Flexible dieting and prep: what I learned. Honest and brutal

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If you want to know the dang dirty truths, this is the blog to read. I’m going to tell you  everything and some of you won’t like it. Some of you will be haters and think you know more than me. You might.   This blog is my journey and if you get anything good out of it.. that’s a bonus.

I have done two preps in the last 52 weeks. Each prep was 24 weeks long.  I am 51 years old.  You think that doesn’t matter.. it does. My body is tired of prep.  That’s the honest truth. I’m tired of prep. I’m pretty much hit the wall on this and if you ask me to my face.. I’m probably going to spout off.

Personally, I would never do two preps back to back but the federation I compete in suddenly removed the pro qualifer in  October so there was only 1 chance to try for my pro card in 2017.  My husband and I discussed it and we  made the decision to do this show even though I had not yet recovered from my last show.   I went in fully understanding what had to be done and I did my best. We worked hard and I did a great job. I am  100 percent confident in the package I brought to the stage!

As it turns out..
I actually had a great prep. Our whole team started January 1 and we did an entirely flexible prep.   OMG OMG OMG

Basically what that means is each day I hit
my protein goals,
my fat minimums,
my fiber goals,
my fruits veggie goals,
my micro nutrition goals,
and I ate over 35 different foods weekly.

The flexible part came in the fact that I was able to be flexible with my carbs and additional fats to suit what I needed to fuel but also to accommodate what I wanted to eat.

My workouts never suffered. I never “did fasted cardio” unless I wanted to. I never did anything that wasn’t fueled properly to give me the most effective workout.

Actually…
Our whole team has found success prepping this way.  It is truly based on each of us .
We teach our new competitors to pay attention and learn this process so their preps will become more and more flexible the longer they compete with us.

FOOD
This prep we were able to perfect our food so I never felt deprived

Frankly, doing prep.. I can do this stuff with my eyes close. The diet is easy.  It’s easy for me because i am not suffering like I did on my bro preps! We had some gorgeous food!!

Things I liked about this prep:
Front loading my tracker with dinner early in the morning.  Hubs and I would decide on dinner and I would be excited!  I would fuel my workouts, then fill in the rest of the day so I had plenty of macros for dinner. Here’s a few of our dinners.

 

 

 

 

That Monte Cristo Sam had jelly on it.
Our team has Taco Tuesday and Waffle Wednesday each week!! Yummo.   We ate Shrimp and Grits a lot as well as Halo top ice cream! I had a cookie almost every day.  Near the end, I did not because it would not fit.. but that is the way the ‘cookie crumbles’.

What I did not do:
Binge:  
I had one day when a refeed went out of control. I was about 14 weeks out and my Cinnamon Toast cruch measurement turned into something crazy.  I modified my other macros for the rest of the day but I had to remove CTC from my food roster because I felt it was triggering me.   I’m not bragging. I’m stating progress. In 2013 and 2014 on my Bro preps I found myself having full on binges.  I began purging again after both shows.  Getting a handle on prep with IIFYM was a life saver because I don’t feel deprived.   There’s no ‘poor me” here. I need progress not perfection.  I planned my days so they felt fun and I did not have the urge to dip into food that was not on my plan.

Eat Out: .  I did not eat out at all in my prep.  I only ate what was prepared in our house.  Even early on in prep, I won’t do it. I just stayed out of restaurants or I brought my food. I’m fine with that.
Traditional training
I have had plenty of injuries this year.  A few of our team mates really suffered with some bad injuries.  We were all able to train in such a a way that we still got our work done and hit the stage having met our goals.

I cannot have a bar on my back anymore.  I cannot run stairs nor can I do plyo. I probably did 3 plyo sessions this whole year. I had to modify my training to keep my back pain free.   My pole workouts kept me strong and flexible and I added the chiropractor weekly.  I need longevity over PRs.    I will never try to beat my 185 pound dead lift PR because it took several chiropractor visits to get me out of pain.  I’m totally ok with this.

