One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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IIFYM is NOT a Typo!

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I am normally the first person to Google anything I don’t know. It’s like an instinct. Yet, for some reason when I got the Instagram question about whether or not I’m eating iifym my brain just turned it into a typo.

There’s no way iifym is a “thing.”

Well, I was wrong.

Apparently, it stands for If It Fits Your Macros and I’m gotta say it… as soon as I Googled and saw site after site I rolled my eyes in the snarkiest way possible.

Listen, if you are following this diet and enjoy it I don’t mean to insult. I’m not rolling my eyes at you. I’m rolling my eyes at yet another way of eating that will probably be marketed to death and shoved down our throats like Atkins and low carb, Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, blah blah blah.

Yes, some people truly need to live a gluten-free life and yes, many (myself included) have lost weight eating low carb. Whole30 sounds awesome, too, but when I look at the food list I immediately start to worry… what am I supposed to eat? As for Paleo? Don’t get me started. Please.

Not everyone is going to agree with me here and that’s OK. This is my blog and my little corner of cyberspace to share my thoughts. And my thoughts on diets in general are pretty negative.

If you’ve been reading long enough, you know I started out as a Weight Watchers (WW) girl so you may think I’m being a hypocrite, but the reason I found success on WW was because they didn’t tell me what to eat. They taught me how to eat and gave me a strategy to balance my calorie intake during a time I was really out of control. They also provided accountability and support. So yes, it’s a diet but, and again if you’ve been reading long enough you know, I made it my own.

I truly believe that’s key.

Our whole culture around dieting and eating in general is broken. We are constantly looking for the next thing to blame.

dietwoes

Enough already! That last one, about macros, is iifym, it reminds me of a personalized “Zone” approach.

I’m sorry but it’s all too much.

I get it. I do. We want an easy answer. We want to find that one thing that will solve all our problems, let us eat what ever we want and still look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

It doesn’t exist and never will.

The way I see it we have a few choices.

  1. We could get over it — just stop the madness and be happy fat. Many people have gone this route and if this is you and you are happy, AWESOME!
  2. Pick a diet and make it an obsession. Turn down birthday cake at every party, never eat bread again, beat yourself up if you have an M&M. Again, if this brings you happiness and you are sporting the body of your dreams… AWESOME!
  3. Work on doing a little better every day. Take in all the diet info and learn from it but make it your own. At the end of the day you know what’s “good for you” and what isn’t. Right? You know if you eat an entire bag of Oreos in a sitting and choose bacon double cheeseburgers every day for lunch you aren’t doing yourself any favors. You know fruit and vegetables should be consumed more than anything out of a box from your local grocery store. You also know you should probably move a bit more than you do now. And if you have weight to lose and it’s not coming off then really evaluate what you are doing. Be conscious about everything. Be honest with yourself. Start a food journal. Evaluate your goals. Are you trying to lose a few vanity pounds? Then maybe you do get a bit pickier about your diet for a little bit. If you have a lot to lose, remind yourself that every baby step counts.

That’s really it, isn’t it? Am I missing a potential path? More importantly, did I make myself look like in idiot for not knowing what iifym was?

Probably, but you know what?

I’m proud of myself.

Proud because I’m no longer searching for some diet to solve my problems. I’m not obsessed over every little thing I eat.

Proud because I continually challenge myself. I no longer let my inner mean girl tell me I’m not good enough, or strong enough, or skinny enough, or pretty enough, or YOUNG enough, or {insert any self-doubt} enough.

Could I lose a few pounds? Sure, I’m not the thinnest I’ve ever been. Some people probably even think I’m “fat” (because let’s be honest, if they think Cassey from Blogilates is FAT than, really, I mean … just watch this!) Others think I’m skinny. Now I’m even getting comments about my muscles! <– blows my mind!

At the end of the day, though, none of that matters. Does it?

All that matters is me, how I feel and really…  I couldn’t feel any better.

