IIFYM – Stands for… ‘If It Fits Your Macros’
It’s ‘Pure Awesomeness!’
IIFYM is a fantastic everyday tool which you can use to either shed body fat, or cultivate muscle – depending on your goal! What’s great is that this method is extremely sustainable and does not restrict any foods (phew!).
In this post i’m going to articulate the concept ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ to hopefully make it very easy for you to understand + as a BONUS (yeah boi!) i’ve done a short video which elaborates the concept further. I also share how I use IIFYM into my own daily routine.
What the ‘heck’ is is IIFYM?
IIFYM is like a bank account. We have a set amount of cash which we can spend each day.
If we stay within our means we can save money (or lose weight), if however we run out of cash (eat too many calories) we go into debt (or gain body fat). If we continue to be in debt our bodies will continue to pile on the pounds.
Back to Basics…
To survive we need fuel in order to walk, talk, read, write, think, speak, move, exercise… anything requiring energy basically!
If we want to gain weight our bodies have to be in a chloric surplus (more calories than we need). If we want to lose weight we have to be a in a calorie deficit (less calories than we need).
In a recent post I wrote – My thoughts on fitness classes, personal training, running and other means of losing weight I talked about how to create a caloric deficit through output (exercise). In this post i’ll be talking about how to create a deficit through input (diet).
Macronutrients are made of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Every food that you put into your body is made up of macronutrients, lets take a Papa Johns pepperoni pizza, which is 338 calories per slice and made up of:
- 15g of fat
- 37g of carbs
- 15g protein
Each food has it’s own set number of calories, which are made up of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The free My Fitness Pal app allows you to track your macro’s with precision.
Single Ingredient Foods…
A pizza contains many more calories than a chicken salad. We know that if you eat too many calories you gain weight, that’s a fact. So eating calorically dense foods (pizza, chocolate, take-aways, etc!) is a much faster way to pile on the pounds.
Single ingredient foods however like poultry (chicken, turkey) , fish (cod, haddock), and vegetables (broccoli, asparagus) typically contain less calories. Largely eating these types of foods is wise because they provide our bodies with better quality nutrients and contain less calories.
Therefore if weight loss is the goal it would be wise to pick foods which fill us up and contain less calories because we can eat more.
Eating foods which are high in protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, mackerel, cod, eggs, etc) is a good way to do this without consuming all our calories. Protein dense foods also help keep us satiated (fuller for longer!).
The Best of Both Worlds…
The trouble is that were only human! we want to consume salty and sugary foods (we inherently crave these types of foods from birth (1). With IIFYM you can fit any food into your diet.
Let’s say you need 1,500 calories per day to lose weight, it wouldn’t be wise to consume a large pizza because you’d spend all your cash (use all your calories for the day). You could however have a slice or two.
As a general rule of thumb (from my experience) a ratio of 80/20 works really well. That is 80% of the diet is made up of single ingredient foods and 20% made up of foods of your choice.
Going back to the 1,500 calorie example. You could split your 1,500 calories as follows:
- 1,200 calories worth of single ingredient foods (80% of daily calories)
- 300 calories worth of food of your choice (20% of daily calories)
The IIFYM approach promotes dieting flexibility and is sustainable long term.
Check out my post ‘5 Guilty Pleasures You Can Eat Whilst Dieting‘ for some great tasting ‘naughty foods’ that can fit into your life-style whilst still shedding pounds.
IIFYM works well for the everyday person looking to improve body composition. If however your an athlete or bodybuilder who’s main priority is optimum performance and recovery then IIFYM is not an optimally strategy. You’d want to use your macronutrients as wisely as possible, as they say… ‘every little helps’.
There are also certain foods which may promote binge eating behaviour. These foods are known as ‘Hedonic foods’…
‘Hedonic hunger or hedonic hyperphagia is “the drive to eat to obtain pleasure in the absence of an energy deficit.” Particular foods may have a high “hedonic rating” or individuals may have increased susceptibility to environmental food cues (2).
It would be therefore wise to avoid those foods which you find hard to control. Otherwise…
More FREE ‘golden nuggets’ on ‘If It Fits Your Macros’…
Hope you enjoyed!
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