My workouts were focused on muscle activation and not based in ego or how much I was supposed to suffer for my sport.  I wanted to focus on form and creating balance in my physique. I incorporated Fascia Blasting and while I have so far to go there.. I saw amazing changes in my  abs and lower body.
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Blasting those abs!!  Holla

Results:  I took 3 trophies in my show. I loved my physique this year. I feel like this was my favorite package I brought to the stage.  My team took two pro cards.  We took a total of 7 trophies in this show.  Our current trophy count for 2017 is 31 and we are all IIFYM and using our own unique plans.

Part of this journey is to share what works and what didn’t.  I’m in no way saying my way is perfect or I couldn’t have come in better or whatever.  I’m saying that the bigger picture shows that
1. I have never been given a  trophy for suffering, nor has anyone else to my knowledge.
2. Everything has variables and  you have to work with what you have and are able to do.
3. Cookie cutter plans would have been the death of me for prep.
4. Being happy and making progress in my journey is paramount to someone handing me a plastic trophy.
5. I can always strive to improve and use what I learned to better serve my clients and my future preps.
6. Science is indeed a thing.

Here are some of my pics.
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We received 7 trophies for this show. IIFYM. Yes.. and two pro cards for our ladies.
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Bikini portion of the Glamour category as well as the themewear.

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I’m 51 and I’m fucking proud of this. Yeah I said it.
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This body was built on IIFYM, truly enjoying what I do. I have put the time in to slowly learn to trust my body. I will always work incredibly hard but never suffer for a sport that does not reward you for how much you suffer. It’s useless. Working smart is much better! Strategies!!
There is something powerful about learning how your body works and building on this concept.  As athletes to it seems beyond ridiculous for us to continually tear down our bodies and offer it poor nutrition yet ask for it to improve.

Believe me.. I have room to improve but my first priority is recovery. I will not take the stage again until I Worlds Championships in Nov 2018 so I can have a solid building season .

I am very proud of my athletes and their placings are important but what is most important to me is not what someone else thinks of them, it’s the improvements and knowledge they are gaining in their journey.   Having a team with ongoing dialog of our experiences has been a game changer as we navigate our competition endeavors.

If you like my blog.. be sure to follow Caitlin on her blog. She is very honest and truthful about her journey!!

IIFYM 101: HOW TO GET 35 DIFFERENT FOODS A WEEK.

Are you a creature of habit? Do you eat the exact same thing every day?  Did your coach give you a plan with a total of 6 items on it?  Are you struggling to incorporate variety into your meals because you “just don’t know what to eat?”

This blog will help you.

Sports nutrition 101 tells us that we need to eat 35 different foods a week.  Our team of athletes and lifestyle clients follows this goal.
This is important simply because, variety allows us to get micro nutrients from lots of different sources.

I have spoken openly about my Bro diet plan  and how it made me very sick. You can read more about that here.  I was eating a ‘totally clean’ competition diet of
turkey
chicken
fish.
egg whites
oats
ezekial bread
brown rice
sweet pot
spinach

I had 12 cups of spinach on my plan each day.
I hated my meal plan.  As I got closer to my show, my calories were very low and I had 6-7 meals a day of tilapia and spinach.

That is about 9 different foods and entire food groups are missing from this plan.
There is zero nutrition coming from beautiful fruits and other veggies.  I could have had other options and still reached my goal. I would have felt better and had more energy.  I certainly didn’t look better on this plan than I do on a variety of food.  That’s a fact.

If you are on a “bro plan” but want to learn how to get variety.. click here

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Nutrition should be a priority no matter what plan you are on.
It astounds me that intelligent people accept this style of eating when “dieting”. If you were told to give your kiddo this food 6x a day, you wouldn’t.  Kids need better nutrition. They need their calcium and fruits and veggies. How dare someone recommend this.
When did we lose our sensibilities!! Let’s eat some beautiful food! Stop removing total food groups! You don’t need to!!

