If you haven't yet - read here about how I stopped my binging for good with the IIFYM lifestyle.
A lot of buzz has been going around with the growth and popularity of IIFYM - or IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS. A sort of clean eating vs IIFYM war battle.
People keep saying "Either you're a clean eater, OR iifym" or "Ok you iifym? Good luck with your rotting health" or "Ew iifymers looks gross because they eat gross things" etc etc.
NEWS FLASH. It's not black and white. It's not "healthy OR IIFYM".
To assume all IIFYMers just fill their macros with crap is absurd. Maybe its because a lot of people on instagram or online only post the "naughty", but that's only to show that you CAN GET TO YOUR GOALS while still having treats! You could have any diet or eating style in the world and still IIFYM. You could be: paleo, clean eater, keto, vegetarian, vegan, raw, etc and still use the IIFYM method. It's basically a form of calorie counting, but with macros (protein fats and carbs), and you count EVERYTHING YOU CONSUME.
There is no black and white. YOU CAN STILL EAT "HEALTHY" FOOD IN AN IIFYM DIET.
"healthy: clean eating reviving foods that get you lean and magically fit"
"IIFYM: unhealthy fattening process foods that will make you gain fat".
Many people may have that view because it's easier to overeat on the "naughty" things than vegetables. However, it's the OVER CONSUMPTION of food that will lead to fat gain, not the food itself. Educate yourself. In the end science wins. Calories out vs calories in. You can eat a surplus of freakin veggies and protein and gain weight, you can eat in a deficit of cookies and lose weight. Check out Layne Norton on all his forms of social media because he's always spitting truth and facts based on SCIENCE, especially about the IIFYM approach.
I aim to hit my macros every day, I fill them with nutrient dense food (veggies, fruits, meats, avocados, oils, nuts, other forms of protein, grains, starchy carbs, essential fats, fiber, Etc etc) AND I get my treats, treats that are deemed "naughty" by the clean eating society.
I have a wide option of food to choice from, there are no "banned" or "restricted" foods. I hit my essential nutrients everyday (nutrients that you must obtain from food because your body doesn't make them- essential amino acids, essential fats, vitamins and minerals) and always hit my fiber. If you look at my instagram feed I'm not shoving my face with cake all day, like many people THINK when they hear "IIFYM". But the great thing about if it fits your macros is: I AM able to fit in treats when I want to! When I was a clean eater, I never had that mindset! I always had the thought "go clean, or go crazy and hard on all the bad stuff". I had no sense of balance when I was a strict "clean eater". If you read my IIFYM saved me from binging post, you'll read about those struggles and mindset.
I realize some clean eaters also say:
"Oh WE eat in moderation TOO - or we'd go crazy!"
That's amazing for YOU that you can do that! But for me PERSONALLY, when I was a "clean eater" I went too crazy clean...
As in I banned all salt, even sea salt, didn't cook with oil because I was afraid of the fats and if it would become deadly poisonous when cooked with, I avoided most carbs, and probably only consumed around <50 g a day, mostly from veggies, and when I did count my calories, I would end up at around 700 calories for the day! No wonder my metabolism was all kinds of messed up.
I also had FOOD COMBINING RULES: I wouldn't combine 2 proteins in a meal, I wouldn't eat fruit with or after a meal because of the digesting times and was told it would sit and rot in my stomach, I hardly ate dairy, and if I did eat bread, I couldn't eat it with any protein because it wasn't "good for the digestive system". These food combining rules were basically put together so that our digestive system can work smoothly and not have any tummy aches... but now that I think of it... I think I was making my digestive system a big ol' WIMP by giving it such an easy time. What happens if I introduce something bad down the road? My body would have a CRAZY reaction. So why did I make everything so easy for it? Let's give our digestive systems a little struggle, make it stronger! Just my opinion...
Sorry for that tangent, but how I was living above..... That's no way to live!
For me personally (SO you all that have been doing well and fine and are happy with clean eating, CONGRATS, that is AMAZING - I'm not trying to bash any clean eaters out there) but for ME, I was too restricted with that sort of lifestyle, which led to binging!
Now I'm a proud iifymer, with a new mindset of view on foods, I'm an ex/recovering binger, I eat nutritious food but I also eat not so nutritious food. But just because I follow IIFYM, or if you know anyone that follows IIFYM,
do not assume it's a full-of-crap diet.It is NOT. I fill my macros with ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT DENSE food and once those are hit, I add in TREATS IF I WANT. Don't judge a person's lifestyle and health based on their "diet". You can be a CLEAN EATER AND DO IIFYM. Did ya know that? You just fill your macros allllll of clean clean unprocessed foods!
Not rocket science, but it seems like a lot of people can't grasp that concept.
Once again, it is NOT Healthy OR IIFYM. Repeat that till it absorbs into your brain.
|My body following IIFYM. Guess those poptarts are doing some good huh?|
Take a look at your "diet" right now.
If you can't see yourself eating that way in 5 years, time to find a way that you can stick to.
What is IIFYM:
In the simplest way, IIFYM means
"consuming almost any food source either high or low nutrient value within reason that will fit into a fixed macronutrient/caloric total."
Macros: protein, carbs, and fat.
