As it's Eating Disorder Awareness Week and I'm working on my presentation for the Eating Disorder International Conference, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share my diet and how it fuels my overall wellness and flexibility, strength, and lean muscle gains (- I have gained nearly 25kg in the last five years and maintained a body fat of <5% according to biosig measurements by personal trainer Chris Richards).
I have tried numerous approaches to food in my time - carb backloading, paleo, low carb, dairy-free, carb cycling, IIFYM... and have spoken to various performance nutritionists and dieticians throughout my training (I'm pretty sure nutritional confusion definitely seems to have become the new eating disorder). And I have come to the conclusion, that although these 'experts' may know a lot about food, you are the expert of your own body.
My coach, Andy McKenzie recently started promoting the IIMYFG (If It Makes You Feel Good) approach to eating in contrast to the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) obsession in the fitness industry. This is a pretty similar approach to food as mine. I don't tend to calorie count, occasionally I might check in with MyFitnessPal for a day or two, I don't follow meal plans, and I am pretty at peace with all types of food from chicken and rice, to cakes from Choccywoccydoodah (-their five layer cake is amazing if you ever go there!)
On lifting days I focus on high protein and high carbs - maybe a Thai turkey curry with rice, or a chicken salad with lentils and sauerkraut...
There is no name to this diet, no recommended calorie count, macronutrient ratios or banned food items. Maybe the only way to refer to it is as the LBD - the Listen to your Body Diet. In 5 years my body has transformed from 25kg anorexic to a healthy, happy athlete. My osteoporosis is a thing of the past and I am completely at peace with food and with my body.
Maybe it's time to throw out the diet books, tear up the nutrition plans, tune into your body, and become your own expert...