How can I increase my variety to get to 35 different foods a week?

DON’T OVERTHINK IT.
Eat simply. If you are in the mood for black berries, eat them.  Have an apple on another day.  Eating the rainbow is a perfect way to increase your variety easily.


DON’T SHOP FOR 35 DIFFERENT FOODS
You don’t need to do that!!  Just start with what you like, and add to it.
We use challenges like “Taco Tuesday” and “Waffle Wednesday” to help our clients get creative and increase their variety.  Both of those meals can be created with lots of variety!  It’s easy to find yourself with 15-20 different foods a day on those days!!
Think of the toppings, the ingredients.  If you want fish tacos, great?  Do you want a taco salad?  Or waffles with Halo top and chocolate sauce.. Or perhaps you just want  Waffles with blueberries!


Hack: My Net Diary tracks your food amounts!!
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You can see the number of foods you have eaten each day!  Cool.  MyNetDiary Pro is bomb!

If you need a macro plan or want to learn more about IIFYM you can work with us at LEARNIIFYM.COM

IIFYM 101: How to Get Protein like a boss

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If you are just begining your IIFYM/Flexible Dieting Journey you may be surprised to see how much protein you are going to need to eat each day.  In fact, most of my new clients come to me eating very little protein so it looks daunting to try to hit those protein goals!

The question I get the most is “How can I hit my protein goals with out going over fats and carbs?”

Protein is very important to our physique goals!!  We need protein to build muscle and we all know that muscle is the fountain of youth!  In a fat loss plan, we eat protein to help us maintain the muscle we have!!   Protein also helps you feel full!!

Protein 101: Basic Sources
Meat Lean cuts to keep fat down. Skinless white meat is lower in fat.
Chicken
Turkey
Pork
Beef
Fish
Other Seafood (shrimp, scallops)
Dairy
Milk, Chocolate milk (great post workout)
Sour cream
Greek Yogurt
Cheese
Laughing cow cheese is fun!
Cottage cheese (add to your pancakes to add a fluffy texture)
Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese
Halo top Ice cream (I had to add that)
Eggs
Egg whites (buy the pour-able kind)

Legumes
Beans and legumes have some protein but the carb profile is higher, but if you can make it fit.. could be an option.

Whey
Whey protein or Isolate : you can cook with this!!
Lenny and Larry’s cookies (low protein profile but worthy)
Kodiak protein pancake mix (Target)
Protein Bars like Quest or B-Up bars (check your local Supplement store for variety)
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Peach Protein Cupcakes with Raspberry Lemon icing.. I tossed this in for you just for fun. Here’s that recipe.  P:11 C:11 F2 for each cuppie.

Protip: Aim for protein first, Carbs second and fats last.
If you aim for hitting your protein goals first, you won’t be left at the end of the day with 120g to eat!!  
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Protein hack: You could split your protein goals up by meal. 
Mary Jo has 160g protein per day. She likes to eat 5 meals a day.  Each meal could contain 32g protein per meal.
100g of shrimp is 28g of protein!!

Hidden protein

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Many foods you enjoy each day will have protein in them!!  These amounts will help get you to your goals. Track that food!!  Let’s see whatcha got!!

“I don’t like eggs or egg whites.”
Ok.. I hear you. I don’t care for egg whites on their own either, but I do love Crepes, Pancakes and French toast which are all made with egg whites /egg.
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This is my Birthday Cake  crepe. The recipe is here
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Here’s a Banana Protein Pancake!!!
Protein pudding is boss.. This is at Walmart,  Sup stores, Amazon.
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Oh Hey.. let’s make Fish Tacos!  The shells are La Tiara (4 carbs per taco shell)
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Hack:  Start tracking your normal eating.  Look at it like a puzzle. Are you lacking in protein but way over in fatty/carby foods?  Let’s start working on ways to tweak your normal eating!
How can you add more protein in and hit your other macros on point?

