So, what exactly is flexible dieting/IIFYM?
For starters, flexible dieting is not a diet - it’s a nutritional concept. The basic rundown is simple: You have a daily calorie, macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat), and fiber target to hit and as long as those specific numbers are achieved, then food selection is left up to your personal preference. -Kyle Hunt
Alright, so that’s the basics – it is a lifestyle/eating plan that allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want as long as it fits within your macronutrient goal. I’ll go ahead and start from the beginning….
My weight loss journey started about 10 years ago with Weight Watchers. It was a time in my life when I was well over 200 lbs, didn’t know much about exercise, and didn’t know really anything about healthy eating. I thought a “healthy” day was having a grilled chicken burrito from Moe’s because it was “fresh” food…mind you what I got was over 1,000 calories, and WELL over that with the chips that I always ate. So enter weight watchers – I was given an allotted number of points and could eat whatever I wanted as long as it fit within those points. While I was doing this I ate a lot of processed food, frozen meals, sometimes junk….but I was staying within my points and I saw RESULTS. I lost over 40 lbs with weight watchers and I learned portion control and was introduced to the importance of adding exercise into my routine as well. (note: weight watchers does not promote eating only/all/any processed food, that’s just what I did as I started my journey. I am so thankful I found Weight Watchers because it taught me important lessons that might have been overwhelming had I jumped right into something more complicated!
Fast forward a bit and I ventured out onto my own in calorie counting. This was basically the same as weight watchers but I was just watching calories, not points – I was able to maintain my weight loss but didn’t really see much progression (I lost another 15 lbs or so), but during this time I really discovered the importance of heavy lifting in my routine. I started Chalean Extreme during this time (right after I got married) and lost about 20 lbs and 20 inches using this program – I LOVED it and got addicted to seeing change in my body, much of this was due to lifting heavy weights!
Next on my journey….clean eating. There are SOOOOOOOO many definitions of clean eating. Some people say no processed foods, some say no dairy or no meat, some say no grains….it’s a really broad term. I took clean eating to mean eliminating as many processed foods as possible and focusing on whole foods. I have to be completely honest, I know this works really, really well for a lot of people, but this was probably the least effective eating method/lifestyle that I have ever done. Because I was eating whole, healthy foods I felt like I could eat as much of them as I wanted. Now, I KNEW the science behind this was wrong (you have to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 lb), but for some reason I just ignored it! I actually GAINED about 9 lbs doing clean eating and not tracking actual calorie consumption. Again, I know this works for some people, but it just didn’t work for me.
So enter flexible dieting/IIFYM. I was super hesitant to start with this because I had heard some bad press about it. A lot of people refer to it as the “pop tart” diet, or just assume that if you follow IIFYM you eat a ton of junk and processed foods, but that really is NOT what it is all about!! I can guarantee you that there is NO way I would meet my macro goals every day if I ate a bunch of junk! To get started with IIFYM I bought Krissy Mae Cagney‘s book “Flexible Dieting“, really familiarized myself with the concept and then calculated my numbers using her formula/worksheet at the end. I *highly* recommend checking out this book if you are looking to start with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting. Her formula is pretty dead on and super easy to figure out – the book is worth your money!
One of my favorite things about IIFYM and Flexible Dieting is removing the phrase/terms cheat meal or cheat day from your vocabulary. When I was “clean eating” and just regular calorie counting I would have a cheat meal or cheat day which meant I could eat anything and everything I wanted to without tracking it or caring. While this is a super fun concept, it truly can negate any progress you make in your week. Think about it – going back to that caloric deficit and needing a deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 lb, you could eat into half (or more!!) of that deficit by not being aware of what you are eating which while slow your progress down BIG TIME…believe me, I’ve been there. So with IIFYM you are taking away that concept. Anything and everything is ok to eat – no cheating. What other area of your life is cheating considered a good, fun or encouraged thing?! NONE! Why should it be encouraged in your diet??? If I am going out to dinner I am mindful of what I am eating all day and try to plan ahead for our meal out. Want a donut? Great! Log it/track it and move on with the day – probably means I’ll be eating a lot of high protein/low carb and low fat foods to counteract that choice. DON’T give food control (positive or negative) over your life – it’s food, it’s meant to fuel your body, not to make you feel like a good or bad person.
