Another diet, or lifestyle, that many body builders, cross-fitters, and bikini bod gods are following is the “if it fits your macros” diet. Why is this diet followed by so many? Well, despite the meticulous, hardcore macro counting involved, this diet helps control the foods eaten based on personal goals without sacrificing the slice of pizza, cupcake, or your favorite foods. This diet focuses on a flexible diet— eating healthy while including calorie-dense foods that most tend to avoid.
Let’s say, for instance, that you are trying very hard to follow this diet plan that eliminates all sugar. Your friend’s birthday is coming up, however, and it is very scary to think about giving into the normal foods and drinks offered at such festivities like cake or soda. The more this is thought about, the more these foods are craved, and on the day-of you think to yourself, “It’s a celebration! I can have a bite or two of cake…” Deprived from sugar, you overeat and thoughts of regret take over. By following an IIFYM diet, however, there is no shame in celebrating with a piece of delicious vanilla buttercream cake. If it fits your macros, that is…
Macros, or macronutrients, include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. With the IIFYM diet, a calculation is done that involves a person’s gender, weight, height, age, and active lifestyle. This formula determines the recommended daily amount of calories needed based on current lifestyle and personal goals. A percentage of each macronutrient ( usually 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat) from the daily calories needed can then be determined. There are countless calculators on the internet that can calculate all of this for you, like this one.
Once all is calculated, the fun begins. All that is eaten throughout the day must be tracked gram for gram. But the cool part is, ALL food is acceptable. No more resisting the urge. No more feeling guilty. All there is to do is track the grams of each macronutrient the food contains to fit it into your daily macronutrient goals.
The Pros and Cons:
- The great thing about this lifestyle is the flexibility- yes, you can eat pizza. Yes, you can drink soda, and eat cake, or even have a glass of wine. But, they must meet your macros.
- It helps in balancing food groups. It’s difficult to have a well-balanced diet when not tracking down what we eat. With this lifestyle, you kind of have to.
- There are many resources out there, both to calculate your macros and to track your foods. MyFitnessPal is a great tool for this.
- There is no depriving your body. Because this diet allows all foods, there is no need to feel guilty when eating foods that are deemed “unhealthy” or binge-eating the foods that have been cut out of your diet.
- If you’re a meal-prep guy or gal, meal prepping comes easy. With the personal guidelines set by this diet plan, the week’s meals can easily be planned out. All there is to choose is which protein, carb, and fat will be in each meal.
- This “meeting your macros” rule may create obsessive behavior. After all, you do have to make sure your macros are met. Be aware, however, that it is impossible to meet the numbers exactly, so be lenient!
- Cheating the system is easy to do, but it is a no-no. Because you can fit in whatever foods you want does not mean that whole grains, fruits and vegetables can be excluded from the diet. We must strive for a healthy lifestyle.
- For accuracy, everything must be weighed. Investing in a scale and some measuring equipment is necessary.
- It can get some getting used to. Depending on how your diet was before, you may notice you are eating a lot more of one macronutrient than you’ve ever have. It may seem as though you are consuming way too much, but if it was calculated correctly, there is no need to worry.
With these pros and cons in mind, the IIFYM may or may not be a fit for you. Dedication is required to make sure adequate amount of macros are met daily, but it can be easy with the many programs able to calculate everything without needing to whip out a calculator.
If you’ve tried flexible dieting before, what did you like or dislike about it? If this idea is completely new to you, would you consider trying this lifestyle? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section!