Flexible and Sustainable
If you’ve spent longer than an hour browsing around the FitFam, you have likely seen #IIFYM pop up more than once. No, that isn’t a typo or a random string of letters. IIFYM stands for “if it fits your macros”, and it is rapidly becoming the new favorite diet. It stands out because, unlike short-lived fad diets, IIFYM is both flexible and sustainable.
“Macros” is short for macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Knowing how many grams of each macronutrient you need to eat per day is the starting point for IIFYM. There are a variety of online resources to help you calculate your macro sweet spot. Once you have those numbers, you are ready to start the IIFYM adventure.
Rather than restricting yourself to just broccoli, sweet potatoes and chicken while trying to eat healthy, the IIFYM approach allows you to eat whatever you want as long as it fits into your allotted macros for the day.
For example, if you plan on getting 20g of carbohydrates in a meal, those carbs can come from anything. From fruit to rice to bread, as long as the food item falls within your limits, it is fair game.
This allows you to still go out to social gatherings without having to fear the food that will be there. You build a healthy relationship with food while learning more about how many macronutrients are in each item. So don’t decline your invite to the BBQ, just count that stack of ribs towards your protein count for the day!
Not an Excuse to Eat Unhealthy
IIFYM is a great way to be flexible in your diet. However, it isn’t an excuse to eat unhealthy. Looking back at social media and the FitFam, you often see #IIFYM attached to treats usually not included in a diet plan. Some people use IIFYM to regularly devour these items.
For example, a half cup of vanilla ice cream has about 16g of carbohydrates. If you’ve planned for that many carbs in a meal, grab a scoop! Keep in mind those carbohydrates are almost entirely from sugar, not fiber, and the dessert has very few micronutrients. On the other hand, almost 3 cups of kale will get you to those 16g of carbohydrates. Plus, you’ll gain all your vitamin A and vitamin C for the day, all for fewer calories. Green veggies are still the preferred option.
Ultimately, IIFYM is a great way to be flexible and learn more about food. It is far more sustainable than the typically strict diet plans many people fall into. Other diets shame you for eating certain foods. IIFYM allows you to occasionally slip a treat into your day without feeling guilty. However, it’s still important to choose healthy foods overall. Stick to your macros and enjoy a little flexibility.