Food Journal

  • 5:45 a.m. Slice of toast with sunflower seed butter.
  • 7:15 a.m. Post-workout shake (1/2 scoop).
  • 8:45 a.m. Other quinoa experiment. This time I added a sausage link and some spinach. The hame and cheese yesterday was better. :)
  • 12:30 p.m. Leftover pork chop, roasted potatoes, and broccoli.
  • 4:00 p.m. small bag of quinoa chips — love!
  • 6 p.m. Dinner was breaded and baked flounder fillets, homemade fried rice, and broccoli
  • 8 p.m. A few crackers with chocolate hazelnut spread with the kids.

Activity Journal

  • 6 a.m. workout: Thursday is a long workout day and it was CRAZY! But I really enjoyed the change-up. Reminded me of Tough Mudder Training.
    2 Rounds — was supposed to be a 40-minute time cap but I kept going and finished it in 45:20
    400m Run
    26 Hand Release Push ups
    400m Run
    26 KBS (60/40)
    400m Run
    26 Sit-Ups
    400m Run
    26 Back Extensions
    400m Run
    26 Double-Unders
    400m Run
    26 Box Jumps, 24/20
  • I #wycwyc’ed my morning — was feeling really energetic yet I had a lot of writing to do so I took the stairs for every pee break, did squats and counter push-ups while waiting for the microwave and walked on every call.
  • 3:30 p.m. quick 1/2 mil jog to before meeting Ryan after school.

Misc

  • I’m exhausted AGAIN. I was going to stretch but honestly, I’m going to log-off, take my supplements and relax. I can see myself falling asleep on the couch in about 5 min.

 



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Discussion

There are 31 comments so far.

    Michele

    April 23, 2015

    It’s late and I’m super tired (and cranky) so I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way but I think I’ve said it here before. If you’ve found what works for you GREAT!! But I don’t see the need to judge or roll my eyes at anyone or anything that might work for someone else. I mean, I have NO INTEREST in Crossfit whatsoever, so I just skip your workouts at the end of your post because all of that means nothing to me and I just don’t get it. Would it be ok if I rolled my eyes at it instead? I don’t know. I don’t even know if that made sense. Yeah, I need to just take my crabby self to bed now.

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      I don’t think you sounds cranky. I think you are sharing your opinion. :)

      Like I said, I’m not rolling my eyes at people, I love when folks find what works for them. Like you and CrossFit, I hate Zumba but I love seeing people dance it up in a workout doing something they enjoy. There’s no ill feelings there. We just have different interests. Know what I mean?

      What I’m really rolling my eyes at is an industry (is that even the right term?) that keeps turning out these marketable diet plans as if they are the answer to everyone’s problems.

      My whole point is there is no “thing” when it comes to dieting. There’s no trick or certain way to eat, there’s no magic formula or evil macro. And I truly believe that. I also believe once people realize that they can move on and make progress and stop yo-yo dieting.

      My post isn’t really written for someone who found what works for them, it’s written for those that keep hopping on all these trends only to be disappointed when it wasn’t the magic bullet they were looking for.

    Carli

    April 23, 2015

    Hey Roni! Long time fan. Everyday reader of your blog for YEARS! I talk to my friends about u like I know you. ;-) anyway I loved this post. Bc even tho I know what works. I’m still chasing the next big diet, and still fat when I get tired of it after 2 weeks. Thanks for inspiring me to become a blogger and a runner.

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Your site is awesome! Love it!!

    Michele Mercurio

    April 24, 2015

    Most people who preach “it fits my macros!” do so to justify junk food…they count the protein, fat, carbs with no regard for the actual nutritional value or the myriad shitty ingredients…or for portion size. A plate of nachos might “fit your macros” — hey, cheese has protein and fat; chips have carbs! A big carton of chocolate milk might technically fit one’s macros. I see a lot of IIFYM online and none of it has anything to do with nutritious whole foods.

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Reminds me of people gaming WW points.

    Karen

    April 24, 2015

    Well said, Roni!
    I think many of us have just forgotten what’s important in life.
    Count this count that, check Facebook, check Twitter, eat this, don’t eat that….sometimes we forget just to be in them moment and enjoy what important.