Ideas:
RippedRecipes.com will help you find some fun ideas that are NOT boring.

This Blog!!  Search Protein and you will see all my ideas!!

This is Roo Ferrigno. She is very sure of her protein intake and likes to judge mine.
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I know you are working hard! Don’t give up. If you need macros or help.. connect with me on
LearnIIFYM.com
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Prepping Not Starving: Taco Tuesday

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Our Team LOVES Taco Tuesday! Who doesn’t!!  IIFYM is bomb because you can make them fit your macros!!  Here are a few of our creations!  The tacos above are grilled chicken !taco1
Alicia scored this find at Trader Joes! 24g Protein!  Holla!
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Coach Michelle is on vacation and on prep. Her tacos are on point. That avocado!!  Avocados and that wrap have fiber. That’s about 20g fiber right there!  taco3
Ashley is about 4 weeks out from her show. This is her masterpiece!

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Coach Julia is 7 weeks from her show and this is her taco crunch wrap!
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Melissa is 7 weeks from her show. These are her shrimp tacos! I love the lime. taco5
These are mine. I am 13 weeks from stage. Each one of those shells is only 4 carbs. taco7
Jen nailed her macros while eating tacos out!  um.. yes please!!
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Holy Mama, sometimes you need a taco when you are out. The macros on the Taco Bell Chicken Soft Taco are sweet.

Hack: If you are craving Tacos, front load your tracker with your tacos early in the day and eat around them.

Here’s my 4g Carb Taco shells.

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These are in the grocery store or order online. We buy 72 shells at a time!

Eat food that makes you happy!  #makeItFit

Prepping Not Starving: Pizza

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Warning: These are actual pizzas made by our bikini team in PREP!!

One of the thing that has me completely over the moon is our team’s ability to create amazing food from prep ingredients.  They do it quickly and with flair.

There is no reason to eat plain when you are in a cut!  Creativity goes a long way and creates a sustainable plan!

The above pizza was made by our girl Ashely who is just 4 weeks out from her show.
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Here’s another one she did!

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Coach Michelle is 7 weeks out from her show and rocked this masterpiece.
Chicken, sundried tomatoes, onions, FF mozzarella, reduced fat feta and basil on a flat out.

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This is my SOB on a flat out. I toast my flat out before we bake the pizza.
Jimmy Dean Sausage crumbles, Onions and Louis Rich Turkey Bacon. Sauce Prego light smart red sauce from Walmart.

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Our Bikini Team Athlete, Tracy made this gem.
Pepperoni Pizza for Dinner! 🍕💪🏻Oh man… Winning! ❤️ 308 Calories / 4.5G Fat / 37 Carbs / 32 G Protein
Tomato Basil flat out Wrap
Turkey pepperoni
Marina Sauce
Fat Free shredded cheese
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes

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Melissa did a fun peperoni and sundried tomato version!  mmmmmm
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Debbie, who is 7 weeks out from her show  created this version of the white pizza!
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Tips: Pizza is an easy dinner and it has a secret bonus. Flat our or tortilla wraps have fiber.
There are lower carb wraps too.  You can create your own toppings from your prep food. You can load veggies if you are into that.  You can use full fat or non fat cheese depending on your macros.

You do NOT have to have 12 dry roasted almonds for your fats.  You can have other fats!
Cheese has protein.  Feta is a great choice too!  This is all about you.

Pro-tip: Build your pizza in your tracker in the morning so you can have exactly what you want. Then eat around it for the rest of the day. You can enjoy your evening meal hitting your macros and feeling super smart!

Hey.. if you want to learn more about IIFYM.. go to LEARNIIFYM.COM and let us teach you!
If you want to join our IIFYM bikini team.. we’d love to talk to you.