To get started with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting all you need is your numbers (you can get them from that book I referenced above!) and a food scale – you need to weigh everything you eat – even prepackaged or measured stuff. Weigh it and track it…no excuses! Seriously – you will be shocked how innaccurate your measuring cups and spoons are when you start weighing – I’ll do a post on that later!
My standard day looks something like this (I like to eat frequently….there is no rhyme or reason to this, some people prefer 3 large meals a day with no snacks, it really doesn’t matter!)
- 5:30 am- banana
- 7:00 am – protein shake
- 8:00 am – 1 egg, 100 g egg whites scrambled with veggies, toast or oatmeal and fruit
- 10/11 am – cottage cheese or a protein bar if I am on the go
- 1:00 pm – protein shake with peanut butter and a giant serving of spinach
- 3:00/4:00 pm – some kind of snack – fruit and nut butter; cheese; yogurt; veggies/hummus
- 6:00 pm – dinner -usually meat and vegetables
- 8:00 pm (if I have macros left which lately I don’t…) – greek yogurt with peanut butter
So that’s my standard day…all delicious food, very little processed…all things I LOVE!!!
Hope this was helpful…please let me know if you have any questions!
I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure how to pray with Elliot. When I say that, I don’t mean I wasn’t sure how to pray FOR her, that seemed like second nature, but praying WITH her and teaching her to pray seemed so intimidating to me for some reason. I came across a blog or pinterest post about a year ago and when I saw it, I knew it would work for us: the prayer jar.
In the jar there are a ton of sticks with names of family members, friends, etc. At first I just did family members and a few friends we saw regularly, but in the past few months she asked about specific people, so we added them to the jar! Now there are friends from church, school, the neighborhood, etc.
Each night I tell her to pick 2 sticks from the jar – she usually tries to take all of them out and put them back in 1 by 1 while we read the names (she an excellent staller….), but usually we end up with 2 or 3. In the past I would pray for each person by name, then pray for our day, our family, thank the Lord for our days, etc, but recently SHE has wanted to pray which has been SO SWEET! I love hearing her sweet little voice praying for the ones that she loves. It’s short and sweet…”thank you daddy, AAAAAMEN! I love you Jesus!” It’s become part of our nightly routine and I am so, so thankful for it.
If you’re looking for a little thing to do with your kids, this is a GREAT tool! We really love it in our house!
I’m so excited to be doing my very first giveaway! If you have been curious to check out the T-25 workout, this giveaway is for you!
T-25 is a workout that BLASTS away your excuse of “I don’t have time” as it provides 25 minutes of an INTENSE workout that is suitable for anyone. You will LOVE this workout! Be sure to comment on this post for an extra entry into the giveaway!
**note: Beachbody Coaches are NOT eligible for this giveaway!**
Wow….I can’t believe I am writing a TWO YEAR update for my sweet girl! What an amazing two years it has been. Being a mom has been such an unbelievable joy, I can even explain it. Yes, there are hard days, but the good days far outweigh the bad and watching my sweet girl (and boy!) grow is truly a delight and I am so thankful the Lord chose me to be their mom!
Elliot, at 2 you:
- talk like a 3 year old. People are always amazed at how much you talk. We are able to hold a conversation with you, you ask questions in full sentences, and are so full of words…SO full! ;)
- LOVE to play with your baby. You push her in the stroller, you love to give her bottles, put her down for naps, and really do anything a mommy does. It’s so fun to watch you pretend and play with her!
- you love your baby brother and are SO sweet with him. You ask to hold him a few times a day, give him kisses and call him “Deekey” – you are a GREAT big sister!!
- are still an excellent sleeper. You go down around 7 pm and get up between 8-9 am…seriously, best toddler sleeper of all time!
- LOVE your cousins! We just got back from a vacation with them and you are still talking about it and ask to go to the beach house at least once a day. Parker is your best bud!
