IIFIYM and why it probably won’t work for you




First, what ever happened to a simple cheat meal? The concept being, that after staying on track, eating wise and healthy for a specific amount of time, we reward ourselves with the meal of our choice. Guilt free. Your inner self thanking you, you revel in high caloric deliciousness, and your metabolism possibly getting a little jump start as well.

fad   noun

  • an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.


The acronym gone Instafamous, If It Fits In Your Macros, i.e. “flexible dieting”, has gone viral and taken the industry by storm, and not without it’s controversies. This one, in my opinion, has asked for it. The concept behind it seems simple enough. Stay within your “count” and you can be “flexible” and eat what you want, on a regular basis.

Yeah, no.


Pizza once in awhile is probably not going to cause you a lot of problems. Keep trying to justify eating it on a regular basis because 2 slices “fits in your macros” will probably lead to some issues, though. By the way, who says restaurants and companies are telling the truth on all that serving info? There are such things as “empty calories”. Unless you cooked the food yourself, fully aware of exactly what went into it, how does one know the truth?

We don’t.

“The only way to get the fat off is to eat less and exercise more” – Jack Lalanne

The man lived to be 96. Personally, I believe he was doing something right. Second, to be clear my favorite cheat meal happens to be onion rings. I love them dipped in everything from honey mustard to ranch. However, knowing that a typical serving has anywhere from 15 – 18 grams of fat, in roughly 6 – 9 pieces, do I just figure this into my daily count and eat them whenever I want?


Fried food clogs arteries and contributes to a whole host of health problems. All of this leads me to my main point. Eating clean means different things to different people. To the majority of us it simply means consuming more fresh, relatively additive and preservetive free foods that are proven to be good for us. And full of flavor!


Diets and fads come and go, but one thing remains the same, we have to watch what we eat and exercise more.

As with starting any new diet or exercise regimen I would suggest first consulting a physician.



Weight Loss



  • a unit of energy


Fat is stored as energy. A person looking to burn fat must increase their energy output. i.e. exercise, to burn off more calories than they’ve taken in.

I tend to prefer most things in layman’s terms. Lounging on the futon scrolling through meme’s doesn’t count as burning calories. According to The American Council on Exercise acefitness.org  one (1) pound of fat eaquals 3,500 calories.

Burn baby, burn


Our Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR is the amount of energy, (calories) required just to function at rest, day to day.

“The only way to get the fat off is to eat less and exercise more” – Jack Lalanne

Healthy, and realistic weightloss is a pound to a pound and a half a week. Depending on a persons daily activity, this can be achieved quite succesfully with the right workout routines.

To get started on counting calories first, become familiar with two (2) things:

  • Maintenance
  • Weight Loss

My suggestions 

To find what your current maintenance level would be, multiply your current weight x 12. For example, a 185lb person x 12 would have a calorie maintenance level of 2,220 per day. This is your base to work from.

You can then subtract your daily count for losing weight, or add calories to gain mass, i.e. size. However, right now we’re not “bulking”. (More on that later)

Getting in the habit of reading labels helped me get a solid understanding of counting my daily intake.


Granted these labels are typically based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, again it is a base in which to work from.

Now, time to start counting.









Back in my days of working in restaurants I remember numerous tableside interactions that went something like this:

Me: Did you need more time, or have you decided?

Guest:  Yes, I’m having the house salad. And can you please have them leave off the croutons. I’m really watching what I’m eating.

Me: Of course, and what dressing would you like?

Guest: Buttermilk Ranch!


So you’ve made up your mind to start eating better. More salads you’ve decided. So you arrange the perfectly washed bed of crisp greens. The plump, juicy tomatoes. You’ve put your chef hat on and found the right flavor profile with pears, red onions, and dried cherries.

Why smother all that deliciousness?

The origins of what we know as a salad can be traced back centuries. The word Sal, latin for salt, which led to salata, or “salted things”. The Greeks used vinegar on vegetables as well. Americans came to know salads around the turn of the century and over time ways to flavor them have swelled to that of entire aisles of shelves. I believe all the years of serving soaked, overly dressed salads encouraged me to change the way I eat, and even view the salad course itself.



Every once in awhile I do like a bottled dressing. Just to put it out there, my favorite is Catalina. Really. On the day-to-day though, I’ve come to only prefer to dress the ingredients in oil, a little salt & pepper and some  vinegar.


That’s a base to add upon. Some days it’s a little mustard. Crushed garlic on others. Olive oil is considered the good fats, the monounsaturated fats, or MUFA’s. 

Below are some of my recommendations to keep on hand for some serious salad envy.

  • Olive Oil – A good quality. I don’t believe in breaking the bank, but neither going bargain basement either.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Keeping with the same logic as above, once you’ve come up with the right ratio together you’ll get a dressing people will want to sell for you. 👉Look for the color, it will be a very specific shade of brown.
  • Red Wine Vinegar – No you won’t catch a buzz, it doesn’t contain alcohol.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – While the benefits of this one are widely debated, my cabinet is never without it.
  • Dijon Mustard – When you have people over, this addition will take your dressing to restaurant level.

Lemon, lime, cilantro, you name it. Dress it up well and let the ingredients shine through.

For my All-Star recipe email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com



“Now if you want an onion, just consider what great expense it takes to make it good; You must have cheese and honey, and sesame…to dress it up with; for by itself the onion is bitter and unpleasant to taste.” – 

Much can be told by the type of food one eats. Interestingly enough, onions were fed to Olympian athletes in large quantities. Believing they helped to cleanse their bodies, the ancient greeks in the gymnasiums treated them a sort of detox. Previously worshipped by the Egyptians as a symbol of eternity, the greeks also took to them for strength and soldiers rubbed them on their skin.