Prepping Not Starving: Quik Trip Egg bowl hack

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If Quik Trip is local to you, you might have seen this egg bowl in their stores. I had the chance to taste it last fall and it was insane.  I know a lot of restaurants serve this as well.

Last night, we recreated this masterpiece for my  prep macros. I have no pic, because I ate it up. But it looked much like the above one so go with that.

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1/2 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey sausage Crumbles
1 whole egg
1/2 cup whites
1 slice Kraft Fat Free Singles
onions

In the pan with cooking spray, heat your onions first.
Next add the crumbles until they are hot.
Eggs go next
Put the cheese on top and put a lid on it so it melts.

You can modify anything here just adjust your macros.
If you take out the whole egg  you can take off  5g Fat. I use an omega egg so
that’s a good way to get my EFAs. If you have the fat, get some real cheddar!
It’s so good!

BRO ALERT:  If your coach has locked you down to Bro-city, you can still rock this meal.
Use cooked ground turkey and seasonings instead of your sausage.

Wish I’d saved room for Buttered Toast!

Hey.. do you need help with IIFYM? Check us out at LearnIIFYM.com

Prepping not starving: The Monte Cristo Sandwich

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The mister has been binge watching “Top Chef” so my prep has gone to level 3000.
This sandwich is the bomb and the macros are fierce!  Seriously, you can use whatever you want to make your own to fit your macros but this was one I had for Brekkie!! It’s a good pre workout too.

2 slices 97/3 Ham
1 slices FF turkey
100 calorie english muffin
1 slice FF cheese

1/2 egg whites
Splash of vanilla

Mix egg whites and vanilla together
beat it until it is frothy

Drop the muffins into the mixture and let it soak up the eggs.
Fry the bacon and turkey in a pan with some cooking spray.
Remove from the pan.

Put the muffins in the pan and pour the rest of the mixture on top.
Flip them over then put the turkey and ham and cheese on the muffin.
Close it like a sandwich. cover the pan so the cheese melts.
Serve with syrup and jelly or powdered sugar if you have the carbs.

Your macros will vary but you can make it fit, even with some


I know you are working hard on your prep!! Keep going!
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IIFYM, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Pancakes

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Congratulations to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for being chosen as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Note: This is also win for the ladies who like a little beefcake, that’s for sure. 🙂

The Rock is a fitness icon!  He is an athlete and  clearly he lifts!
Not only is he a super positive force in his career, he knows how to eat for his physique goals.

One thing we can all be sure of he has his food correct !!

Plus, he likes pancakes.

Pancakes!
After he finished filming “Hercules” The Rock held an epic cheat day! On this day he whipped up his famous pancakes and ate 12 of them!
I love this picture because in our world of IIFYM, we call this a ‘carb up’ or refeed.

When a person has dieted for a while, a few things happen.  
1. The person gets weary of the diet. Even on IIFYM the fact that we are on a hard cut means we are eating less.
2. Our bodies can become adapted to the lower calories/macros.

A simple carb up or re-feed or in this case.. cheat day will help in both those scenarios.
So while “The Rock” called this an epic cheat day, he still utilized the concepts of body building and IIFYM.  He is eating with purpose!

YOU CAN LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT RE-FEEDS HERE

In our program, carb ups or re-feeds are given to clients with specific instructions. It’s not a random cheat day or binge day, just so you know.

The Rock is a huge dude so 12 pancakes fits his macros. Most of us, ladies.. not so much. That’s why we tailor our carb ups for our clients so they have the best results.

If It Fits Your Macros is amazing because it’s all about the YOU.  You can carb up on things YOU like. I like Fro-yo and Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  Our clients have a lot of fun when it comes to their re-feed!

If you would like to know more about IIFYM and learn the secrets of success, please check us out on LEARNIIFYM.COM  We will teach you online!!  We will work with you to help you reach your physique goals!
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Prepping Not Starving: Tacos!!