- LOVE the zoo. We have an annual pass there and go about once a week. I always ask you what you want to do each day and you usually say the zoo! You are VERY specific about the order in which we see all of the animals and like to do it the same every time! (including putting your face in this sign)
- are obsessed with Barney….ob-sessed. At first I thought it was annoying, but now I love Barney too! You can sit and watch an entire episode which blows my mind. You love to sing the songs, copy the dances, and just generally love everything about the show. Today you told me “Barney is a boy dinosaur. I love him.”
- started at a new preschool this year and have loved it so far! You go 2 mornings a week and you love to paint, do playdough, play on the playground and go to music class at school!
- love dogs! Whenever you see a dog you get very excited and ask to pet it.
- can say your ABC’S and count to 6! (not really sure why you stop at 6! :))
- can identify primary colors – every week you have a new favorite, this week it is blue!
- love to sing! Your favorites are: Twinkle Twinkle, ABC’s, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Where is Thumpkin and Jesus Loves Me….and the Barney theme song of course!
I know there are SO many more things I could say about you, but I guess I should stop at some point! Elliot, you are the sweetest girl. Everyone who meets you is just enamored by your sweet spirit! You are kind, loving, smart, funny and absolutely captivating! I am so, SO proud to be your mom and so thankful YOU made me a mom!
**sorry for the phone pics, I’ve been lazy getting my nice camera out these days!**
I am on a mission to simplify and declutter our life and home. I feel constantly “busy” and surrounded with stuff and it all drives me INSANE!!! I thought it would be fun to start a little series on steps I am taking to simplify and share the things I find that are useful. The first one being….the diaper bag. I carry a BIG diaper bag because I don’t want to carry that in addition to a purse. However, I find that my diaper bag turns into a black hole of garbage and I can never find anything I actually NEED.
I have tried organizing it every few days, separating things into ziploc bags (that then need to be replaced every few weeks) and I just couldn’t find the right solution, which really made me wonder how I was going to carry stuff for TWO kids when I was looking like Santa Claus carrying stuff for ONE kid….but I think I finally nailed it. I SO wish I had a picture of my diaper bag before I implemented this system….it was OUT OF CONTROL!!!
Going back to the Ziploc bag idea – that actually worked really well, separate bags for all of the things I needed, but again, not lasting. Enter the zippered pouch. I have three of them: 1 for Elliot, 1 for Deacon, and 1 for me (poor Deacon doesn’t have a name on his because I ordered them when he was still nameless…he’s lucky he actually got named ;)).
the kids pouches are from thirty-one gifts.
Elliot’s pouch holds her necessities: 1 or 2 diapers (depending on length of the outing), a snack or two, and paper and crayons.
Deacon’s pouch holds: a few diapers, a paci, a burp cloth, my nursing cover and a change of clothes (not pictured)
My pouch contains: my credit cards, cash, ID, etc…basically my wallet contents, but this pouch is big enough to hold my phone, keys and lip gloss as well!
there are a few items that we all need to use so those get neatly tucked into the diaper bag pockets. These items include: wipes, hand sanitizer spray, sunscreen, chapstick (well, that’s just for me), and healing balm (for diaper rashes, cuts, etc) and a small changing pad (not pictured)
The thing I LOVE about this method is the stuff you need for each kid is easy to grab. Need to change Deacon? Just grab his pouch and the wipes and you’re set, no need to dig through the bag for each item. Elliot needs a snack? Grab the pouch. It’s also awesome when I am just taking 1 kid with me as I can leave the other pouch at home, or when I drop them off at church, the gym, etc, I can just hand over the pouch for each child without having to pack separate bags each time. Then when it’s time to go just tuck all of the pouches in and we are all set to hit the road!
Another thing I have learned along the way is…kids don’t need a bunch of crap to entertain them. Paper and crayons is enough for Elliot. We did get stuck waiting for over an hour at the doctor the other day so I whipped out my phone and we flipped through the photos in the gallery….kept her occupied for 30 minutes! I used to stuff my bag with toys, books, etc, but unless we are traveling I have found that is really not necessary.
To further minimize the need for filling the diaper bag I have a changing station in the car – it’s a little bag that has about 10 diapers for each child , a BIG box of wipes and a change of clothes, so if we need to change on the go or I run out of diapers in their pouches there is always a backup!
Again, I have really loved this new system for our diaper bag, and hopefully it helps you! Do you have any tips for simplifying on-the-go?