One of the biggest mindfucks in all of nutrition is accepting that there are no bad foods. There are only bad diets.
In other words, in a vacuum, any food can be consumed in moderation. However, based on the context of your diet, there are certainly food items that could be problematic when consumed in excess.
While there is plenty of debate about the “ideal diet,” most in-the-know experts agree there’s no such thing. In fact, one of the most psychologically violent things you can do is to start putting different foods into black and white buckets. Superfoods can’t exist outside of context. The same can be said for “bad foods.”
For instance, in the fitness industry, there’s a fuzzy concept known as “clean foods.” Although the idea isn’t a bad one and can be useful in theory for some people, the trouble is there’s no accepted definition. Depending on the nutrition “expert”, you’re likely to get a wide definition of what they consider to be “clean.” Are protein shakes “clean” or are they processed? What about white rice? Granola has a lot of sugar, but it’s “all natural,” so is that clean?
See what I mean? The whole concept isn’t as obvious as you may think at first glance.
One of the biggest trends in progressive nutrition is what’s known as “flexible dieting.” Simply put, proponents of flexible dieting encourage people to build in their indulgences so as to avoid all-or-nothing thinking. That’s why the Unicorn Diet is built around your personal favorite foods. We’re looking for a sustainable approach. If you’re not including foods you love (even some “junky goodness”), there’s no way to maintain this approach over the long haul.
We’re not looking for a “quick fix” here, as there’s no such thing. What we want is a new lifestyle that allows you to eat what you love while creating and then maintaining your Broadway body. Unlike film and TV actors, stage performers aren’t able to focus only on training and eating for six months to prepare for a two month shoot, and then go back to their usual eating habits. We need strategies that you can use indefinitely.
Now, are some foods “better” than others? It does seem reasonable to prioritize quality non-processed, single ingredient, perishable food items. You’d do well to minimize things that come in boxes and cans and bags. And certainly there’s no harm in avoiding foods with lots of unpronounceable ingredients. But ultimately, as long as your diet mostly consists of the former, within reason you should feel free to enjoy indulgences.
Of course, the key phrase here is “within reason.”
This is where you have to know yourself. We strongly think you’re best off planning for indulgences. That’s why we’ve made it one of the foundational habits of the Unicorn Diet. Years of working with real live performers has taught us that an “all-or-nothing” approach invariably leads to anxiety and disaster. We need to make room for special treats in your diet.
Remember, perfect is the enemy of the good. Our goal is not perfection. Our goal is 90% and balancing your health and hotness goals with living your life. If you know you just need to eat some chocolate now and again or have some drinks with your friends on a Saturday night, no problem! Just make sure to plan that shit.
For most meal frequencies, you’ll have somewhere between 3-5 meals per week to have some treats. How you approach this is up to you. Some people like to go big once or twice a week, or moderately free a few times a week.
There are no wrong choices here, but keep in mind, total calories will still matter. If you go totally full-out YOLO 3 times a week and consume meals clocking in at 2000 plus calories each, that can easily erase an entire week’s worth of MyBroadwayBody.com fat loss training and Unicorn dieting.
In closing, we hope you’ll commit to this concept of “flexible dieting.” The brain often likes things to be black or white, but this nuanced approach to food is not only more accurate, it allows for a much more sustainable approach.
Having worked with many, many performers, we also know that this habit can be the hardest one to implement! If you’re struggling to find balance here, you are not alone. Come join us on the Community Forum and we’ll figure out the right strategy for you and your situation!