The article below was actually written about a year and a half ago, but it still applies very well today, possibly more so than it did then.
This post might come as a surprise to some of my fans, but I feel like ranting and posting a rant will help procrastinate from actual writing so here we go...
I've been a staunch defender of IIFYM/flexible dieting for years, and still am. Most critics of it don't understand it, or basic nutrition for that matter. But there are a few issues going on in the niche lately.
First of all, people need to make up their fucking mind. I've literally seen the same people that would post the "shit" food they'd eat a year or two ago write about how flaunting that shit gives flexible dieting a bad name, and then within a week or two post the same type of shit themselves. The pendulum goes back and forth and it's just bullshit marketing tactics. This goes to the larger point that it's made me sad to find out how many "coaches" are actually marketers who care more about getting more clients than becoming better at what they do, but that's a topic for a different day. The point here is have some fucking consistency, if you want to post foods you enjoy and have on occasion awesome, go for it. But don't turn around and talk about how it gives flexible dieting a bad name when you're doing it too.
Another aspect to this is the recent trend of "clean eating is ok and everyone is different and you can't say your way is better." That's absolute bullshit. Flexible dieting is certainly the best way to reach your goals assuming tracking doesn't cause mental issues or hurt adherence. Some choose to eat "clean" instead of tracking because it's easier to regulate intake that way, and there's nothing wrong with that either. But you can't say it's as effective as if you were tracking everything. Just like some don't track all their workouts (I don't), not everyone wants to go to the length it takes for "optimal" results. I sure as fuck don't all the time. Especially in the general pop, tracking can be overwhelming for some and isn't the only way. However it is the best for those that can handle it.
Now, this is also not saying that eating 100% "clean" foods while tracking is bad at all either. Variety helps many but some also do better eating nothing but "clean" foods, and that's completely fine. But if you're tracking for your goals that's still flexible dieting, it's just less flexible than others. The main aspect of flexible dieting imo isn't eating "shit" foods, it's knowing that eating them sometimes won't hurt if you choose to. "Clean eating" is a term that just needs to go the fuck away.
Next, why are we promoting ridiculous foods in the first place? Anyone who knows me knows how ridiculous i can get with food, but I don't see any reason to flaunt it. It's like the IIFYM community has decided they're in an ongoing competition to see who can post the most ridiculous calorie dense, hyper-palatable concoction just for the sake of doing it. We're to the point we have fitness professionals posting pics of shakes with brownies in them next to bowls of 4 different kinds of cereal mixed with 5 different kinds of candy. Wtf is so impressive about eating like a drunk 10 year old? An awesome burger or pizza is one thing, but why is shit being taken to this extreme of a level?
I could write a whole post about this too but I'll try to keep it short. Not everyone needs to be a fucking coach. I absolutely love this industry for the fact credentials aren't needed. I love that the entry barrier is low so that those who are passionate can get into it and help others easily. It's an absolute godsend for me since i learn very well by myself on topics that interest me, but fucking despise school. However, I'm not sure why everyone thinks they need to coach. The last year has shown an enormous level of people who have decided to coach after losing some weight or competing in a show. They don't realize that people like me and a lot of my friends have put in countless hours to learn this shit, and just because there's a low barrier to entry doesn't mean anyone can and should do it. I remember days of reading articles on Lyle's site for 8hrs and wondering where the time went. Just because you can coach without the knowledge to do so doesn't mean you should. Now we have coaches that don't understand the basics, and it can be harmful to their clients. There is one coach that flaunts the fact he doesn't care about his clients health and actually encourages eating nothing but shit because the results will be the same. His blood work would be interesting considering the amount of drugs and fast food he intakes...
To bring everything together, let's keep some consistency, stop dichotomizing flexible dieting and clean eating, maybe stop bragging about eating like a toddler left home alone, and not do things we aren't qualified for. I think these are fair things to expect.