Clean Eating vs. IIFYM: is one superior?

So APPARENTLY I caused some confuuuusion last week when I posted a picture of a turkey sausage, egg and cheese sandwich I got from Dunks with the captain saying you don’t need to “eat clean” to be healthy.

What I actually meant was…

YOU👏🏼DONT👏🏼NEED👏🏼TO👏🏼EAT👏🏼CLEAN👏🏼TO👏🏼BE👏🏼HEALTHY👏🏼 No, I don’t mean “fit.” I mean HEALTHY – physical, mental, emotional HEALTH – because there is more to health than just your digestive system. You have a brain too and you gotta keep that thing sane along your fitness journey.

Let me be very clear here: “eating clean” and following macros are two very different lifestyles but neither one is wrong and neither one is superior to the other. It’s all about what works for YOU, physically and mentally. For sake of argument, I’m diving into this topic based on the idea that the ultimate goal is fat loss, as that is most peoples’ end goal when they begin their fitness journey.

Clean Eating:There really is no definitive way to describe “clean eating,” it’s subjective and may differ from individual to individual but I think the general consensus is that it means you eat only unprocessed foods with no added sugars and sodium, no chemicals or GMOs, and basically no fun (IMO). Anyone that wants to follow this kind of diet – ALL THE POWER TO YOU! By all means, do what makes you happy and whatever makes you feel good. But one thing to remember is that “eating clean” may make your insides healthy and all but if you’re not eating the appropriate amount of calories on a daily basis, all the “clean foods” in the world won’t help you lose fat because calories are calories and you need to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat. But maybe you’re not trying to lose weight, maybe your goal is strictly to provide your body with all the wonderful nutrients that it needs to function at the most optimal level and you really want cleanse your body from the inside out. Then this is the diet for you!

IIFYM: On the other hand, there’s IIFYM which is short for IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS. With this method, your diet consists of any and all foods that you want it to consist of as long as, at the end of the day, you hit all of your macronutrient target numbers and overall calories. *(if you don’t know, macronutrients are proteins, carbs and fats)* You want to eat salads and chicken and asparagus but no ice cream or chocolate or donuts? YOU GO GIRL! You want to eat a turkey sausage, egg and cheese on a plain bagel from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, followed by a salad with grilled chicken and fat free ranch dressing and a bowl of fruit for lunch, then a steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner and a bowl of ice cream for dessert! Now you’re speaking my language. As long as you keep track of all the macros in all those foods and they fit into your daily budget, guess what? You’re still on track baby! You’re kicking ass towards your fat loss goals while also keeping your mind healthy by allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you love on a daily basis. Forcing yourself to follow a strict diet because you think that’s what you need to do to lose fat is unnecessary torture. Most people like having a little junk food, I know I do! So if you’re able to satisfy your sweet tooth or your late night cravings while staying loyal to your fitness goals and see the results you want, why wouldn’t you?

Like I said though, at the end of the day, it’s what works for YOU. This is YOUR fitness journey where the ultimate goal is to make yourself happy and proud and confident, and whatever route you choose to take to get there is totally up to you. There is no right way, nor is there a wrong way. There are ways that are proven to get better results but if those ways don’t fit into your lifestyle and won’t work out for you in the long run, there’s absolutely no reason you should follow them.

Baby, if you like salads, eat salads! If you like cookies, girl, get yo ass some cookies! Work them into your daily macro budget, find a balance that will keep your body AND mind right. Don’t ever forget that HAPPY is healthy.

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