Hmmmm… probably opening a can of worms here, but I just found something that bothers me a little bit.
I Googled “IIFYM” because I thought about researching the “If It Fits Your Macros” style of eating. I heard of this about a year ago on YouTube, and I recall it was initially presented as a free pass to eat nutritionally vacant food as long as you hit your macro grams (protein, carbs, fats) and calorie limits. Lately, others have reinvented it as a mostly clean way to eat with occasional field trips to the land of processed foods.
I researched for all of 30 seconds before I found something that made me go…
There is a site called IIFYM.com and it came up first on the search. There is a page on that site that explains what IIFYM is and how it started. This explanation was written by a man who listed IIFYM.com AND MyOatmeal.com under his name. Then I remembered that there was a big name coach, who is sponsored by MyOatmeal.com and has been vocal about linking the idea of IIFYM with “balance”. OK. I understand that a lot of people think they are being deprived if they can’t eat their favorite processed foods. I eat processed foods sometimes too, but it’s a treat and I don’t feel the need to justify it. I just eat it. And then I go back to whole foods. Anyone who’s been following me for more than a week knows my food isn’t boring. I don’t self-define a style of eating anymore. I just eat what will help me recover from my workouts and stay healthy.
But what’s with the MyOatmeal.com sponsorhips? I assume the company sponsored fitness people who were like-minded. I can respect that. I highly respect the person I referred to a moment ago. (No, I’m not going to name names.) It’s business. I get that. Nothing damaging here, either. But IIFYM, like all things in fitness and nutrition, isn’t appropriate for everyone. I think the best thing about it is that it attempts to make eating less emotional. That’s a good thing.
My original topic for this blog was going to be that people who push IIFYM don’t usually talk about the nutrition – they are focused only on fat loss. These people are usually those youngsters (ie the “under 40” crowd). I’m in this for health of it – cardiovascular and cancer prevention. I love life and want to live and thrive a loooong time. I get jazzed about micronutrients and phytochemicals. I want my 51, soon to be 52-year old skin to glow and snap back as much as it can. Sugar won’t help that at all. I want my organs to regenerate and work at optimum efficiency. Sugar won’t help that at all.
Another down side is that the IIFYM approach actually awakens my old, unhealthy food habits. The more I read from people I respect about how I should feel OK about eating junk to be “balanced” and “flexible”, the greater the compulsion to buy tortilla chips. Sure a few chips are OK. But that bag has more than a few chips in it, doesn’t it? That bag will be eaten within the week. Maybe that’s not a problem for the youngsters. It’s not an emotional problem for me – I don’t beat myself up over food. But it will be eaten, I can’t see how that will help me, so I prefer not to. To make it healthier, IIFYM has been cleaned up – but I don’t think that makes it IIFYM anymore.
I made a post on the LMS Facebook page a few days ago about how the concept of discipline was getting bashed on big fitness pages lately while they push the IIFYM/balance perspective. That’s OK. That’s their opinion. My opinion, which is based on my experience, is that discipline saved my life. The foods listed on that website, the foods that some people feel they need to have for a “balanced” life, were the same foods I ate when I was killing myself with malnutrition and inactivity. That combination put me in a pre-diabetic state and put me on high-blood pressure meds. It put me in an ER with a warning from the doc that women my age, in that condition, don’t always get to hear a warning.
My food is not my religion. I won’t argue the point with anyone. Eat what you want. Judge if you must. Opinions of others do not change my reality.