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      YES!

    Jessica Flanscha

    April 24, 2015

    I have to say Im very surprised you are snarking on iifiym. Isn’t it kind of like when you follow MFP with a caloric goal in mind? I realize you wrote “If you’ve been reading long enough, you know I started out as a Weight Watchers (WW) girl so you may think I’m being a hypocrite, but the reason I found success on WW was because they didn’t tell me what to eat. ” Of all the iifiym reading I have done over the years, I have never been told “what to eat”. It almost feels like the iifiym you came across is not the same as what I know it as, which seems weird, as I have read about it in the past and googled today again to see what you could have found so snark-worthy. And it is a way of eating where the person has a target number for fat, carbs, and protein, and aims to hit them.
    And iifiym has been around for many, many years and I would be surprised if there is a way to market it… besides people who sell the service of figuring out target numbers for people, I cant imagine there is anything else to sell?

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      I guess it’s all the formulas and analyzing and justifying of what you are eating. It’s another way for people to stress and throw their hands up and walk away or justify to themselves they can eat what ever they want as long as it fits some formula (same way people game WW points – so in that sense it’s not that different.) That said you are right I hopped on the snark wagon pretty quickly…. because I’m over it all. That’s me though and where I am.

      Nikki

      April 24, 2015

      Jessica, I completely agree with your comment.

      Roni: I’m a long time lurker, but never comment. This is one where I am surprised by your reaction. After reading your post, I also Googled IIFYM to see what you might be talking about and honestly, don’t see what prompted your snarkiness. I didn’t see anything that stated that a person had to eat only x, y, and z. The IIFYM is no different, IMO, than a person counting calories using MFP/Sparkpeople, or counting points like WW.

      After starting to treat my journey with my health as a N=1 experiment, I quickly discovered that low-carb (about 40 net carbs per day) is where my body experiences optimal energy and weight balance. But, in order to figure this out, I absolutely had to count my macros so that I could tweak things in order to figure out what worked for me.

      Another thing that I discovered after starting to track my macros is that I was routinely not eating enough protein to maintain my body’s lean body mass. If I’m not paying attention to counting protein, I typically only get 30 to 40 grams, which is about HALF what my body really needs. I suspect that a LOT of people aren’t getting enough protein, just like I discovered in my own diet.

      I’d never heard about the term ‘IIFYM’ prior to your post here (none of the blogs or websites that I follow have ever used that term). But, I am familiar with reaching certain macros, after all my research starting lead me down specific paths of macro targets to achieve specific outcomes. And if IIFYM gets people thinking about that, and gets them thinking about tweaking to a diet plan that works for them, then I’m ALL FOR THAT! :)

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Me too Nikki.. I think I’m just frustrated. :)

    Martha G

    April 24, 2015

    I don’t really “get” the macro idea which is very popular on the livestrong.com site. That said I do pay attention to how my nutrients break down as I am looking to eat healthy.
    One thing I’m learning in my health coaching course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is that we have to pay attention to our own individual needs. What works for one person won’t work for another. I sort of struggle with that however as I am convinced like you that “diets” don’t work. We have to find a way of eating and moving that we can sustain for life. Things might change over time. right now for me I’m pretty much in the Michael Pollan camp of eat “real food, less of it, more plants.” Love to exercise and do that every day. It’s working for me.

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Ditto.. and I think it would work for most. We just overthink everything.

    Alissa

    April 24, 2015

    i lost a ton of weight following ww and eating all foods in moderation. When I started listening to everyone telling me I was eating too much of this or that and started worrying about macros and all of that… I just loss my motivation and stopped losing. I’m starting over following my original mindset again and I’m much happier. Totally agree with this post!

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Thanks for sharing Alissa! That’s how I feel. I always “fall off the wagon” so to speak when I start listening to others, trying these plans and worrying about specific things like carbs or gluten or whatever. It always seems to backfire!

