1) Hey Liana! Tell us about your dieting history and journey with not only flexible dieting but with food in general.
Throughout my child hood i was not the most healthiest eater. This caught up with me by the time i reached high school and therefore ONLY focused on wanting to lose weight. So during this time i thought the only way to lose weight was to restrict my eating. I would eat sparingly throughout the day which resulted in binge eating at night due to the restriction, paired with long extensive time on the cardio machines. This continued until college. During college i became involved in a lot of partying and with partying comes poor diets. I had gained 25 pounds while at college and knew when i came home this needed to change. During my third year of college i became introduced to the idea of counting my calories and incorporating the 40/40/20 rule. This is when my cooking began due to wanting to fuel my body with healthy meals. Even though i was not restricting food as bad as i had in the past, i was still afraid of eating more..but i knew i NEEDED to in order to lose weight. I trusted the process and immediately saw results. This peaked my interest about nutrition which resulted in my own research of how to lose weight, workout, and basic nutrition principles. Yes, i became knowledgable, but i became obsessive about “clean eating.” Many people do not see this type of eating as restrictive due to eating the necessary amount of food for my body, but it was restricting any food that was made out of processed ingredients. Yes this produced results, but i quickly plateaued and i did not know why. About 2 years ago throughout more of my research, I came across Layne Norton who was the first person who had introduced the idea of IIFYM or flexible dieting. I knew i did not want to be a “clean eater” any more and wanted to enjoy the foods i loved. I knew I HAD to once again trust the process. I experimented with configuring my own macros through certain websites which increased my experience with IIFYM and flexible dieting. I had the freedom i wanted, while also getting the results i wanted. I believe both of these aspects combined is what helped motivate me and grow my passion for lifting and fueling my body today.
2) What has been your favorite part about learning to incorporate flexible dieting?
My favorite part about incorporating flexible dieting is being able to have freedom. Freedom from feeling guilty over eating certain foods, and freedom to eat a variety of foods, from oatmeal and egg whites to Reese’s puffs cereal and double stuffed oreos. I am able to attend social events, restaurants, and vacations without feeling the need to turn it into a constant “cheat day.” Flexible dieting has also allowed me to learn so much about my body, nutrition, and fueling my workouts which has given me relief after being obsessed with the idea of “clean eating.” Lastly, one of my main passions include cooking which flexible dieting has allowed me to experiment with a variety of recipes. Restriction does not need to be a part of my story anymore.
3)How has incorporating an untracked day of eating helped you along this journey?
Incorporating an untracked day has helped me mentally and physically. At first, I knew i wanted to do it once the idea was brought to my attention, but i was nervous and hesitant. In the past, having an untracked meal meant saying “fuck it” or turning it into a cheat day, as a result of my history of binge eating. This time i knew it was going to be different. It has allowed me to recognize the knowledge and experience i had gained through flexible dieting while also allowing me to recognize my true hunger cues. Often times, we can turn to flexible dieting and macro counting for all the right reasons, but it is very easy for it to act as a crutch rather than a tool. This was the situation for me and i did not recognize this until recently. This is something i am still consistently working on as it is not an over night switch, yet incorporating the untracked day is helping improve my mind set and confidence.
4) What do you eat in a typical day?
Breakfast: Egg white scramble with veggies like spinach, mushrooms, and peppers, topped with some salsa, with a side of a carb choice (either oatmeal, frozen hash browns, toast, or fruit are my favorites)
Mid morning: Chobani flavored or plain greek yogurt mixed with almonds and french toast crunch cereal
Pre workout: Sweet potato, broccoli, lean protein (chicken, turkey meatballs, salmon are my favorites)
Post workout: 3 slices of Cinnamon raisin ezekiel french toast topped with banana and sugar free pancake syrup
Dinner: Baked spaghetti squash chicken parmesan boats
Evening snack: One serving of Edy’s slow churned cookie dough ice cream topped with sprinkles, and cookie dough peanut butter, with a side of strawberries