The Dark Side of IIFYM ( and diets in general)

http://bgg2wlplugins.bgg2wl.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/emotional-eating.jpg

http://dietsinreview.s3.amazonaws.com/diet_column/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/stress-eating.jpgRemember when I raved about the dietary approach called If It Fits Your Macros, or flexible dieting?  I experienced some significant personal growth with respect to the way I approached and related to food.  I still believe that others can experience these breakthroughs via IIFYM as well. Not to mention, I and countless others have achieved significant changes in our physiques.  But, at what cost? And were those changes sustainable?  As I alluded in my How-To: Take a Break post, following IIFYM for a long-term, continuous basis is not feasible or sustainable.  Like all diet plans and program, “flexible dieting” or If It Fits Your Macros has both benefits and pitfalls for its followers.  I’ll be exploring the less desirable aspects of this program (and other “restriction diets”) in this post.

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Welcome to the SWYPO* Series

Courtesy of whole30.com

Courtesy of whole9life.com

That’s right folks, it’s time for a wink and a nod to the concept coined by Whole30 founders Melissa & Dallas Hartwig of “Sex With Your Pants On” concoctions that attempt to mimic the deliciousness of a “real deal” junk food treat with only Whole30-approved ingredients.

DURING your Whole30, these baked (and no-bake) goodies are explicitly off limits, and for good reason:

…If you continue your Whole30 program eating Paleo pizza, Paleo ice cream and Paleo pancakes, well… all it makes you think about is how less-than-stellar this version is, and how delicious the other version would be. Just like… well, you know.

The problem is, if you continue to have sex with your pants on, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re gonna want to take your pants off. And during your Whole30, that spells trouble…

Do you really want to spend the entirety of your Whole30 obsessed with all the stuff you can’t have, and eating the same foods you’ve been eating all along? We sure don’t! If you come out of your program with the same habits, patterns and food choices you had when you started, what are your chances for long-term, life-changing success? After all, those very same habits, patterns and food choices are what got you into trouble in the first place!

See more at http://whole9life.com/2011/10/sex-with-your-pants-on/.

So, what exactly am I doing? Well, I’ve set out, deliberately and intentionally, to create goodies that use only nourishing and nutrient-filled real, whole food ingredients that are compliant with the Whole30 program and yet are incredibly delicious, better-for-you desserts and sweet treats. Some are so good, in fact, that I’d dare to call them SWYPOFF (Sex With Your Pants Off)! Because there are going to be times in your life after your Whole30, that you’re going to want or need (i.e. to share with friends or family or to mark a special occasion) a certain special something. But after all you’ve learned from your Whole30 about healthy food choices and their impact on your life, you’re not often going to want to stomach (literally and figuratively) the laundry list of gut- and mood-disrupting and downright unpronounceable ingredients that can show up on processed options, or even in your own (or your mother’s own) homemade, from-scratch baking (there’s a time and place for those treats, too).

Still wondering whether a treat is worth it and whether you should just go for it and have the REAL DEAL? Check out: http://whole9life.com/2011/04/whole9s-guide-to-nutritional-off-roading/

And if you’ve made up your mind that one of my SWYPO goodies is just the ticket, then I hope to see you back here soon! (But not DURING your Whole30).

Questions?  Comments?  Criticisms?  I take them all!  Comment below or send me an e-mail per my Contact Information in the side panel.

How-To: Make (the best!) Mayonnaise at Home (Paleo, Whole30)

Homemade Mayonnaise Quick and Easy

Ready for a healthier version of something you likely already have in your fridge?  A creamy, cool condiment gets the makeover treatment.  I’ve culled the web and done a lot of experimenting on your behalf to bring you The Best Homemade Mayonnaise (Ever).  I didn’t just make this up on my own, but I will share the unique combination of ingredients and technique I used for the richest, creamiest, most-delicious mayonnaise you have ever tasted, without any of the less-than-desirable ingredients and additives you might find in store-bought stuff.   Keep reading

Review: Quest Bars (Non-Chocolate Category)

Quest BarsAs I mentioned in my review of all of the Quest Nutrition Quest bars containing chocolate, it just wouldn’t be fair to rate them against the Quest bars that don’t feature chocolate.  That being said, these bars are all delicious in their own right.  And sometimes (only sometimes), I’m actually in the mood for something OTHER than chocolate (shocking, I know, but it DOES happen).  When the mood for Cinnabon strikes, or some other delectable delight such as apple pie or strawberry cheesecake, I know that Quest bars have got my back in case I need a high-protein, portable option instead of the real deal.

So, here’s my (totally unofficial, non-sponsored) ranking of the Quest bars that DON’T have any chocolate in them.  As I’ve said before, I am (sadly) not compensated in any way by Quest Nutrition for my *expert* opinion, so while this post is plastered with Quest bars, all content, views and opinions expressed herein are my own and I have no affiliation with Quest Nutrition (other than as a very loyal and vocal customer) – yet (here’s hoping!).

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Review: Quest Bars (Chocolate Category)

Quest BarsAs a reminder, I LOVE QUEST BARS.  I don’t think they’re the “cleanest” or most “natural” or best “whole food” choice out there, nor do I think they’re a great snack choice for non-active bodies, and I certainly don’t agree with feeding them to young children (I’ve seen posts on the Quest Nutrition Facebook page of parents giving their TODDLERS Quest bars “for teething” – give your heads a shake, people!).  But for ME – I just can’t get enough of them.  I shudder to think how many hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars I’ve spent on Quest bars in the just under two years that have elapsed since I was introduced to them (had I known at the time what a staple they would become in my diet, I would have kissed the person who introduced me to them).