    Brenda

    April 24, 2015

    Roni,
    I have been following your journey since the beginning. You have inspired many things for me. I think its great that you have found your way to what works for you and makes you happy. Its a wonderful message for everyone to take a way and make a plan their own. The thing is that we have all heard a different message for so long, we don’t trust ourselves and we think the answer to our trouble is out there. That being said all of these plans WW, IIFYM, etc are a good template for some to get started and choose better healthier foods. How did you get to the place of being more intuitive? How did you let go of the counting? I would love to hear more about this, is it in the book?

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Honestly.. very slowly! So I probably shouldn’t be so hard on these types of plans. As for you question about it being in the book… it IS the book. Really, the book captures my entire mindset when it comes to these things and there is a section of food related things.

      But it’s not a road map in the sense of do THIS and you will be more intuitive. It more, plants the seed which is my intention with posts like this as well.

    Leigh Anne

    April 24, 2015

    I’m going to start this comment by saying that I’ve been reading for a long time, well before you hit goal and when Evan was still the toddler. You are one of the few blogs that have remained in my reader after many, many paring down sessions. I love that you keep it real and agree with 90% of what you write. I’m also not one to comment a lot. I’m more likely to shrug and walk away if I don’t agree with something that’s written on a blog. But this one is sticking with me, so I need to put my thoughts out there, even though I think you might be coming around to where I am from reading the comments (particularly the macros=points connection).

    I feel like you may have missed what IIFYM is at it’s core (mind you, I don’t use it and am basing this on the people who I have seen following it). To me, it’s just another way of food journaling and aiming for a balanced diet. Perhaps a little more in depth than what you prefer, but still. And while I don’t do the calculations, my sports nutritionist has me following a type of IIFYM plan. For breakfast I eat a protein, a carb, a dairy and a fruit. For lunch, a protein, a carb and two veggies. What those look like from day to day is up to me. For that matter, you follow the same type of guidelines when you have Ryan pack his lunches.

    For two years, I tried to make better choices when I could, to eat healthier and I gained 30 pounds. I wasn’t trying to follow fad diets or take extreme measures. I had the knowledge, I knew what was healthy but I couldn’t find the willpower/motivation/inspiration (whatever you want to call it) to do it on a day to day basis.

    This plan is completely freeing to me. And most of the time your posts about wycwyc and the rejection of the diet cycle feels freeing to me. But this post just felt condescending and insulting. Which I know was not something you would want.

      roni

      April 24, 2015

      Thanks for your insight and experience with it Leigh Anne! Like I said I was a little harsh… but (and you know this) it’s coming from a place of frustration. Especially because I’m continually getting questions about what diet works and what doesn’t and what people should eat, etc. I absorb all of that frustration as well because I’ve been there. I remember searching for THE ANSWER.

      I really think ANY (reputable and sane) diet works… IF it resonates with you and feels intuitive, easy to follow and something you are willing to do for the rest of your life.

      The more I’m reading about iffym the more it does remind me of a WW approach. And for those it relates to who don’t get overwhelmed by all the calculations and adjustments, I’m sure it’s awesome. However, if people think they are going to find the answer to weight loss in a formula I think they are still looking in the wrong place.

      You mentioned Ryan’s lunches and that’s a great example of what I’m talking about.. we don’t over think it, we don’t demonize any one food, we simply balance a meal with a fruit, veggies, protein, etc. without stress of numbers or specifics. We don’t get up in the details which I think these diets (paleo, iifym, whole30, etc) perpetrate and therefore let the details give us a reason to walk away or get frustrated.

      But you’re right… some people may NEED that but it still doesn’t change my opinion that our approach to eating is broken as illustrated by my graphic.

    Erin

    April 24, 2015

    Amen! In 2013, I lost about 50 pounds by eating less – and making the calories count with more nutritious food – and moving more. I’ve kept it off by continuing to do the same things. Everyone who asked “how did you do it?” seemed disappointed with my answer. I think they all wanted the name of the diet that I was on.

    Christina Paul

    April 24, 2015

    I love your muscles! I use them as motivation to build my own!

