Some Thoughts On The Cleating Eating Vs. IIFYM Debate

Oh, the unending IIFYM versus clean eating debate...

It irritates me to no end when I hear people say things like, "I'm against iifym", or "I'm against clean eating". Okay, well, why? Just because YOU don't follow a particular nutrition protocol doesn't mean it can't work for someone else. If someone has found what works for them, isn't that what really matters, whether you agree with it or not? 

Maybe someone developed an eating disorder by trying to eat "clean" 24/7 and IIFYM has helped them find freedom from fearing certain foods. Or maybe it's the opposite: someone enjoys clean eating because it allows them the freedom of not having to track and calculate grams, ounces, and percentages, or weigh and measure every single thing they eat. Have you thought about that?

I'll tell you what I'm "for", and that's anything that helps someone get results in a stress free, enjoyable, sustainable way.

I don't follow any particular nutrition protocol, whether it's Paleo, or gluten free, or whatever. I don't consider myself a clean eater, and I don't track my macros. While I would say I lean slightly more towards IIFYM, I do see the pros and cons of both. Plus, I have experimented with both myself, so I feel that I have an open mind towards both sides.

I think the reason that there is such a debate is just ignorance and misunderstanding from people on both sides. Some clean eaters can't comprehend the fact that you can eat foods that are considered "bad" and still achieve your phsyique goals and that no certain foods make you fat. And some macro trackers can't comprehend that you can actually get results by NOT tracking every morsel of food you put in your mouth. Macro people think that cleaners are miserable and restrictive, while clean eaters think that the macro people do nothing but junk food all day. While that may be true in some cases, overall, it's not the truth at all.

From what I've seen and experienced myself, the IIFYM protocol allows for more freedom in food choices and is less restrictive in some ways, while clean eating often(not always) causes you to fear certain foods and become obsessed with eating only completely natural, unprocessed foods. Of course, the same can happen with macro tracking as well, by becoming super obsessed with hitting your percentages perfectlyWhen it causes you stress or anxiety and actually begins to take away from your well being and quality of life, that's when it becomes a problem. That's when you know it's time to make a change and open your mind to the possibility that there may be a better way.

As for me, I fall somewhere in the middle of both protocols. Clean eating taught me about food quality and the importance of fueling your body with healthy, nutrient dense foods, and IIFYM taught me about portion sizes, calorie control and the importance of eating the right balance of macronutrients. It takes some experimentation, but I do believe that you can find a good balance between both by learning proper portion sizes, making sure to get in enough healthy protein, fats, and carbs from mostly natural sources, but also allowing yourself some treats and "not so healthy" foods in proper portions. I have found that this is what works best for ME, and ultimately, that is what is most important-finding what works for you.

Don't be so quick to be "against" something until you really know what it's about or have tried it out for yourself. Maybe you've been a clean eater but you're still struggling with losing fat - in that case, it might actually be helpful for you to track macros for a short time to see if maybe you need to adjust some things, such as calories, or carbs/protein/ fat amounts Or maybe you've been tracking macros obsessively to the point where it's stressing you out. In that case, you may actually benefit from taking a break from tracking for a while.

Can't we all just get along? I don't see why we can't just all be happy for each other that we've each found what works for us,even if we think our way is "better". Remember, everyone is on a journey right now. Maybe they have yet to discover what you have, or maybe they are just happy with what they're currently doing! Then so be it! As the saying goes, promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate. Maybe you'll get more people to come over to your side by showing how awesome and freeing it is, rather than making fun or trying to argue people to your side. Just a thought!

What are your thoughts on this endless debate? Do you"side" with one or the other?


  1. AMEN!!! I believe the key is to find a protocol that works for you - i.e., one you can sustain as you work towards your goal, whether it’s to lose, bulk or maintain. I started working out 8 months ago and lost 25 lbs in about 4 months mostly clean eating. But realized I was getting WAY too obsessed with it, avoiding social outings etc - so once I stopped labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, I started to enjoy a great sense of freedom. And I’ve maintained my weight ever since, even losing body fat while maintaining my weight. I love “bad” foods WAY too much to deny myself anything. At the end of the day, take time to find what works for you - and guess what, if you choose something that you don’t like/doesn’t work - you get to choose something else, over and over and over again until you find the one that works.

    PS - LOVE your blog, I started reading months ago when I started to work out, and I’ve seen even more amazing results once I added weights.. keep up the good work :)

    1. Exactly!! I completely agree and went through the same thing. And thank you!! I love to hear that. :)


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