All that being said, I don’t love all Quest bars equally.  So I decided to stack ’em up for you.  And remember, I am (sadly) not compensated in any way by Quest Nutrition for my *expert* opinion, so while this post is plastered with Quest bars, all content, views and opinions expressed herein are my own and I have no affiliation with Quest Nutrition (other than as a very loyal and vocal customer) – yet (here’s hoping!).

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How-To: Make (Raw) Cashew Butter at Home

Homemade Cashew ButterIt’s time to fire up your food processor!  I’ll take you through the process of making your very own raw cashew butter at home.  I learned so much from The Healthy Foodie in her post All Natural Homemade Raw Cashew Nut Butter, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Keep reading

How-To: Make Macadamia Butter at Home

Homemade Macadamia Nut Butter SpoonfulIf my How-To: Make Hazelnut Butter at Home inspired you, then hopefully this How-To will elevate you.  I’ve taken what I’ve learned from making nut butters, including different flavour combinations, and come up with this gorgeous roasted macadamia nut butter with vanilla and sea salt.  (And if the last How-To didn’t inspire you to fire up your food processor – or high-speed blender – then maybe this one will.)

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How-To: Take a Break

Image source: http://eurythmia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Relax-slider.jpg

Image source: http://eurythmia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Relax-slider.jpgYou might think from my previous How-To posts on How-To: Track Your Macros and How-To: Track Your Progress that I’m an advocate for relentless, unyielding pursuits of fitness goals, striving to be ever leaner/fitter/faster/stronger.  I’M NOT.  You simply CANNOT continue to push the body without expecting it to push back.  Your body is smarter than your brain, and it is HIGHLY efficient.  Ever wonder about weight loss and/or strength gain plateaus?  You reduce your intake/increase your workouts and yet that one last pound gets harder and harder to lose or lift?  Your body, marvelous machine, has reduced its metabolism and has gotten smarter and more efficient about fueling its required processes with LESS fuel, because you are supplying it with LESS fuel.  Very smart (if only our cars operated on the same principle!).  Similarly, your body has adapted to the stress of the workouts and doesn’t experience the same muscular hypertrophy and strength gains as it previously did under the same or lesser loads.  VERY, very smart!

So, what do we do about this?  Well, in a word – nothing!  That’s right, there’s virtue in kicking back and relaxing!  It’s time to talk about the value of knowing when to strive and knowing when to stop.

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How-To: Track Your Progress

Image source: http://northwrightcounty.today/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/scale-and-tape-measure1.jpg

Image source: http://northwrightcounty.today/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/scale-and-tape-measure1.jpgAs I mentioned in my How-To: Track Your Macros post, you’re going to get a wealth of information about your macronutrient intake.  But generally people are only going to put in that level of effort if they have a goal to achieve, in terms of physical performance and/or body composition.  And the very best goals are S.M.A.R.T goals: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely/time-oriented.  So, if you confer with your trusted health professional and decide that a realistic goal for you is to lose 10 lbs in 6 months, then you’ve covered off all of those attributes.  But you won’t know whether you’ve achieved that goal unless you MEASURE – in this case, you have to step on that damn scale!  You won’t know whether the actions you are taking (the input), such as eating a certain macronutrient ratio/target each day, are working as intended unless you look at the output.  And progress is multi-faceted – so the more measurements you take, the more you can see progress and successes in areas you might have otherwise missed by focusing on one measurement exclusively (i.e. only ever looking at the unchanging number on the scale without realizing that you’ve lost several inches by decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass and/or gotten noticeably stronger at back squats).

So, that’s my case for tracking progress.  If you’re a believer, follow along!

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How-To: Track Your Macros (IIFYM a.k.a. Flexible Dieting)

Image source: http://mindovermunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/macros.jpg

Image source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Sys5vdIVsJ4/Uh_StNxnLSI/AAAAAAAACwQ/-6XvxkVTZPk/s1600/fe480cea0cb211e3bd6322000a1fa42a_7.jpgAlright.  You’ve heard about it.  You’ve seen the acronym a few too many times, and far too many photos in your Instagram feed of “bikini athletes” mowing their way through deep-dish pepperoni pizzas as part of their show prep.  If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is a food/nutrition/diet movement that looks at food at the macronutrient level: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. P-C-F, in IIFYM short-hand.

Image source: http://itsvmfitness.blogspot.kr/2013/08/a-closer-look-at-iifym-if-it-fits-your.htmlThere is no more “clean” food vs. “junk” food or “good” food vs. “bad” food.  No more cheat days or treat days; no “earning” carbs or calories.  Food is food.  From an apple to an anchovy, a chicken breast to a Cheez-It, all food is comprised of the same three basic macronutrients (yes, there are also micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals to consider, but we’ll worry about that later).  The idea is that your body needs a certain personalized ratio of these three macronutrients for optimal performance and body composition.  Figure this out and then make small changes over time and you can reap lasting changes in your strength, physique and body composition.

This post is NOT about figuring out YOUR personalized macronutrient ratios.  There are other websites for that and frankly, that can actually be the easy part.  The harder part (as always) is putting information into action and taking the steps to actually eat the desired/required macronutrients in the run of a day (or week).  The only way to know whether you’re actually doing this is to TRACK WHAT YOU ARE EATING.  Everything you’re eating and ALL of what you are eating.  THAT is what this post is about.

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