When you work at Quest it’s like visiting an art exhibition for modern dieting. As innovators in the food science space, the employees’ eating habits are just as diverse as the products that come out of Quest. On any given week it’s not uncommon to hear someone talking about their new bulking or shredding technique – Keto, Intermittent fasting, if it fits your macros and yes, even grilled chicken and broccoli. The point is there are so many ways to eat toward your goals. Each month we’ll feature a new Quest employee and their eating habits to illustrate there’s no wrong way to achieve your fitness goals. On this inaugural month, Clark Pagaduan.
Clark is the Social Media Manager for Quest Nutrition. So if you’ve ever visited our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, you’ll see a lot of his handiwork. And since we’re a social brand, Clark is a huge asset to the company. Thankfully he’s also one of the most diligent, serious and staunch If It Fits Your Macros practitioners I’ve ever met. In case you don’t know what If It Fits Your Macros is (henceforth referred to as IIFYM because who wants to type that out dozens of times?), I’ll let Clark explain, “The diet I do is called IIFYM, or flexible dieting. What’s cool about IIFYM is I can eat anything I want so no given day is ever the same. In the past I lost heavy amounts of weight, 70 pounds, doing a low-carb diet. I also lost weight doing the paleo diet, but I really disliked how limited I was with my food choices. I stick with IIFYM because I’m a foodie and I don’t want to limit myself in what I eat. I get to eat whatever I want. All I have to do is count my fats, proteins and carbs.”
Clark first stumbled upon the diet by watching fitness YouTubers and Instagrammers and decided to give it a shot one day. “The ratio of your macros depends on if you’re bulking or cutting. I keep my splits at 50 carb, 30 protein, 20 fat. I adjust it accordingly. If I was bulking my calories would be closer to 2500-2600. If I’m cutting my calories are closer to 2200 and I change my ratios accordingly to fit that number. That’s the extent of the diet for me.” On the day that I’m writing this, Clark gave me a glimpse of what his daily “diet” is like. He just heated up a platter of Quinoa, onions, eggs, brown rice and Spam (I don’t care what you say about that last ingredient, it looked damn delicious). See, Clark spent some time living in Hawaii (poor guy, I know, right?), hence the atypical choice of meat.
Clark explains how seriously he takes the diet, but admits not everyone on IIFYM has the same discipline “As you go through the process of IIFYM you start to figure out what foods really fit your macros. For me, this is very different from other flexible dieters. Others will eat pop tarts or cake or candy, again it all fits within their diet because it fits in their macro numbers. But people can abuse the diet. I’m sure you heard about the guy who was on the ‘Twinkie diet’ who lost 20 pounds. It worked because IIFYM follows the laws of science – calories in and calories out. IIFYM follows that principle. So while people may follow the calorie ratios they might abuse it by not eating very nutritious foods. If you eat a lot of pop tarts you’re going to have vitamin deficiencies, different mineral deficiencies so it’s a diet that can hurt you if you don’t take it responsibly.”
Clark uses a food scale and a fitness app called My Fitness Pal to track his daily intake as well as a physical every six months,“Since I started this diet my blood levels and cholesterol levels are very healthy because I’ve chosen to eat nutritious foods.” This is just the way that Clark tackles his dieting, he’s very aware that not everyone uses the IIFYM system this way, “While I know people indulge in sweets or heavy food, you won’t achieve maximum metabolic efficiency and keep your body functioning at an optimal level if you don’t eat nutritiously. It’s tough, I know people who have done this diet and they stopped because they got tired of tracking. Because it’s very taxing mentally.”
So how does Quest fit into Clark’s daily eating habits? “Quest is very popular in the flexible dieting world because of the high fiber content in the Quest Bars. They’re such an easy source of high protein, high carb and then low fat, but you get your fiber in there as well. And fiber intake is very important to what your daily numbers are.”
For those interested in taking up IIFYM as their go-to dieting habit, Clark has a few pointers, “It’s all habit-forming and goal setting. When I started this diet I had a very clear goal of wanting to lose 15-20 pounds and look as aesthetically pleasing as I ever have in my life. I accomplished that and as I went through the process it really became a habit. So I really enjoyed doing it, it’s a part of my life now and I love it. It’s been a year and a half and I’ve been tracking [at this point we’re going through the app and browsing through all the data – it’s astounding] I’ve been using it for 389 days straight, that’s my steak.. I went on a trip to Japan, but even prior to the 389 days I was already consecutive 80 days because there was one day I missed and then I got right back on.”
He admits there are other nuances with the diet such as the “plateau” effect, when you’re on the same macros for too long, you stop losing weight. To combat this, Clark goes full scientist mode “If you eat a high carb diet on your refeed days, aka cheat days, your body will produce more leptin which will aid in weight loss – it’s very much like the ketogenic diet.” So that’s why there’s a lot of backlash when people claim that carbs are the enemy – as Clark points out they’re an essential part to ensuring the IIFYM diet actually works.
Clark, like a true Quest employee says that the thing he loves most about the diet is the accountability, “I know what I’m eating, I know what I’m taking in and I can control it and adjust at any given day. I’ve reached my goals every time I want to bulk or shred and I couldn’t be happier.”
What do you think? I know a lot of Quest fans are IIFYM dieters, so let us know your thoughts, techniques and tips in the comments below. If you want to read up on IIFYM, a good place to start is their official site. Next month we’ll feature a completely different diet, so if you have any suggestions of diets that work for you, let us know!