From The Designer
Since coming aboard, I’ve always played a supporting role in Krissy’s professional world. I’m of course honored to call her one of my most treasured friends. It’s been about a year since we first published Flexible Dieting, a project we knew we wanted to do even before relocating across the country. When we wrote it, edited it, designed it, we had little idea that it would have the impact that it has had. We are very proud of it, and we are thankful and humbled by the people we have helped, even if it’s just in some small way.
It made the long nights with little sleep and the passionate arguments about how to say what she wanted to say completely worth it. In the time since, after reading thousands of emails and seeing hundreds of clients going through dramatic life-altering changes, there are a few insights I’ve gained that I feel compelled to share. When it comes to diet, like most things in life: There is no single path.
All the information we present- all the mathematics, all the science, all the verifiable hypotheses- act as signposts towards a greater understanding of how you and your body work. These signposts form a roadmap. Like any map, when followed properly, will lead you to the place you want to be. Just like navigating the world, there are different routes and different paces you can take to reach your goal. But if you follow it, you will arrive. And just like you can’t blame a map for not following directions, the same goes for your nutrition. The most someone else can do for you and your nutrition is to show you the signs and highlight the routes. It is up to you to follow them.
More importantly, a question has grown in the back of my mind: Does Flexible Dieting need an alibi? That is to say: does Flexible Dieting need a built-in excuse or a defense to justify its existence or to make it credible?The simplification of Flexible Dieting into memes of pizza and ice cream with passionate captions attacking straw man critics with, “I eat this and I am still seeing results!” isn’t the right approach for us. Not anymore. We are beyond that.
There is no need to justify Flexible Dieting on those terms. The only argument Flexible Dieting needs is its results. The memes do approach and obliquely (albeit somewhat ineffectively) address the biggest challenge for Flexible Dieting: confronting the language of nutrition and the fundamental premise that foods are inherently good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, and shifting the conversation from food itself to peoples’ relationships with food.
The idea of foods being “good” or “bad” or “healthy” or “unhealthy” is pervasive. It permeates the language of health and nutrition and therefore peoples’ understanding of both. There is no singular or universal definition of what makes a food “healthy” as opposed to “unhealthy”.
This concept becomes further confused when individual foods are conflated with the totality of foods consumed by an individual. A diet of pizza is different than a diet that includes pizza. Looking at a single food a person consumes isn’t the same as looking at all the foods a person consumes. You can eat “unhealthy” foods and still have a “good” diet. That is one of the central tenants of flexible dieting. All of this confusion of course makes for prime marketing opportunities.
With diets, most arguments about “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy” are tautological: A Fad Diet, or a Diet With a Fancy Name will start with a feeble and sometimes esoteric theoretical or philosophical premise. Then it will build a series of criteria that define “health” and “nutrition” in a way that ultimately supports the Diet With a Fancy Name’s assertions and recommendations. “Diet With a Fancy Name works!” say the people affiliated with Diet With a Fancy Name, because it fulfills its own criteria.
Flexible Dieting isn’t a diet. It is the assessment of the caloric needs of an individual and partitioning those calories into an appropriate range of macronutrients in order to realize the individual’s goals by optimizing the body for improving body composition and performance and generally improve medically recognized markers of health. Diets end. But eating is the one thing you will do besides breathing you will do for the rest of your life. How long can you really go without a bite of cake, or a candy bar, or a doughnut, a piece of pizza, an ice cream cone, a bowl of cereal? More importantly, why would you want to resist in perpetuity? To what end? Why would you want to develop orthorexia or a generally unhealthy relationship with food? Food is supposed to make you survive and thrive and bring you joyous experiences. Food can only kill you if you let it. Flexible Dieting is a way to eat for life that allows for living. So go out there and live.
