If you’re anything like me, you sometimes struggle against an all or nothing mentality or attitude. You are either all the way in or all the way out. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium or any forgiveness for missteps along the way. We can apply this mindset to anything really but I am speaking specifically about how it relates to diet and nutrition.
For many years I was a yo-yo dieter trying the latest fad of diet in the hopes of achieving the physique I wanted. I would start a program, have some success and if something went wrong or “got in the way” of my achieving my goal, I would completely give up because, well, what’s the point if I’ve already messed up right? Perhaps that was my way of playing it safe; if I don’t succeed too much, then nobody will notice so then I won’t have to “keep up appearances” or disappoint anyone. My mentality was truly all or nothing.
I did not believe that to achieve the physique I was after meant to I could have things like chips, chocolate, doughnuts, or pasta. If at any point I “succumbed” to the desire to have these things, I felt as though it was all over, that there was no point in continuing on this path to a leaner, healthier me.
This went on for several years; if I had to count, I would say at least 10 years. I made myself a prisoner to my diet with no chance of escaping. I did not think that I would ever be able to free myself of my diet prison, especially if I wanted a leaner physique.
So, over the years, I tried everything, every fad diet and new gimmick. I followed the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Suzanne Somers Diet, the Biggest Loser Diet and even this crazy diet my mom had on the fridge at home (3 days at 900 calories per day and 4 days at 1200 calories per day)! You’re probably asking yourself, what kind of way is this to live? I certainly was miserable for a good portion of those 10 years.
So what happened? In recent years, I became more and more interested in trying to find a way that I could achieve my physique goals and live the life I have been longing to live. I wasn’t ready to give up on trying to find a strategy that works (that’s my competitive and stubborn nature kicking in)! Through much research, continuing education and a truly amazing coach (Coach JVB), I discovered a flexible dieting strategy that wasn’t like a diet at all! If the food fit into my macros, I could eat it. Surprisingly enough, the minute I stopped telling myself “I can’t eat that” it became easier to achieve my goals.
For those that have heard about If it Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), it truly was the strategy that allowed me to break free from my own diet prison. The premise is really quite simple; if I can fit the food I am after into my daily macronutrient ratio, I have it! Most, if not all foods fit into one of the three macros (protein, carbohydrates, and fats). This opened up a world of variety and flexibility when it comes to food. It took away the “forbidden fruit” idea because I stopped telling myself “I can’t have that.” I changed my language. If I wanted to have something, I would. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this; when we are told that we cannot have something, we want it even more. When you tell yourself you can have whatever you want, it takes away the appeal.
So now, my days consist of whole, healthful foods that I enjoy and if I feel like incorporating things like Kettle Cooked Salt and Vinegar chips, I know exactly how to make them fit! I have them with NO guilt!
Stay tuned for more on the flexible dieting strategy and how to achieve your own goals!