.

“Eat Clean” Diets Suck

Let’s be honest. Everyone of us at some point of our lives said that to themselves. Whether you want to lose weight or have some health issues you said to yourself “From now on, I’m going to stop eating junk food and make clean eating my priority.”

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THE GOOD

Well, I’m not even trying to convince you that such diet is bad for you but having pretty much the same foods every single day will most likely stop you from achieving your healthy eating goal in the long term. People, especially bodybuilders, look at certain foods and think “Rice, chicken and broccoli are all clean foods, so I will just stick rigidly to those and eliminate everything else.” But how long can you actually stick to such “clean eating” diet?
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THE BAD

A week? A month? Two months? A year? A year without even eating one little piece of a cake…wow. If you are that kind of person you have my respect. However, these extreme diets can easily make people binge. You suddenly start eating your favorite foods all day long because all those times when you were eating chicken and broccoli, you were actually thinking of pizza and hamburgers, right?
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The Ugly Side Of “Clean Eating”

I’m not going to lie – at some point of my life I was so obsessed with the clean foods I eat that I realised I was starting to have an eating disorder.
As weeks and months passed I started to see a shift in my relationship with food and eating in general. I began to resent having to eat a particular way and also started feeling guilty for even thinking about eating an Oreo or a potato chip.
I had anxiety when I would eat out at restaurants with my family, I would pack ALL of my food if I was going to social events & family gatherings, and I noticed I started to crave foods that I once loved so much but wouldn’t allow myself to eat.

Cheat day had me like … ?

A video posted by Dimitar Hristov (@dhlifestyle) on

What Makes a Food “Clean” or “Dirty”?

When I first got into fitness and proper nutrition, I used to define foods like pizza, burgers and ice cream as “dirty” or “junk”. Why? The answer is simple – because I thought all these foods tend to be processed, high in fat and bad for your health.
But let’s take a step back and think about this logically…what makes, for example, a piece of skinless chicken breast “clean”? Is it because of the way it was raised? Or is it the macronutrient profile?

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What is "Flexible Dieting" ?

Flexible Dieting is also called “IIFYM” and it’s a method of dieting that revolves around meeting daily macro nutritional intake targets (protein, carbohydrates and fats).

The idea behind it is that you can still eat the foods that you love as long as you hit your macro nutrient targets.

Okay, I know you may be confused now so let’s clear it up:
IIFYM is NOT about fitting as much junk food into your diet as you possibly can!
When I was doing all of my research on ‘IIFYM‘ diet, things that I saw over and over again on social media were people showing off foods like pop tarts, Ben & Jerry’s and donuts. But I knew there was more to flexible dieting than the junk food. I trusted that eventually I would be able to strike a balance between fueling my body with foods that field me as well as foods that were fun to eat.
The whole point of “Flexible Dieting” is to enjoy food and take away the stress of restrictive dieting.
flexible dieting

How “Flexible Dieting” Changed My Way Of Thinking

Since I was tired of eating tons of food in just 1 specific day, I decided to give this IIFYM (flexible dieting) a try. The first thing that I had to do was to figure out what my macros should be for my goals, and set up a new eating “plan”. Once I did that, I started incorporating foods like donuts in my diet and to be honest I felt a little bit weird at first. I never really thought that I could enjoy my favourite foods by not eating an entire packet of it because most of the times I used to make my cheat days a priority. This often led to binging and sometimes I even ate more than 15k calories of all the “forbidden” foods in no more than 5-6 hours.

I was really impressed with the difference and I definitely felt it as well. Thanks to Flexible Dieting, I was back to feeling strong again, my training improved, I didn’t feel foggy, I was mentally doing better, and most importantly my love for fitness was back. I was back on track and felt like I was on top of the world!

So, my philosophy to hitting my macronutrients everyday is 80% nutrient dense, whole foods mixed in with 20% foods that I simply want to eat because I want to eat them.

You have to pay attention to the quality and quantity of your food, but don’t stress out if you snack on something like a few potato chips or an Oreo. Just make sure to control yourself.

If your family happens to be going to a restaurant for dinner, you should feel zero anxiety about what you are going to eat, how its made, what ingredients are used, etc.

If you're traveling, you can still bring some staple foods that you love and make up a regular part of your diet, but also enjoy the flexibility of eating on the go and living in the moment.

To illustrate how I eat as a flexible eater, I thought I would share a typical day of my meals!

CONCLUSION

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION

My suggestion is to realize first and foremost that our diets should be focused on whole foods above all else, especially if the goal is a healthy body and sound mind. But don’t be scared to allow yourself some of your favourite treats. You have to make that switch because once you allow yourself to enjoy all foods in moderation, you will stop wanting to eat everything in sight. With the Flexible Dieting, you will be completely content having 1 cookie, 1 small serving of ice cream, or a handful of chips without going overboard with any foods. In the end, this is the lifestyle and way of eating that works best for me and I highly recommend it to you as well!

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