From the Editor
This book was an idea long before Krissy started writing it, and enlisted my help to edit. And like most good ideas, it took a long time to gestate, to mature, and become what it is today. The book, in that respect, mirrors the evolution of its author. Flexible Dieting 2.0 stands not only as an addition to, but in some ways, a departure from, the ideas presented by its predecessor. The content, for the most part, is the same. The science and principles underpinning flexible dieting are unchanged (though more complete). What has changed, and will be immediately apparent to those who have read the first book, is the character of the person delivering that content. With respect to her candor, assertiveness, and yes, sarcasm, she is still the same woman we know and love. But she is more humble, more self-effacing, and more cognizant of the fact that, to remain a highly sought after voice in this industry, she must remain, for reasons beyond her sex appeal and sailor’s mouth, a voice worth listening to. And in this book, Krissy has found her voice. The tenor of her mission—to improve people’s lives through the practice of flexible dieting—and the passion with which she pursues that goal is no less steadfast, even as her tone has softened. Conciliation should not be confused with contrition; it is not to make amends for anything that Krissy has sought to clarify, and in some instances correct, statements and positions that, in the past, she was often intractable. Intractability drives wedges between people who would otherwise be friends and collaborators, and creates divisions where common ground could otherwise be built. These days, Krissy is anything but intractable. She has become more flexible in every respect, including her diet, and has reaped the benefits, personally, professionally, and competitively. She is one of those rare people who, in spite of the often retrograde forces of success, learned to better follow her own advice. She’s no longer just someone worth listening to; she’s someone worth emulating. An example worth following, and a story worth telling. I’m honored that I get to play some part in helping her tell that story.
If you have ever attended one of my nutrition seminars, you know first hand that the first thing the group is asked is, “Who has heard of ‘If It Fits Your Macros?’”, at which point I immediately rejoin, “Flexible Dieting is not IIFYM”.
I think I did an OK job in the first book explaining that one can’t get by on eating calorically dense junk food, but I was far from thorough, or emphatic enough, about that point.
The first edition of Flexible Dieting was released in February of 2014, without the expectation that it would be so widely read. There is a lot of information available to read online when it comes to flexible dieting and I didn’t expect to stand out from the crowd in any way. I specifically wrote it for my clientele in hopes to reduce email volume by compiling info into a short ebook that could answer a lot of the questions I was receiving. It was a very entry level, novice text designed to explain the basics for people who had never heard of flexible dieting. It helped a lot of people get started and that is something I’m proud of. The first book was designed to improve people’s mindset when it comes to food, and teach moderation.
I didn’t reread my own book much in 2014, and I continued to use my equations to help people determine their macros. I started getting emails from very active individuals and I realized how many people were needing a 14 multiplier. I found myself giving people 15 multipliers, then having to explain why a 15 wasn’t in the book. Then when I had the attention of a few professional athletes, I needed to make 16 an option, as well. (You will see that the new book has an improved, more detailed multiplier scale).
I reread my book in September of 2014 and said two things to myself:
1. What am I trying to prove with my writing style? I was slightly abrasive and immature in the first book, and it was obvious that I felt like I needed to defend flexible dieting and justify my eating behavior. When I reread the book, it sounded like a sales pitch to me and that’s not what it was intended to be. I want my writing to be well researched and a learning tool for whomever is reading it. So I started doing research daily to better support my claims and explain my message opposed to me being an asshole and suggesting people listen to me “just because”. I want my products to be well respected and of the highest quality. This meant interviews, sources, better design, and an editor.
2. This is not suitable for athletes. The info was a great starting point and only that. There wasn’t anything specifically written for an athlete as I only touched the surface of many important subjects rather than delving deep. I wanted to present something that could benefit every athlete.
The second realization made me notice that there isn’t much out there with regards to flexible dieting for athletes. It also made me realize I wanted to create something that would change the way people view themselves. The end goal is to get more people to actually view themselves as athletes, rather than just people trying to lose weight.
This is when I made the decision to do a full rewrite to better suit an expanding and increasingly diverse audience. Which brings me to the tile: “FD 2.0: A Flexible Nutrition Philosophy for the Modern Athlete”. Who is the modern athlete? You are, whether it’s your first month using a barbell or you’ve gone to the Olympics. There are obviously different scales of athleticism, and even if you are at the very bottom of that scale with 100 pounds to lose, you are still an athlete if you are training hard, and you should treat yourself accordingly. Your body is no less valuable even if, unlike a professional athlete, your body isn’t your livelihood.
Another thing worth mentioning is that I toyed with the idea of renaming the book “Flexible Nutrition” as the word “dieting” has somewhat of a negative connotation. However I refrained for two reasons, (1) familiarity purposes, and (2) I don’t want anyone to think that I am attempting to reinvent the wheel, hence the tagline “a flexible nutrition philosophy”, as that’s precisely what it is.
Before you start reading, be forewarned about some major changes you will see. Unlike the first book, there are no rigid rules in place, there’s no requirement that you hit your macros dead-on, and there are more options this time around to help you achieve success. Enjoy!