The ancient Greeks had a saying that summed up their overall atittudes.

Meden Agan

“Nothing too much”.  It was inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Delphi, a sacred site a little over a hundered miles northwest of the Capital Athens, was considered the center of the world. If anyone practiced what they preached, surely it was here.

2500 years ago before supersize, this society ate straight from the land and sea. With fish, fruit, and copious amounts of olive oil, evidence shows they ate smaller meals throughout the day. Dinner being the most important. If you were of means, animal proteins were typically saved for special occasions. Although diluted wine was served at breakfast, wine was not meant for excess consumption.

“Though in reality old wine is not only more pleasant, but also better for health;…and being thinner it itself  more digestable;” – 3rd Century BCE poet Alexis

Studies are still out as to the true benefits of red wine, specifically for the heart, but dare we say it surely better than soft drinks? And in moderation, isn’t a fine, aged Cabernet oh so delicious?

Onions, now widely thought of to be an incredibly healthy food are high in antioxidents, or powerful free radical fighting agents.

More on onions


More and more we try and “clean up” our diets. Rightfully so, too many foods today contain additives, preservatives, and large amounts of ingredients we cannot pronounce. While it can be very confusing keeping up with the newest “discoveries,” two principles remain clear and easy to understand;

  • Moderation
  • Fresh

The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Revised & Updated 3rd Edition, states “Cutting back on fat or switching to healthier fats doesn’t need to be a huge change. Even small changes add up.”  Suggesting more seafood consumption, fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains as well, one can imagine perhaps a late Athenian afternoon, warm breezes off the Agean Sea blowing over a table of terra cotta pots full of freshly picked olives and hardboiled eggs. With honey to dip your cheese in, and lemon to squeeze over lightly seasoned fish. Finishing with a dessert of perfectly ripened and juicy figs, wouldn’t it be nice to not have to think twice about the content of our meals.

And just enjoy.


For a free copy of my upcoming ebook on ancient greek fitness and diet subscribe by email!




Summer Staple




A cleaner version of a summer classic, this recipe substitutes plain, greek-style yogurt for mayonnaise, not only cutting fat tremendously, but adding more protein per serving. You can do half and half, or cut the mayo out all together. Strained to remove it’s whey, greek-style yogurt has a much higher protein content largely of casein.

👉 What you’ll need

  • 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Poached or baked. Shredded.


👌 For a “Waldorf” style (my favorite) add honey and apples.

  • 1/4 cup plain, unflavored greek-style yogurt
  • Salt & pepper

Mix & chill.

👉 Suggestions

Drain yogurt before folding in. The salad will keep longer.

Add different ingredients to each days meal. Variety is a good thing.

Wait until eating to add seasoning.

Bon appetit!

Time to Shop

Eating Clean

The Grocery Store

“The odds of going to the grocery store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are a billion to one”

– Erma Bombeck

Known for her wit as well as her keen observations of everyday life, Mrs. B was right on point here.



Truth be told, the aisles in today’s supermarkets are overloaded with choices.  According to consumer reports, between 1975 and 2008 the average item count in a supermarket went from 8,948 to 47,000. How many flavors of Triscuit does a person need? The article goes on to say that for some researchers, “Variety exists for a reason.” Be that as it may, every day, more and more people are trying to eat better, healthier, and cleaner. The more choices, the harder it gets.

Simplify, Simplify


Jwilliamstrains Top Three Tips for An Efficient Shopping Experience. 

  • Making a list, checking it twice Write it all down. Forget Adult ADD, it is simply to easy to over buy with so much to choose from. Make a list and stick to it. Don’t include treats/cheat meal foods either. 
  • Avoid going to the grocery store hungry Hunger can make us Hangry, and that isn’t good for anyone. So avoid it all costs. It also leads to overbuying. Which in turn leaves less for the snappy new gym outfit. Priorities. 
  • Staying Outside the Box  👈Make a concerted effort to stay on the outer perimeter of the store. Stop for a moment and think about what is lining the walls. Produce, meats, dairy, fresh, fresh, & more fresh. Mostly food items that need to be consumed quickly. And as we know “The fresher the better.” 



Cleaner eating is more than just a habit, it’s a lifestyle. And like riding a bicycle once you learn correctly you just don’t forget.

For more ideas on how to streamline your clean eating process email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com






Last year, in the first weeks of the winter months I decided to start propagating herbs, vegetables, and plants indoors. Part curiosity and part planning, I dubbed it, “The Winter Garden”.

Curiosity because there are some I have never tried before. Planning because I have large plans for an outdoor garden this spring/summer and wanted a small taste during the bitterly cold months.

And cold it was. Most have not only grown but thrived.



I hesitate to use the word easy. Gardening takes dedication, cultivation, and time. That being said, these green onions proved to be relatively low maintenance as well as the most immediately gratifying.

Starting with onions I purchased at my local supermarket, I submerged them in water after cutting down to their bulbs.


Within just a few days there was new growth. Gardening is extremely rewarding. To see something so rapid is nothing short of exciting.

Scallions 2

Just shy of two (2) weeks and significant growth with roots 3 1/2 inches in length appeared.

I eventually had so much growth I contemplated transplanting these batches, three (3) in all, into soil. However, the idea of hydroponics intrigues me so I continued in water.

When they grew to the point of 13 1/2 inches in length I harvested them for the first time to eat.


My Saturday morning scrambled eggs never tasted better.


My Advice

  • Begin in a small, shallow container. After some growth transfer to a larger one. Recycled mason jars work great.
  • Pay close attention to the water. Add/change water every few days.
  • Start small, say with one batch. After some nice growth get more ambitious

As some of my winter garden’s shining stars, I hope to get several harvestings from them before I move the garden outside this spring.

I hope you follow.