A Day in the Life of a Flexible Dieter

I get a lot of questions here on the blog and on Facebook about flexible dieting and how it’s different from traditional “clean eating”.

Also I feel there are a LOT of misconceptions about IIFYM

( “If It Fits Your Macros”), namely that all we eat is junk food (pop tarts, bacon cheesburgers, etc)

So today I wanted to take the opportunity to share my own personal “day in the life,” what I eat on a daily basis ( the record you’re seeing here is from yesterday), and share a little bit about why I love this approach so much.

Flexible Dieting Mastery

Flexible Dieting Mastery


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Before I share what I ate yesterday, here are a few “disclaimers”:

1). I am not currently in a “fat loss” phase. My goal is to stay somewhere around maintenance for the next 4-6 weeks while focusing on consistent training. I’ll observe what happens at this calorie level and then adjust accordingly. Would I like to lose a little body fat? Sure, but I’m more concerned with regaining some of the muscle I’ve lost over the past six months of being a slacker ( note: when I say “slacker,” I mean not following a really consistent training plan. But I haven’t exactly been sitting on my butt either, just nothing very structured, and I’ve taken QUITE a bit of liberty with my food intake lately.

2). I suspect that body fat loss will occur merely as a result of “cleaning up” my diet a bit and focusing on consistent training. With any luck, after a few weeks I’ll be able to take my calories UP while still improving my physique without any significant body fat gain.

3). What I share here today is still going to look pretty dang healthy (and maybe a little boring) to most of you. And it is. But, there are some subtle but very important differences that distinguish what I do versus traditional clean eating. I’ll explain those at the end. My daily diet is pretty simple by design because: a). I pack the majority of my meals with me for the day and prepare most of them in advance (usually everything except breakfast and sometimes dinner) b). I don’t like to spend a lot of time shopping or prepping food, so I keep it very simple

4). My current body weight is 125lbs and I’ve set my calories and macros as follows: Target calories: 1750  Carbs: 175 g (40%) Protein: 131 g (30%) Fat: 58g (30%) I’d love to be able to get my calories up to 1900-2200 while maintaining or gaining muscle without gaining significant fat. Why? Because the next time I go into a fat loss phase I’ll be “dieting” on a LOT more food. This is a process known as Reverse Dieting

So, here’s what I ate yesterday….

6:00 am Meal One 

Breakfast, my favorite meal of the day! I’m looking for a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, so I start with 5 egg whites ( I try to split my protein evenly throughout the day), and 1/8 cup (14g) of shredded cheese and top with salsa. How do I know it was 14g of cheese? Because I measured it.. IMG_2515









For my carb source I’d usually have oatmeal or a piece of wheat toast, but then I remembered we had some mini bagels, so I chose one of those instead and topped with a little bit of spray butter. I also had a couple of cups of black coffee.













I log everything into My Fitness Pal as I go, so I don’t forget anything during the day. Here’s breakfast (no calories for plain black coffee, so no need to log)










Next I load up my Six Pack Bag for the day. The gym where I train is 20 miles from my house, so there’s no running home for a meal in the afternoon. So everything goes with me! I choose a variety of snacks and a couple of meals so I can pick from what i want for the day. Plus, since quite a few of my meals are nearly inhaled in the five minutes between clients, convenience and portability is key


I love this bag. It changed my life. No really

– I love this bag. It changed my life. No really

A few of my snack selections for the day include:  -A tablespoon of peanut butter ( yes, measured out in grams on my food scale) -An Isatori Eat Smart Chocolate shake made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ice and water -1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese – A 135 g pink lady apple (yes, I weighed it!) – A Cookies N Cream Quest Bar (my favorite) My meals today consist of my Italian Turkey meat balls with a side of brown rice and a bison burger with a side of steamed broccoli. Not too exciting I know, but I cook in bulk so I don’t do fancy

Meal 2: 9 am 

Starting to get hungry, so I chow down on my Quest Bar between clients

Cookies N Cream. Best flavor eva!

Cookies N Cream. Best flavor eva!


12:30 Meal 3 (pre-workout)

Now I’ll eat my Italian turkey meat balls and my brown rice. There were three turkey balls to start, sorry, I was hungry.

