Clean Eating VS. Flexible Dieting | Why Clean Eating Doesn’t Work

Okay… so let me be fair. Clean eating can work but why would anyone choose to live off of chicken, asparagus and sweet potatoes only? Imagine a life without Oreos or wine. Or PIZZA?! What if I told you that you don’t have to sacrifice the foods that you love or girls night out to achieve your weight loss & fitness goals? If you don’t know what flexible dieting is… GIRL. I’ll link some websites & videos at the end of this post so that you can educate yourself on how to get started, but first I want to share with you my top three reasons flexible dieting trumps clean eating.

Clean Eating Vs Flexible Dieting

1.) Flexible dieting allows you to live a life of balance. Let go of the notion that you must deprive yourself of all deliciousness to lose fat. Your body doesn’t look at a cookie & decide that it is going to get stored as fat. Fat is gained from eating in surplus (eating more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight). Your body doesn’t look at a chicken breast & decide to use it as fuel. Fat is lost from eating in a deficit (eating less than your body needs to maintain its current weight). What does this mean? You can in fact lose fat without giving up your froyo, or weekly wine & cheese dates. How you choose to eat is up to you, as long as you are eating within close proximity of your calorie goal.

Am I telling you that you could choose to eat Oreos all day long & still lose fat? Yes. Will you look & feel your best? Probably not. This is where macro- & micro-nutrients come into play. I have linked an article at the end of this post that explains all the details, but simply put: Macro-nutrients are your proteins, carbs, & fat. Micro-nutrients are your vitamins, minerals, etc. You need adequate & balanced ratios of these for your body to perform at its best. Micro-nutrients come from healthy food options such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc. That being said, if you still have calories left & your micro-nutrient & fiber goals have been met you can eat whatever the heck you want, so long as it fits into your remaining protein/carbs/fat that day.

2.) “Clean eating only” is so… boring! I’ve tried it, & it sucks. Meal prepping seven days’ worth of chicken, broccoli, & sweet potatoes on Sunday, portioning it all out into your tupperware & reheating the same tasteless lunch every day at work  while staring sadly at the Chinese takeout your coworker is happily munching on. Chicken, broccoli, & sweet potatoes make a solid meal & by no means am I telling you not to eat that. What I am telling you is that flexible dieting allows you a broader range of options. Your boss invites you out for a working lunch? Have some tacos! Best friend having a meltdown over her recent breakup? You better save the day with chocolate & wine! You are able to have variety. This is especially beneficial to those who are eating in a deficit to lose fat. The ability to shake things up & eat something you love prevents you from becoming bored.

3.) This is probably my favorite reason why flexible dieting works so much better than clean eating alone. CHEAT MEALS DON’T EXIST. What? Did I make a typo? No! If you want pizza & beer, go for it. If you are PMSing and need a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to soothe your soul, get your spoon & Netflix ready & do you, boo (though there are more macro-friendly ice cream options out there, just saying! lol). The point is, if you want to eat it, make it fit. No guilt; no worry of “Oh my God is this going to make me fat?” Like I explained earlier, the food choices you make don’t depict your fat loss or gain. The number of calories above or below your maintenance calories is the contributing factor.

“How do I know how many calories my body needs to maintain current weight/ lose fat/ gain muscle?” You can use an online calculator like the one I’ve linked below, but I highly recommend consulting with a professional. Calculators will give you a good estimate, but a coach will be able to individualize your macro-nutrient/ calorie goals more accurately. I have a coach and I love the knowledge and support she provides.

“How do I track my food to ensure I am within my macro-nutrient & calorie goals?” My Fitness Pal & a good ol’ food scale. Measuring cups & spoons are NOT accurate to serving sizes. Weighing your food provides much more accuracy, & once you get used to it, you won’t miss the extra cups & spoons you used to have to wash every day. I use My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone to track what I am eating throughout the day, or I plan out & enter in everything the night before to make it even easier. This also ensures I don’t accidentally macro-hoard or go over. But more on that in a future post. 🙂

I hope this gives you enough information to realize that pizza is not the enemy to your fat loss goals. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below & I’ll be sure to answer them! Also, if you found this blog post helpful, please share it on your FB, Twitter, etc to spread the word! Subscribe on the right so that you don’t miss future posts! Thank you for your support, make it a great week!

Eat. Love. Lift


What is Flexible Dieting/ IIFYM?

IIFYM Calculator:

IIFYM Women FB Page:

My Fitness Pal (also available in your smartphone’s app store):

Interested in consulting with a coach? Comment below & I will gladly send you my coach’s contact info! 🙂

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