    Jill

    April 24, 2015

    I didn’t know what it meant either. I am over 50 and through menopause so losing hasn’t been easy for me lately. So I guess I am somewhere between number 1 and number 3 on your list. The older I get the less I want to obsess and the more I want to enjoy. Move more and eat healthy. That’s it for me.

    Tiffany

    April 24, 2015

    I agree with a few of the comments that you may have taken IIFYM the wrong way. I don’t follow IIFYM but have known about it for a number of years. From what I have observed, It tends to be used in body building circles as an alternative to eating squeaky clean but still in a way that supports muscle growth and staying lean. I think at it’s core, this eating template seeks to remove the demonization of certain foods…primarily, those that some might see as “not clean.” It isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and the macros you choose to follow are completely customizable. I’m sure there are people who exploit and misinterpret the system to mean you can eat all the junk you want so long as it fits your macros (likely to their detriment, and not likely to their long-term success), but this isn’t the intent behind the program at all. It is more like, don’t feel like a donut here and there or a slice of pizza now and then can’t be part of a healthy lifestyle, just work it into your macros. WW says exactly the same thing, just substitute “points” for “macros.” It is supposed to be a springboard to a balanced approach to food and nutrition.

    Kitty

    April 25, 2015

    There is certainly a lot in this post I agree with. I do agree with the idea that all or nothing thinking doesn’t work well. If I follow IIFYM, or Paleo, or WW, or low carb, etc. and I think that one misstep means I’ve blown it and must therefore abandon it for something else, then that isn’t productive. I agree.

    At the same time, not everyone is obsessive about these things and they are able to use them as a tool. I count calories and record everything. I look at my macros. I check my WW points. I eat lowish carbs. I limit processed foods. None of these are a fad or something where I think I have to switch because I “blow it.” I use them as a tool.

    I am sure intuitive eating with no counting is GREAT for lots of people. I don’t personally like it. I enjoy counting and looking at data. It is fun for me and I use it to get knowledge from it. Some people like the quantified look at stuff and some people don’t. I like it. And, if I don’t meet what my “goal” is exactly, I shrug and go on. But, I do better for having the goal and collecting the data.

      roni

      April 25, 2015

      I totally agree! You are right, there are hordes of people that follow these plans successfully. Those weren’t the people I was thinking of when I wrote the post so I’m glad you brought that up. I explained that in my next post if you’re interested.

      I used to be all the the data too and then it started to become to obsessive for me and seemed irrelevant as it wasn’t providing me any additional info that was changing my choices anyway.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts!

    Ash Diamond

    April 25, 2015

    Roni I was actually talking with my mom today about this post. I mailed her the #wycwyc book as a gift for us to read this month for our book club and she said describe the authors. This post, in my opinion, describes you perfectly. You want everyone to find the best version of themselves without the false promises of the industry and unrealistic expectations. THANK YOU for that!

      roni

      April 25, 2015

      Thank you!

    Renee

    April 27, 2015

    “For breakfast I eat a protein, a carb, a dairy and a fruit. For lunch, a protein, a carb and two veggies. What those look like from day to day is up to me. For that matter, you follow the same type of guidelines when you have Ryan pack his lunches.” LeighAnn

    This is just WW from the 80’s and early 90’s. You were assigned so many of each group and you chose how to use them. Then people gamed it of course. if you didn’t really want three fruits you decided a baked potato was probably about the same, right?

    There’s really nothing new under the sun. Eat less, move more. And hopefully what you’re eating is mostly real food.

    Roni, you have figured it out. What you are doing works. I salute you!

      roni

      April 28, 2015

      YES! And thanks!!

    I completely agree with you. I’m all about doing what works for each individual person–I get so sick of hearing all these diets marketed to DEATH as being the best, when no one “diet” is best for everyone. I’m a current Weight Watcher-er (is that the appropriate terminology?), and I love it–I’m pretty sure I’m a lifer and will continue going to meetings long after I reach goal :) However, I do make it my own in that I use whole milk, and other full-fat dairy products. I also am not afraid of using my weekly and activity points. I think the key in any weight loss/get healthy effort is to do it in a sustainable way–don’t make changes that you can’t live with forever.