IIFYM is becoming a very famous abbreviation, but what does it mean and why is it so popular? Read all about this specific way of eating in today’s blog!
IIFYM in nutshell
IIFYM stands for ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ and simply said it’s a principle in which you do not track your calories but your macronutrient intake and as long as you stay within your daily limit of macronutrients, you can eat whatever you want. To understand it better and decide if it is actually worth trying, I will take you to the very beginning of this issue. IIFYM originates from Anthony Collova, he first tried this method of dieting on himself and he lost over 22kg in 6 months by not tracking his calories but shifting the focus to tracking the macro’s only. He could eat more and still achieve his goals and he wanted to share this with others to help them as it helped him. That’s why he started making IIFYM calculators which are now being used on hundreds of websites.
Sounds great right? But what are macros!?
Macro is a short name for macronutrients, officially there are 4 macronutrients. Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and Alcohol. However, Alcohol is very unhealthy and will not help you lose weight or gain muscles, thus while tracking macro’s we only look at the 3 most important macronutrients, carbs, proteins and fats.
Carbohydrates, also known as Carbs, can be seen as energy for your body. It is primarily used to power your body but when eating too many carbs, the body will store them as fat. 1 gram of carbohydrates contains 4 kilocalories.
Foods with high quantities of carbs are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Kidney beans
Proteins can be seen as the building blocks of your body. Protein repair, maintain and help in growing body tissues such as muscles but if other nutrients are scarce protein can also be used as an energy source. 1 gram of protein contains 4 kilocalories.
Healthy protein-rich foods are:
- Lean meat, poultry and fish
- Certain seeds and nuts
And if you find it difficult to eat enough protein you could choose one of MZStore Whey Protein shakes. There are many flavours to choose from, easy to make and very tasty! And use the discount code HCPT7 to get a 7% discount!
Fat has nowadays a very negative image whilst healthy fats are very necessary to maintain a healthy eating pattern. Dietary fats can be used for energy, absorbing vitamins and maintain heart and brain health. However, 1 gram of fat does contain 9 kilocalories which means you need to watch out with eating too many fats.
Healthy fat sources are:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and more.
To start the IIFYM diet, you have to complete 2 steps
Step 1 calculate your needed macronutrient intake. This means that you need to find out how many grams of carbs, proteins and fats you are allowed to eat per day.
As mentioned before, there are many IIFYM calculators on websites which you can use to calculate the right amounts.
Once you know how much you need to eat per day, you just have to eat that amount of macro’s every day. To make sure you are not over or under eating it would be very helpful to track your intake. Personally, I think the Mobile App MyFitnessPal is one of the best apps to track your food intake.
As long as you do these two steps and stay within the limits of your nutrient intake, you should achieve your goals when combined with being physically active.
One of the biggest advantages of this kind of dieting is that you do not exclude certain foods and as long as you plan it properly, you can have some chocolate or eat out with friends. You just have to estimate what kind of macro’s and how many you are going to eat, reserve these for the dinner and change your breakfast and lunch to allow for the unhealthier foods in the evening.
What also happens during IIFYM dieting, is that you start to understand nutrition better. You automatically learn about foods; their contents and how unhealthy foods impact your daily intake.
Points to consider
But besides the benefits, there are also points which you have to take into consideration, for example the benefit of not excluding certain foods could also be seen as a negative. You can still eat unhealthy foods which may fit in your macronutrients on a daily basis but at the same time they would have undesirable impact on overall health in the long term. Eating sugary foods and trans-fats rich types of food could develop cardiovascular diseases over the years. Once you start noticing symptoms it’s unfortunately already too late and the damage has been done.
Also, it does not take micronutrients into account such as vitamins and minerals which are essential for a healthy diet. Therefore, it is very important to understand that eating healthy foods is way more important that eating the right quantities of foods.
The take-away from this blog can be summed up in just one simple sentence.
Calculate your daily needed macro’s, track them and choose quality foods over quantity.
Just by following these steps you should be reaching your goals and live a healthier life.
Have you ever tried this kind of flexible dieting? What are your views on IIFYM? Let us know in the comments!
Written by Sven Nicholson | Online Personal Trainer @ www.healthychanges.nl