By: Tim Schiemann
You may have seen the acronym “IIFYM” in recent articles or social media posts- #IIFYM has over 4.6 million tags on Instagram alone. IIFYM stands for “If It Fits Your Macronutrients”, but what does it mean and how does it work?
What does IIFYM mean?
Simply put, eat whatever you want IF this food will fit in your macronutrient (commonly known as “macros”) goals of the day. This requires a bit of prep work before you get started on an IIFYM plan because you have to know how many calories you need to consume per day depending on your goals. Then you have to determine the distribution of your various macros. Macros are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Based on those numbers you can eat whatever you want to reach your daily goal.
How does it work?
According to IIFYM theory, you can fill your entire day with what is typically considered “junk food” and still reach your goals as long as you are accurately counting the macros in all the foods that you’re consuming. If you are dieting for looks and not health or athletic performance then you can use IIFYM in that way. You can also use IIFYM to take your calorie counting to a more advance level. Instead of just thinking that you are on a 2,000 or 1,500 calorie diet, you can track and make sure that you are consuming the right amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrate – not just calories.
For me I find that I take the second approach since it is important to me to cover all the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well. I make sure to include fruits and vegetables, and appropriate supplements along with meeting my macro goals. Secondly I make sure to get enough fibre as well so that digestion can work well and avoid any complications. Another point is that sugar will not help you to reduce your hunger as well as complex carbohydrates do, which can cause you to overeat and wreck your diet if you are following a low calorie diet. Additionally to that, sugar will amplify the possibility that you’ll get various diseases which we don’t want of course! To summarize you can use IIFYM completely if your just looking for fat loss, bulking up or stay with your weight, but if you are not only looking for your outa look but to stay healthy as well I recommend you to eat clean as well.
To give you an example how I and a lot of other people handle it, I’ll give you an overview over a typical day in my life. I start with a smoothie with some fruits, protein powder and spinach (tastes great!). For lunch I often eat pasta, the toppings/sauces I switch it up daily. For dinner I eat sometimes 2-3 eggs and some vegetables. Before I go to bed I eat my daily low-fat quark (similar to cottage cheese) and there the real IIFYM starts for me. Depending on how many calories and fats/carbs I still have available I add chocolate or Nutella or other sweets to make this meal tastier and to satisfy my appetite for sugar.
So try my idea of IIFYM to balance health and bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle.