This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing their perceptions and relationships with food prior to implementing flexible dieting methods.
In 2010 I began my very first prep for a bikini show. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never dieted in my life. I was the kid that grew up eating everything and anything I wanted and the word “diet” was never mentioned in my household. We ate what we wanted, we were active, we were blessed with some decent genetics and diet was not in my vocabulary. When I decided to compete, my brother Aaron was my first coach. He was smart. And actually he always had a “flexible dieting” method even before the “IIFYM” term was coined and became so popular. He started competing before me and had his own “system” to dieting but was never overly restrictive- just simply made better choices to put himself at a deficit. No extremes were needed and he did well his first few years of competing. When I decided to compete, he knew the same methods would be best for me and work. So he didnt give me a meal plan. He didnt tell me certain foods were off limits. He just told me what I should aim to eat more of and what I should avoid or eat less of. I have said this before, but his approach was so smart. He knew simply cutting out my venti peppermint white chocolate mocha and adding more fiber through more vegatables in my diet would create a 300+ calorie deficit and allow my body to thrive more than it had in the past 23 years prior as I had never been on any sort of “diet” in my life. As prep went on, yes it became “stricter” but again no foods were off limits and I remember eating things that two years later I couldn’t believe I could eat and get lean enough. Cliff bars at 2am when I got off work from bartending and was starving. Yes full of sugar but I didnt know better and hey.. I was getting leaner. Halloween candy a week out from my show (in moderation as it was the mini candies but I still ate them and continued to get leaner). At the time I didnt understand this and just went with the flow. I honestly never really even thought twice about it or made a big deal over the little cheats in my diet. My body responded incredibly well and I ended up taking the overall at my first show. Fast forward to my second through 5th show. Thats where things took a turn for the worst. I made the mistake of training with another coach – the guy I started dating – bad decision all around. I was put on a very restrictive meal plan that only changed weekly if that. Honestly I was always someone who loved variety in my diet, so I cheated on the plan a lot because I felt it didnt need to be that hard. I wanted more variety, more choice, more options. He would say things like, “Do you want to win. You need to stick to the plan for the best results.” And then compare my results to someone else on one of his plans who was killing her prep and make me think its what I HAD to do to be the best. Thats when everything went downhill. The bingeing started. The weird food tendencies. The hiding in the bathroom and eating in the closet so he wouldnt know. The obsessive behaviors. The labeling of foods as “good” and “bad” it all happened in those years from 2011-2013 and it changed me forever. I honestly believe I will never be the same… or at least it has taken 3 years and I am just now recovering and finding my balance again fully. But I still dont view things the same. Thankfully in 2013 I took things into my own hands and I fully dove into flexible dieting through tracking macros and implementing IIFYM. I do want to state that IIFYM will not fix binge eating. It will not be a magic cure for disordered eating habits. But it does help. There is no denying that. I have used flexible dieting through all of my preps the last 3 years and every season I make leaps and strides in my ability to find balance again. I am trying to undo 3 years of obsessive behaviors and programming though. Its unfortunate that I fell into the wrong hands when I did. But the good news is flexible dieting DOES work. It DOES help with balance. It DOES need to be looked at with an open mind by coaches before they ruin and brainwash others to have disordered eating patterns too. And this is why ADOFitness prides itself on doing whats best for the individual through sustainability and an open minded diet philosophy.