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Oh man.. who doesn’t love TACO’S!
I am 12 weeks out from my show and I am nailing my IIFYM prep. This one has been the most fun yet.  Taco prep is going to be my new thing!

Look what I found! LaTiara Low Carb Taco Shells. I got these at my local Schnucks store in the Taco section.They are also available on Amazon and other Low carb sites. Check Google!
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Each taco shell has just 4g carbs where as other shells or tortillas are around 18g carbs each.

La Tiara registers a B on MyNetDiary’s food score so that works for me.
It’s a small taco shell but it’s so good.

The macros for two tacos are
2. oz grilled tilapia
25 g light sour cream
20g fat free cheese
2 table spoon of salsa
2 shell

Total for two tacos
P: 26
C: 13
F: 9
fiber 1
Calories  236
That’s just 118 calories per taco!

Bro prep swaps: If by chance your coach has you on the “no fat ever” bro plan, you could drop down to fat free greek yogurt and only take 4g fat for the whole recipe.

I bought 72 taco shells on my last trip to the store!
Everything in my recipe has an A or B rating and would be considered “healthy”!!

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What about doing Shrimp tacos? Yesss! I mixed shrimp with light sour cream, avocado and
filled the shell! mmmmm..

Try grilling Corn on the Cob if you have the carbs!
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You could also use those taco shells for some nachos if you do it right!
Pro-tip: create your recipe and load it into your tracker early in the day. Just eat around the recipe so you hit all your macros/fiber/veggies/fruit requirements.

I wish you well on your competition training!
t

 

 

IIFYM: Eat this or that

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    Ok.. let’s talk for a minute about choices.  First of all, you are IIFYM, you have them.
    Your world does not have to be protein cookies and no fun.I have compared two items.
  • Lenny and Larry’s Complete Protein Cookie. Serving size is HALF the cookie.
  • One Taco Bell Soft Chicken Taco
    The macros in each are almost the same. The rating is higher on the cookie because of the fiber.  Although, in the large scheme of things a B- isn’t horrible.I eat mostly A /B rated food because I’m probably psycho but more because I like to. It’s a slippery slope when I’m all crazy with my food.  It’s just my way. I’m in no way advocating getting an eating disorder of only eating A rated food. That’s no good.There are people who eat IIFYM who don’t monitor their food rating because they just hit their macros and fiber numbers. The food rating is my thing!

    But..
    I also have issue with eating a A rated protein cookie because sometimes I think it’s important to eat some food that looks like food.  If I can’t make a chicken taco fit in my day, and choose a half of protein cookie.. what? That seems to defeat the purpose of being flexible. My gut instinct is to choose cookies because I eat like a 4 year old. Sprinkles, and icing is my game!!

    The taco would be nice and satisfy my brain and my macros.  It has less carbs than the cookie. I really can make it fit. If you don’t want fast food in your life.. I get that too but we have options.

    Now. I’m not going to get crazy because the taco is lower rated due to the fiber. It has more protein than the cookie.

    My day looks like this:

  • I get about 50-60 g of fiber a day.
  • I eat 3 servings of fruits
  • 500 grams of veggies
  •  I take my Juice Plus trio for my micros.
  •  I eat 5 sources of protein each day and over 35 different foods a week.
  • In a cut I eat 95% nutrient dense foods and 5% discretionary food.

This chicken taco does not scare me. I don’t even think that falls under discretionary food!

 

Would I eat taco bell in prep.. yep. I know science wins here . I’m still finding my way and comfort zone. As I draw closer to stage.. maybe not.  Flexible lifestyle dieting is about options!!

This may be second nature to many IIFYMers.  I am a recovering clean /binge eater+ overthinker . I’m just being honest.

Journey on!!

If you would like to learn how to master your macros.. please visit our site LEARNIIFYM
and we will teach you online!!

t

Ps: check out Fatsecret.com for a huge list of all foods and their macros.