Flexible Dieting (IIFYM) or Meal Plan? Which one helps you lose weight?
I always get asked the question "will I lose more weight with IIFYM or Meal Planning" and I simply say: I dont know?
Wait what? You're a nutritionist and fitness coach and you don’t know what is going to
help me lose more weight? What is wrong with you?
Let me explain:............
I think I should explain here what exactly flexible dieting is because many people are confusing it for an eat everything you want lifestyle. Flexible dieting or IIFYM is a method of counting calories based on your macro nutrients (protein, fats and carbs). This MAY or MAY NOT include junk food. What most fitness influencers are not showing is that 80% of their macros are coming from whole foods, or clean foods. The other 20% can be junk food or anything you wish. Flexible dieting is meant for just that, flexibility with your food and living a healthy lifestyle. It does not necessarily mean that all you eat is junk food.If someone has the urge to go and eat a chocolate cake, they can if they fit it into their macros and they don’t need to feel guilty about it either.
Now let’s talk about the other method that is seen in the fitness world; meal planning. Meal planning is a planned set of meals associated with rigid dieting. *Please be aware that some personal trainers are not a certified nutrition coach and may not give you a healthy diet.
Ok so back to the question at hand, what is going to make me lose weight? Well it clearly depends on you. Both methods are great if done correctly. You can lose a ton of weight with both, become the next HULK for the avenger’s movie or maintain. Whatever your goals are you can do it with both. However, it just depends on your personal preference. For example, I am not against either of them. As a matter of fact I use them both. While I am prepping for a competition or photo shoot, I prefer to use a meal plan method because I don’t like the flexibility that IIFYM gives me. I will tend to eat more than I should. However, during my gaining season I prefer IIFYM because I enjoy the flexibility in it and enjoying the foods I like without any guilt. That is just my personal preference and there really isn’t any right or wrong way. I know others that prefer IIFYM during both prep and gaining season and vice versa.
That is why when I get asked this question I simply say that it depends on each individual person. If you are ok with having a set meal because you prefer not having to worry about what to eat and you don’t like the idea of having variety because it will make you fall off the wagon, the do the meal prepping. However, if you hate being super rigid and strict and like to be flexib le and can control the food that you eat then do flexible dieting.
At the end of the day, the only factor that really matters in order to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, is that you must enter into a caloric deficit in a gradual, healthy way( there are many coaches out there who do not know what they are doing so please be careful...it has happened to me!). However, which way you prefer to do it is up to you. In reality your body does not know if you are putting a cheeseburger in your mouth or a salad, all it knows is calories in vs. calories out. Until next time kiddos.