IIFYM, is an acronym for ‘If It Fits Your Macros’. This diet has been recently popularised because it allows people to eat essentially whatever they like once it fits their daily macronutrient and calorie allowance. Sounds like the diet of dreams right? It’s not so simple. Following this approach means you need to be very precise with your calculations by measuring every morsel of food that goes past your lips which often means carrying around a kitchen scale in your handbag (I’m not kidding).
Take it from someone who lived by IIFYM weighing everything to the gram for the bones of 12 months.. it is completely draining. Since January of this year though, as aforementioned, I’ve completely changed this lifestyle, really the only things I use my scales to measure now is to measure out my carb sources aka porridge oats, rice, sweet potatoe and my egg whites. Oh and peanut butter, but that’s only because I have a serious nut butter addiction, and if I didn’t use the scales to measure it to some extent well then I would very quickly go through a jar in a day or 2. But I no longer religiously measure out everything I eat like I did before, because in my opinion, it does not define a healthy lifestyle or having a healthy relationship with food.
Has my body image changed dramatically? Hell no. I still eat healthily, workout regularly, treat myself from time to time, and don’t let it stress me.
Now, for those who compete, and body build professionally for sport, then yes, using IIFYM is important for them to achieve their goals. It is how they ensure that they are dieting and loosing body fat to ensure that they are stage ready when competition day comes around.
IIFYM requires a lot of precision to do it right. First of all you must calculate your daily macronutrient requirements; for example x amount of carbs, y amount of fats, and z amount of protein. Then you need to track how much of each macronutrient you have throughout the day and take that away from your daily allowance. Most people use ‘My Fitness Pal’ or a similar app to track what they’ve eaten.
But for the rest of us, what is important in my opinion is that you do know the rough calculations of what your daily calorie intake should be, and have an understanding of what your general macros are. But you do not need to stick to them 100%. You do not need to measure out your sauces and your veggies. IIFYM should be used as a guideline, not bible. You shouldn’t feel guilty that your carb intake was a little over one day or that you didn’t hit your protein intake another. That does not define a healthy diet, that defines for those of us not competing, an unhealthy relationship with food.
So if you are planning to adopt the IIFYM approach, remember to base your diet primarily on whole food ingredients so that you’re hitting both your macronutrient and micronutrient targets!