BASICALLY you are allowed to fit whatever you want into your macros.... but this doesn't mean go wild crazy on a candy buffet. Sure you could if you wanted to.. but you want to get your essential nutrients for proper body and brain function and health benefits! You can also take a multivitamin to help out with your micros!
Macros: fat, carbs, protein
Micros: vitamins and minerals
You need fats which are necessary part of every cell, they protect internal organs, and provide fat-soluble vitamins
You need carbs for your energy sources
You need protein to repair and help build some awesome muscles
You need vitamins and minerals to regulate various body processes
And you need your fiber to ah... help ya remove the waste
Your health is determined through micronutrients
Your aesthetics and body composition is determined by macros/calories
IIFYM allows you to incorporate so called "junk" or "naughty" foods into your diet. Studies say that the body doesn't differentiate between what kinds of foods you eat, but only processes the foods based on its macros. Counting and eating by your macros will affect your body composition, but make sure you also get those micronutrients to benefit your health!
How to Start:
GET YOUR MACROS:
An easy place to start would be to go to iifym.com, go to their online calculator and find your own set of customized macros for your body and needs. I would raise the recommended protein over 1 g/body weight in pounds especially if you lift weights or you goal is to gain lean muscle.
Check this link to read about setting up your own macros and getting started!
Also this link shows you how to set it up if you want to do the math by hand as well!
Or you could also look for a great coach or nutritionist to set some macros for you and take out the guessing game of whether you're doing it right or not! Check out Layne Norton's suggestions that he gives on his twitter account! I get my macros from my nutrition coach Paul Revelia.
- I use myfitnesspal to track my food [there's an online store and a phone app]
- I like using My Fitness Pal [or MFP] because it has a huge food database, and if your food has a barcode, you can use the app to scan it and it'll bring that food right up! Easy as that! Click add to your diary and BAM. Easy and fast!
- Once you have your macros, set them on myfitnesspal, go to the website --> My Home --> Goals --> scroll down to Change Goals --> And then click the bubble that says Custom
- Now at this part, MFP doesn't allow custom percentages, so you have to be a little loose here
- Add up what your calories should be by using the equation below and put in YOUR macros:
- [Fat Grams * 9] + [Carb Grams * 4] + [Protein Grams * 4] = Total Calories
- Put your total calories into the Net Calories Consumed space on the MFP page
- Then play around with the percentages until they get the grams on the right [next to the percentages] as close as possible to your macros!
- My Fitness Pals doesn't have my exact precise macro percentages, but I've memorized my macros by now and hit them daily!
- Try to hit your macros on target every day [or at least hit within 5 g range of each]
- In the picture below the goal is your goal macros and total is what you've already consumed for the day!
|these ARE NOT my macros, just an example!|
- COUNT FIBER with your carbs
- if you're carb macros are 220 g and you want to have at least 23 g fiber, you still want the total carb g on MFP to say 220 and Fiber to say 23
- DON'T eat 243 g carbs and have 23 g of carbs and say "Ok my NET Carbs [total minus fiber] is 220 so I'm good. Count your fiber WITH your total carb intake!
- Measure your food with a scale, it's most accurate!
- When eating out, there are many restaurants with online nutrition info which can be used through MFP!
- if there is no nutrition info, GUESSTIMATE!
- Eyeball it - how many ounces [4 oz is usually around an iphone size]
- Sub in a similar dish
- So you're eating lo mein but can't get the exact match from the place you're at? Search Lo mein from another restaurant and put it in!
- Track your foods everyday - Sometimes I do a loose plan of the next day before I go to bed! Then as your day changes, do little tweaks here and there!
- It's best to center majority of carbs at breakfast, pre and post workout, and then spread the rest out over the rest of your meals
- Try not to have too much fat pre or post workout
- MAKE SURE YOU'RE HITTING FIBER - gotta keep that system flowingggg
- ALWAYS STAY HYDRATED!
- Keep consistent with your macros! So that when you want to change [bulk or cut down] your body will be sensitive to the macro changes!
- Get your body used to your macros. Don't jump around constantly! Give it a few weeks or a month to adapt to them! Then change them around if needed!
Does IIFYM Work?
This is like asking, "Does healthy eating work? Does Paleo work? Does Keto work? Does clean eating work?" Etc etc. Because remember - YOU CAN FOLLOW ANY EATING PLAN OR DIET AND USE IIFYM! It's simply TRACKING WHAT YOU EAT, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS THAT YOU EAT.
EVERY THING WORKS - IT'S WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU PERSONALLY, WHAT YOU CAN STICK TO, WHAT YOU CAN BE CONSISTENT WITH, WHAT YOU ENJOY - FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
|My personal transformation since incorporating IIFYM|
Remember - eating TOO MUCH of ANYTHING [even apples or lettuce] will make you gain weight! Granted that'd be a LOT of lettuce, but you get the point.
Overeating anything = fat gain
Being in a caloric deficit = fat loss
Simple as that
And now I leave you with this:
Before you criticize a diet, do some research. Don't judge one's lifestyle based on their "diet" or way of eating. Don't judge someone's health by the food they eat. In the end, just do what works for you and don't give a damn about any other lifestyle that disagrees with yours!
LINKS I Highly Recommend You Check Out for More On IIFYM: