IIFYM Clean Eating Disorder

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  1. Gabrielle says:

    Thank you for this article, it really summarizes my own personal experience with dieting. I’m not (yet?) a competitor but I do have the ambition to be in the best shape I can be. I practise bodybuilding for 4 years now and to exact, I can categorize my approach to dieting in the past years like this:

    Stage 1: starting with bodybuilding, being very strict and “clean” about my diet, to the point where my social life was suffering and having hour long walks through the supermarket because I was struggling with which foods are “bad” or “good”
    Stage 2: having extreme binges and completely losing control about my diet. I gained quite a few pounds. I got into a depression and at a point I stopped working out and stopped tracking calories, nutrients, anything.
    Stage 3: I wanted to have a normal relationship with food again and tried to “listen to my body”. Result was that I lost muscle mass and pretty much all of my progress dissapeared.
    Stage 4: Depression was over, wanted to regain my mass and be shredded, resulted in a succesful 10 months of intense training and strict eating. I rebuild some lean mass and after restricting my calories even some veins were visible and I was really happy because I’ve never seen my body like that. People kept giving me compliments about my progess and that motivated me to being even more strict (I’m a woman btw)
    Stage 5: At one point I ended up being totally overtrained and fed up with dieting, again restulted in uncontrollabe binges…. You’d think I learned from the past, but apparently not.
    Stage 6: A couple of months later, this is where I am now. I have realized that extremes lead to succes in the short term but also lead to enormous setbacks longterm. At least, for me. I want to continue to improve my fysique, but I also want to be physologically healthy and don’t let food control my life. I just recently got familiar with IIFYM or flexible dieting, and I really like the approach that there are no bad or good foods and you can stay on track with your goals without being always superstrict with your food choices. So right now I’m tracking my macros daily and I eat foods that are healthy and rich in micronutrients, but I als include foods that I like. I still eat at least 80% “clean” (although I really hate that word now, I mean, what is “clean” anyway?), but If I feel like having an icecream I can just eat it without feeling guilty and leading to enormous binges. I also see the downfall of IIFYM, which is always counting calories and macros and using foodscales daily, but I prefer to that over restricting myself in foodchoices and having epic cheatmeals on the weekends. I want to develop a way of eating which I can easily follow for the rest of my life, not just for a couple of months. I also try to be flexible about my calories and macros in social events, because otherwise I’m afraid I will develop a new disorder and that’s just the point I never want reach again.

    I will definitely consider taking a break from dieting every now and then, to keep sane and reset hormones and I’m curious about the ways you discover in real life to practise balance. Balance will be my new motto for 2014!

    Keep up the great articles!
    Oh and excuse me if my english is not perfect, I’m Dutch 🙂

    1. Altug Kop says:

      Wow, thank you so much for your detailed comment, Gabrielle – I always find it so brave when people are willing to talk about such personal and difficult to talk about subjects such as this. (I also find women are more open than men about this topic for some reason even though it DEFINITELY is a problem for men too! I hear signs of disorders all the time when speaking with male competitors)

      I think you’re coming to a healthy place now with your eating and I think that is something that comes with experience – Sometimes a passion for something so wonderful such as fitness can be turned into an obsession and we need to take a backward step to see that – That’s my experience anyway and it’s actually very close to your own when I read your stages.

      Keep up the great work and with your attitude and honesty with yourself, you’ll definitely make it to the stage one day if that’s the path you choose!


      1. Gabrielle says:

        Thanks for your reply Altug, and you’re welcome, I just really felt the urge to respond because I struggled with those things a lot in the past. I really think that a lot of people struggle with those things, more than we think of, and especially people that have a passion for fitness/bodybuilding, but people tend to keep silent about those things because they are ashamed. After all, fitness fanatics preach to live a really healthy lifestyle and then all of sudden we find out that we are struggling with maintaining this ourselves… We feel like we failed and then find ourselves fighting a lonely inner battle with our eating habits. That’s how I feel about it though.

        Thanks, It’s defenitely my dream to be on the stage one day, but right now I think the best thing to do is to keep balance for a while and just have a lot of fun with my training!

  2. THIS. Fantastic article. And you’re Dutch! If you’re ever in Utrecht let me know, I’ll bake you a speculoos flavored protein cake!

    1. Gabrielle says:

      Hey S, I actually lived in Utrecht for a while a few years ago, right now I’m still going to college there 🙂 Speculoos flavored protein cake sounds delicious!!

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