My name is Melissa, and I am a former Eat Cleaner.
There I said it. And maybe the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) world didn’t specially save my life. It saved Melissa. It saved me from the obsessive and lifeless person, that I was becoming.
I have been a dieter, a yo-yo’er, a clean eater, a macronator. I’ve done it all. I have seen it all. I am in an intense industry, the fitness world, where people take their passions to the extreme and they let it be known. I have seen it for the last 10 years I have followed the sport of Bodybuilding & Fitness. Marriages fall apart, people change careers, people lose friends, the list goes on. Because of letting the fitness world take them over.
Here are my thoughts….
When I first wanted to compete I ate only about 10 foods. You know the list, fish, chicken, broccoli, asparagus. I became obsessed with owning every Oxygen Magazine, purchasing every Eat Clean Book, and slowly I was headed down a dark path. No one around me understood. I needed to do cardio every day. I had to only eat from selected food groups. Over time if I didn’t do my cardio, I resented myself, if I ate bad foods I hid it, or worse internal guilt started to take me over. I refrained from social events, my husband and I stopped going on dates, my children only saw me eat out of Tupperware. But I had a goal, and sacrifices were made to achieve that. This post is not putting down people who choose to make certain decisions in order to compete, step on stage, etc. I respect every athlete and the hard work they put in to achieve optional fitness levels. This is my own personal journey, and how it took some negative turns. No one is to blame but myself. However no one knew how to get me out, including myself.
I spent from 2004 to 2014 going between as low as 130 lbs to nearly 190 lbs (not pregnant).
I did not understand once I reached my ultimate low, how to maintain that. Let alone how to not rebound. I lost control over food.
I can not remember as a child, youth, teen, etc.. ever caring about cookies, cereal,, PEANUT BUTTER. And all of a sudden these foods were my arch-nemesis. I hated it, and I did not understand why I could not even sit in my work staff room if there was a box of donuts in there.
This was no way to live. I needed a way out.
Making the CHANGE
I fell into a dark place: with the sport, with eating clean, and rebelled. I didn’t want anything to do with it. Just before my 2nd pregnancy however, I started to see posts from the likes of Lean Bodies Consulting, and Dr. Layne Norton, T-Nation etc.. that preached about women not running, women not doing cardio tirelessly, eating foods outside of my protected 10 items. I started to have my own epiphany! It all looked too good to be true though, and there were people hooting and hollering about eating ice cream, and pop tarts, and McDonald’s while staying lean. Obviously I did not understand, so obviously I judged them. I was still on my own Queen Horse of the eat clean camp.
Over the next 9 months, I taught myself everything I could about Macros, I tried to learn about the science behind it. I still had my own holistic values, and obviously as a mother I am not bringing in pounds of junk food into my house, but slowly I accepted that not all food was bad.
It’s as if for years I was convinced there was only one way. One way to train, one way to eat, one way to diet, one way to believe. After my son was born, I attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. It was there, I started to learn that there are other ways. I remember sitting in class and seeing people around me eating trail mix and Kiefer, and home-made breads, and I had this realization that it’s not always what you eat, but how much you eat. Those foods, although are considered healthy, were at one point in my life totally off-limits!
I promised myself after I had my daughter, I would NEVER go back to bro food dieting, copious amounts of cardio or demonizing foods. I wanted balance. I promised myself I would try this IIFYM thing out just once. And I would give it 100%!
So about 6 weeks later, I did. I committed to counting, and at the same time eating anything I wanted. I made pasta, ate fat-free frozen yogurt with home-made trail mix on top, coffee with butter in it (Yes!) and you know what? I lost weight.
I decided to squat, to train heavy, try powerlifting, and to stop doing cardio. and you know what? I lost more weight.
Actually, I was near 4000 k/Cal at one point, eating over 450 grams of carbs a day, and I was still, losing weight
My body was basically a scientific experiment, and damn this was COOL!!!!
Here is a picture, one year apart.
There is NOT only 1 way
I think one of the craziest things I noticed when I took this turn in life, was how divided the industry became in the next year. There was team EAT CLEAN and team IIFYM. And they hate each other.
“Today this is proven by science, but tomorrow, or next year, we may find a better way, a different way..”
Dr. Mike Zourdos
This was a quote I heard at a Layne Norton VIP Camp this fall, and it hit home to me. It made me smile. I don’t share often what I do to get in shape or maintain my shape, for a few reasons.
- It really doesn’t matter, and it should not matter to anyone but me
- I did not want the judgement or the snarky comments.
- I also did not step on stage or compete, so I did not want people to say, “Oh yah she did macros, but there is no way she could compete on it”
Maybe, maybe not. Who knows…..
All I do know, is that right now, this is the way I like it. It is working for me, and that should be all that matters.
As a parent, we choose a style of parenting….Co-sleepers , Crib sleepers, Attachment parenting, crunchy granola, discipliners, diverters, home schoolers, iPad users…
In the health world, there are the pro-scientists, and the pro-natural health
Ultimately, the point of this post is for me to remind all moms, friends etc… that there is more than one way. Whatever it is you are trying to achieve at the end of the day it is about balance (or organized chaos), love and happiness. Lets preach that a little more