Friday, July 26, 2013

"Diet" Wars

Holy crap. I'm overwhelmed right now over what's going on in blogland over clean eating vs IIFYM. Overwhelmed enough that I'm going to try to put my thoughts on this into words, which is taking a few days. As a disclaimer, I'm not an expert by any means. I have a BSc, which did include a few advanced nutrition classes so I'm not coming into this blind, but there's so much literature out there that I can't keep up. 

To start, here is what I know:
  1. I need a minimum of 130g of carbs a day for proper BRAIN function. 
  2. I need adequate amounts of fibre for proper digestion.
  3. Trans and sat fats aren't the best for you and should be limited.
  4. Protein is essential, but too much is detrimental for kidney functioning. 
  5. Too much refined sugar is what gives you a "belly".
  6. Frequent eating (every 3 hours) is beneficial for metabolism (and mood!). 
  7. Most importantly - I feel MY best when I eat whole foods.
And here's my take on the two lifestyles from my understanding of them:

I believe that clean eating promotes a healthier diet than IIFYM. My first impression when I went to the IIFYM website was them promoting an "eat whatever you want" philosophy, as long as the nutrients fit your calorie goal, macros, and you had enough fibre. They scoffed at the idea of "clean eating" saying that it leads people to binge; the IIFYM "diet" could include ice cream everyday if you wanted. Granted, with the recommendations for macros, calories and fibre, one would have to eat relatively healthy in order to fit these requirements. Clean eating however, promotes whole foods, minimal processed foods, and minimal refined sugars. 

When it all boils down, I think everything depends on what works for YOU. Either of these diets can be taken to serious (and to detrimental) extremes. Clean eaters can take the rules as far as becoming orthorexic, and IIFYMers may eat garbage food all day. My philosophy with everything is BALANCE.  

I may consider myself a clean eater, but by no means is my diet 100% clean. In my past, I've been known to limit calories to the extreme, and other times I'd eat whatever I could get my hands on. Now I try to keep my foods clean, but I don't stop myself if I want some dark chocolate or a few fries. It's not always about how healthy the food you eat is, but how healthy is your relationship with food? I don't believe in tracking macros, I'd rather just enjoy the food that I eat. 

The last thing that I want to do is feel as though my diet is overly restrictive. I want a maintainable diet that is satisfying, and will give me the nutrients and energy that I need so that I can keep the body that I want. I don't believe in extreme dieting or exercising to get to your goal, because what happens after that? I've gained all the weight I've lost 3 times so far. I'm not planning on letting this happen again. 

Consistency + balance = healthiness and happiness. 

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