What is IIFYM? What does it stand for? How does it work?
IIFYM stands for “If It Fits Your Macros”. It is a way of eating also known as “flexible dieting“. This means that technically, you can eat ANY food you want if it fits your macros.
What are macros? Macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and protein. ALL of which play important parts in our health. Diets that cut out one of these groups are usually hard to sustain, unhealthy and lead to failure. Why do we need ALL three?
- Protein– We need protein to help preserve muscle! Whether you want to be a bodybuilder or a regular Joe, muscles burn a lot of calories. The more muscle you have the easier it is to lose weight.
- Fat– Fats help us regulate our hormones. This is important for both men and women. People who do not get enough fat often notice negative changes in their skin, thinning hair, irregular periods, lack of sex drive, etc. Hormones also play a big part in weight loss!
- Carbohydrates– Carboyhdrates give our muscles glycogen which helps us work out and have energy!
Many of you may wonder what the difference is between counting macros and counting calories? The answer there is simple. Body composition and balance. Counting macros ensures that you get enough of each group to preserve muscle, stay lean and have energy. Most people who only count calories do not eat enough protein which means gaining muscle will be harder. And the more muscle we have the easier it is to lose weight.
Though with IIFYM you can technically eat ANY foods you want and still lose weight, it is recommended for health purposes that at least 80% of your diet comes from WHOLE foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, etc . This ensures you get the essential vitamins and nutrients for your body.
For people that have done many other diets this may sound too good to be true. How can someone eat oreos and still have abs? It doesn’t quite make sense when you look everywhere and see “motivational” posters telling you to “eat clean” or “put down the cookie”.
I too used to have so many misconceptions about diet. When I first decided that I wanted to lose weight I was convinced carbs were the enemy. I did low carb for a while and was absolutely miserable. Yes I lost weight, but I had no energy and after restricting for so long it made me want to binge on carbs any chance I could!
After that I moved to clean eating. Eating clean is great, it encourages you to eat many healthy foods that are good for your body! However I took it a little too far. I got so obsessed with ONLY eating “clean” foods that it was extremely restrictive and there were very few items that I COULD eat. I didn’t want to go out to eat with my husband or friends and was so afraid of eating anything. I felt guilty if I had foods that were not “clean”. On the weekends I would have my cheat days where I would go NUTS over any and all foods that I had made myself cut out on the weekends. I was working SO hard during the week days but undoing it all during the weekends!!!
Around this time I heard about IIFYM. I was both intrigued and amazed. I didn’t understand how these people could eat oreos and pancakes and normal “unclean” foods and still look AMAZING. I started to do research and read everything I could about IIFYM and the benefits. I watched videos and talked to others on instagram who did it. I was frustrated with my lack of progress doing clean eating, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try!
So I went to http://www.iifym.com and looked up my macros. Macros (macro nutrients) are fat, carbohydrates and protein. IIFYM gives you certain numbers of each that you need to meet each day based on your weight, activity level and your goals.
At first I found this challenging to hit each number. Getting enough protein was my biggest struggle. Most people eat a LOT of carbs and even a lot of fats but most don’t eat enough protein. I will admit it was frustrating at first trying to figure out the numbers and make it all work. But it was SO rewarding to eat a dessert I wanted, go get a coffee, or have a nice dinner out with NO guilt because it FIT MY MACROS! I had planned for that treat and worked it in to my goals for the day.
Benefits I have noticed from IIFYM
- Chronic insomnia was IMMEDIATELY cured
- Energy went WAY up
- Hormones were more balanced
- Cravings and binging went down
- Self esteem went up
- No food related guilt
- Amazing muscle gains
- Hair became thicker and stronger
- Blood test results for many issues came back healthy after being abnormal for a long time
- I can eat much more than I used to and not gain weight
After doing it for almost a year now, I continue to love this way of eating. I can enjoy foods that I used to avoid (in moderation!). I feel healthy and balanced. Obviously how you eat is a personal choice but I am constantly being asked how I can eat what I do or eat as much as I do and stay in shape. I hope this helps to answer some of the questions.
If you’re curious I suggest doing a Google search of “IIFYM transformations”. You will be amazed.