IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a nutrition mindset you will definitely hear about as you interact with Beachbody and fitness. It is not just a diet, although you can treat it as one. It’s more of a philosophy on eating and tracking your nutrition. A while back I looked into another plan, Intermittent Fasting (IF). I did so after taking about a month to give IF a trial run. Click here to read more about my opinions and experience with IF.
So what gives me experience with IIFYM? Having been secretly trying out IIFYM for the last month? Well yes and no. I haven’t tried IIFYM for the last month … I have really been using it for almost my entire time with Beachbody LOL! its heart, IIFYM is nutrition tracking. Now there are some differences to what I do and what other people may call IIFYM, but the similarities far outweigh the differences.
What is IIFYM?
IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is an eating protocol that states as long as a food fits within your macro goals for a day, you can eat it. So if you have 100g of carbs and 20g of fat left in the day and you want ice cream, eat it! Get a portion of ice cream that is less than 100g carbs and 20g fat.
The main focus of IIFYM is to hit your macros, and in doing so, to hit your overall calorie goal. You HAVE to track with IIFYM. To some of the purest IIFYM users, that is all that matters. What food you choose to use to reach those macro goals does not matter to someone really doing IIFYM. If you read about IIFYM, you’ll find a common thread of people liking to fit Pop Tarts in their macros. I don’t know why that is LOL. But some people use IIFYM as a way to fit in as much “junk food” into their macros as possible.
IIFYM actually got its start on the Bodybuilding.com forums. I can’t recall the story exactly, but there was a sort of nutrition guru on the forms who kept getting asked the questions “can I eat ________________?” and “is it ok to eat_____________?” His universal reply soon became “yes… if it fits your macros” and IIFYM was born.
How my nutrition plan resembles IIFYM
Since day one, my nutrition plan has been very similar to IIFYM. I’ve always used daily macro goals and nutrition tracking. I pick foods that help me meet my macro goals (or as I call them “budgets”) and weigh/measure/etc. my food choices to give me portions that equal the grams of P/C/F for those goals. Just looking at that component of my take on nutrition, it is almost exactly IIFYM.
How my nutrition plan differs from IIFYM
I was more extreme on this initially that I am now, but I do believe food choice matters. I chose to hit my budgets for carbs with whole food sources and often complex carbohydrate sources. I picked good quality, lean meats to hit my protein budgets. And for fats, I chose “good” fats to meet my macros. So as most people look at my nutrition plans, they would say that I’m also eating “clean.” I did not fill my carbs from sugars or simple carbs like candy and sweets. I was not eating processed food. I did not eat tons of saturated fat. You won’t find Pop Tarts on my plans LOL
Where does IIFYM fit for us?
I love the emphasis that IIFYM places on nutrition tracking and meeting specific macro nutrient goals. In my own journey and through the thousands of people I’ve helped with Beachbody, I truly believe this is the most accurate and consistent way to get results. If you aren’t tracking your nutrition, you really don’t know what you’re taking in during a day. Those inconsistencies lead to slow progress and even no progress at all. This is usually the case when you hear person say they are eating “clean” but they’ve had no results. You can eat all the “clean” food you want while still overeating and missing optimal macro goals.
What I don’t care for about IIFYM, in its pure application, is its total disregard for food choice. 50 g of sugar is not processed by your body in the same way that 50 g of complex carbs from oatmeal is processed. I can’t see how anyone would argue that getting all your carbs from Pop Tarts will yield the same results as getting your daily carbohydrates from a variety of sources (simple and complex). I also don’t care for IIFYM’s disregard for food quality. As our society processes foods to a greater extent, their natural structure changes. In doing so, we know our bodies will process those foods differently when we eat them. Highly processed wheat (like white bread) is essentially like table sugar. While I don’t believe those foods will kill your progress in moderation (and within your budgets), I just can’t support the concept of filling your entire day with overly processed foods. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the unknown effects of the additives, dyes, and chemicals added to many processed foods. There is a large unknown risk you are taking.
So should you IIFYM?
You probably already are doing IIFYM — you just didn’t know it LOL! Most likely you’re not going to the extreme of eating Pop Tarts every day for your carbs, but you’re picking food that meets your macro goals and tracking it to those goals everyday.
While on a deficit, you won’t have much room in your budgets to fit many new foods. That is because most of these foods we label as “bad” are extremely calorie dense from being loaded with carbs and fat. And we know on Fat Shredder we don’t have large budgets of carbs or fat. But as you move to maintenance and beyond, your food choices really do open up. You can fit in a trip to Qdoba and it won’t ruin your budgets. You can even have pizza and it’s ok… if it fits your macros! :-) Just don’t think you can pound a large Dominoes pizza every night and still be ripped. Work those foods into your macros you’ll be amazed at what a free feeling it gives you.
So is this anything new? Not really. We just want to make sure that our macro goals are met and that we’re getting the majority of our calories from good sources. Fiber will still play a role and should be tracked as well. But I really do believe that if a food fits your macros you can eat it (within reason). Don’t feel guilty. Put in the work to track perfectly and be honest with what you eating.
Remember …This is a lifestyle change, not a diet!!
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