These turkey balls are epic. Seriously you should try them

These turkey balls are epic. Seriously you should try them

Confession time: I did NOT measure my brown rice. But, I know from experience that it was more than a 1/2 cup and not more than a cup. So, I err on the high side and log 1 cup into My Fitness Pal

Today’s training: Legs ( 1hr)

Barbell squats 2 x 15, 2 x 10/ superset with walking lunges 4 x 20

Plie’ squats x 15/ superset with lying hamstring curls x 12 x 3 sets

Leg extensions x 15 reps/ superset with barbell hip thrusters x 15 reps x 3 sets

Core circuit: (2 sets) 

Medicine ball squat swings x 20

Medicine ball plank reach x 15 each side

Walkout push ups x 10

Mountain climbers x 50

Want more recipes like this? Check out my Fit Kitchen Recipe Guide

Want more recipes like this? Check out my Fit Kitchen Recipe Guide

3:30pm Meal 4:

Snack time! Now I eat my apple and my tablespoon of peanut butter and drink my shake. Side note: Have you ever measured out 16 grams of peanut butter? It’s very small and sad (well, sad because I could easily eat 10x this amount!)

Poor sad peanut butter

Poor sad peanut butter


7pm Meal 5

Hungry and time for dinner! Here’s where flexible dieting really comes into play. At this time I had about 42 grams of protein left, 20-ish grams of carbs, and a full 25 grams of fat. My “base” meal was going to be my bison burger and broccoli…   IMG_2525 Now I get to use my leftover macros to dress it up!






Let’s see… I added another 14 grams of cheese, and 2 table spoons of barbecue sauce….

Much more fun

Much more fun

….. and then I got to have another tablespoon of peanut butter for dessert! Yippee!!!! It’s always a good day when you get bonus peanut butter. Not shown, because it disappeared really fast!      

So how did I do for the day? 

Target: 1750 cal  175 Carbs 131 Protein 58 fat Actual: 1716 calories  ( -34) 184 carbs  (+9g)  126 protein(-5g)    59 fat (+1g) I’d say that’s a pretty damn good day!

Here’s the breakdown as a percentage of macronutrients:


Now, what exactly is it that makes this diet so “flexible”?

1). All of the little “extras” that would send clean eaters running for the hills, namely cheese, spray butter, the protein bar, barbecue sauce, and (GASP!) a bagel! These foods are typically categorized as “dirty” to clean eaters who strive to eliminate “chemicals” from their meal plan. Bo-ring! The little extras are what will keep you sane, it’s like giving yourself a little treat each day so you don’t go out and full blown binge on the weekends

2). The ability to eat a variety of foods.  I chose a bagel today over oatmeal or toast, but I easily could’ve had cold cereal, a frozen waffle, potatoes with my eggs, a tortilla, you name it! As long as I hit my macros for the day, it’s all good. I’m not limited to 2-3 protein sources either. I can mix it up as much as I want and still meet my goals. Post workout I could’ve had Skittles or a low fat cookie instead of an apple if I wanted. But, I went with what I had on hand today. Look at those numbers! I managed to hit my macros for the day AND still have a little fun! Now, the “trade off” for flexible dieting is the fact that you have to keep track, weigh and measure what you eat, but I think it’s TOTALLY worth it in order to eat like a “normal person” and not a 24/7 Food Nazi

3). The ability to “customize” my last meal based on where I am for the day  With traditional diets it’s easy to feel like you “blew it” if you had a big lunch or indulged in the donuts in the break room one day. Not with IIFYM! All you have to do is adjust for the rest of the day the best you can. A whole bunch of carbs at lunch? No problem! Stick with protein and fats for the remainder of the day. Every day is “salvageable” with IIFYM. Bye bye guilt. As a competitor and former food restricted clean eating food Nazi myself, I can wholeheartedly say that IIFYM has been a GAME CHANGER. Just the mere fact that no food is “off limits” is a huge mental shift. Granted, I probably won’t be going out and eating a whole large pizza by myself any time soon, because let’s face it I’m a little woman and that certainly won’t fit my macros! But I could probably enjoy a slice of pizza with a side salad AND a glass of wine. Things WILL change when I go into a fat loss phase, because I’ll have to prioritize foods that keep me full ( such as oatmeal, more vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc), but for now I’ll enjoy the freedom to dress up my foods a bit and enjoy little treats throughout the week….and still see results!

Like many things in life, it’s all about choice.

I choose to be flexible.

If you’re ready to get started creating your own flexible diet, check out my brand new, step by step course! It’s currently available for 50% off!


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