If you’ve followed me for any amount of time I wrote a bit this summer about a method of eating called IIFYM or Flexible Dieting. It was something that was new to me that I really, really enjoyed and it was exciting to change it up! I followed this method for about 6 months and saw amazing changes in my physique and my body, but one thing I noticed was happening that was something new to me and had never been an issue for me before….I was completely and totally obsessed with food and what I was eating. Not in the sense that I was scared to eat or wouldn’t eat certain foods or at certain places, what i mean is that I was thinking about food, what to eat and how many macros I had left all. the. time….and to me, that’s not ok. To me, that is giving food control of my life.
While I still think this is an awesome idea and method of “dieting”, the reality of it just isn’t how I want to live. I don’t want to be consumed with food. I don’t want to be eating my breakfast thinking about what I am going to eat later that evening. I don’t want to plan my entire day, date nights, etc around food…that isn’t a freeing feeling to me, it made me feel like I was held captive to my food. If I am hungry, I want to eat. I want to eat foods that are good for my body, and sure, have a treat here or there, but I don’t want to plan my day around food. I want to fuel my body and my workouts, but not spend hours planning each macro.
I didn’t really realize I was feeling so “captive” to this until my sister and I decided to take a macro break and jump back on the 21 Day Fix eating plan leading up to Thanksgiving. The concept of the 21 Day Fix is the same as macro tracking, but it’s much less intense. No weighing the food, no exact “gram” goal of protein/fats/carbs, just simply getting in the allotted amount of foods within each group: proteins, carbs, veggies, fruits, fats, etc., and guess what? I’m still seeing amazing results!
I didn’t expect to feel so FREE after leaving IIFYM. I thought that lifestyle was giving me freedom (you can even go back and read my blogs on that!), but it really wasn’t. Sure, it allowed me to eat foods that in the past I would have considered “banned”, but I was chained to my food scale. Dinner prep took so much longer because we had to weight every single ingredient, then weigh out my portion, etc. Elliot started asking about the food scale which raised red flags that it was an obsession to me, and just a general feeling of obsession, which again, was new to me.
We are not slaves to our bodies, food, or our workouts, and if your lifestyle is reflecting that, it might me time to make a change in what you are doing. If you are thinking about food all the time, it’s probably time to rethink your plan. Food is our fuel, not our god. Honestly, I think macro tracking/clean eating/ etc, etc, etc can be just as damaging to your mental health as a true, diagnosed eating disorder. While you are still eating, it is an obsession, a control issue, and you need to be free from that. (note: I am not saying following macros means you have an eating disorder, but if you are completely obsessed with every morsel of food that goes in your mouth, it may be time to let go of some of those strongholds food has over you!)
When it comes down to it, whatever method of eating/dieting you choose for yourself is great – there is no right or wrong answer here – but I do want to encourage you to really look at your life and see if this is an obsession for you. If it is, it’s not worth it. You are worth more than your food. You are set free from that. Find something that allows you to maintain balance and run with it.
I’m sure I will get some pushback here, but I just wanted to share a little bit about my own personal journey and story with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting!