IIFYM, IS THAT REALLY WORKING?!
If you have been browsing fat loss articles while drinking your protein shake, you’ve probably heard of IIFYM from somewhere or someone. In this chapter we will talk about what it exactly is and whether or not you should use it.
What is IIFYM?
IIFYM simply means “If It Fits Your Macros” which means you can eat a variety of foods even the “bad” foods in MODERATION and get in shape as long as you hit your amount of protein, carbs, and fats for the day.
The fact regarding body composition is that the only requirement for your body to burn fat is for you to consume less energy than what your body needs to maintain its weight, strength train so that you keep your muscle and sleep enough (8 hours) so that you can recover.
Now some will assume that IIFYM simply means they can eat whatever they want as long as it fits their daily macros. If you don’t care about your health and have no problem getting diabetes, heart issues, cancer or high blood pressure at 40-50, then by all means eat as much junk food as you want!
For those looking to maximize their health, performance at the gym, recovery, and energy throughout the day, IIFYM is a great tool WHEN USING RIGHT.
Try to use the 80/20 percent principle which means 80% of your daily calories comes from nutrition dense foods and the other 20% you keep for foods you love and can’t go without.
But let me talk about it if you are one of those people that will never drop the junk food. Here is how you get ripped eating pizza and donuts all day – you eat whatever foods you want so that you hit your protein, carbs and fat numbers. This means if you need 200g of carbs you can easily get them from the ice cream pancakes that your mom loves making and you love binging on so much. 85g of fat? No problem, chocolate has plenty of fat. Protein ? Well meat or chocolate milk, you’ll still get your protein macros for the day.
Keep in mind, though, this approach doesn’t look at the vitamins and minerals in your foods so you will most likely by deficient in a lot of vital nutrients.
For example, getting your vitamin C will keep your immune system strong, helping you go to the gym on those icy-cold days of the year without getting sick and having to spend 1-2 weeks in bed. Not sure about you but I prefer being healthy all year round and not missing workouts.
Next up is vitamin D. If you want to lift that heavy weight you need strong bones which will endure the tension, right? Well, you need your vitamin D for that.
Want stronger muscle contractions to lift even more? You can’t go wrong with potassium! And the best part is… you can find it in potato. Baked potatoes and beef… yum !
How about recovery between sets? Well here comes Iron. If you’re a weightlifter, iron will help boost your recovery between sets, making your requirements for rest – less. Now, how cool is that? You’ll be done with your workout much faster!
I can go on and on but I am afraid the book is going to become too long just to list all the benefits you’ll get. In short, if you don’t care about performance and health – using IIFYM the WRONG way can lead to some serious health problems in the long term. If you want to live longer and maximize your gains – using IIFYM the RIGHT way can lead to great results and long lasting food habits.
Now, in order to lose fat, you need to feed your body less energy than it burns. When you do this, it must get the energy it needs from somewhere, and its “go to source” is its fat stores.
This is an absolutely irrefutable scientific fact. When we’re talking strictly weight loss, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of where it comes from.
You could eat nothing but Doritos and Twinkies every day and lose weight so long as you feed your body less energy than it burns.
Don’t believe me? Well, Professor Mark Haub did just that and lost 27 pounds in 2 months.
The point is clear:
If all you want to do is lose some weight, calculate how many calories you burn every day, eat 20% less than that (keep yourself in what is known as a caloric deficit) and voila, you will lose weight regardless of what you eat to get those calories.
So then, why count macros instead?
Because a calorie is not a calorie when we’re talking body composition.
What I mean is if you want to lose weight while also maintaining as much lean mass as possible, you need to do more than just maintain a caloric deficit.
- You need to ensure you get enough protein every day to preserve muscle.
- You need to ensure you eat enough carbs, which provide your muscles with the glycogen stores needed to maintain training intensity.
- You need to ensure you eat enough healthy fats, which play an important role in hormone synthesis.
This is why counting macros is superior to counting just calories. It allows you to focus on improving body composition, not simply dropping or gaining pounds with a percentage coming from muscle.
Using IIFYM to “Eat Junk and Get Shredded” is Stupid
- When it comes to high-glycemic carbohydrates, we shouldn’t ignore research associating an increased consumption with an increased risk for chronic disease.
- If we eat too much low-quality, processed meat, we may be increasing our risk of cancer.
- The more trans fats(found in many processed foods) we eat, the higher our risk of heart disease, diabetes, infertility, and more.
My point is health matters more than how you look.
Being shredded doesn’t matter if your hormone profile is whacked, your immune system is suppressed, and your body is starving for nutrients.
Don’t be afraid of little indulgences.
So long as the vast majority of your daily calories come from healthy foods full of micronutrients, feel free to include some non-nutritive treats if you so desire.
For instance, if you love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, work some into your numbers for the day. If you’ve been hankering for pizza for a couple of days now, don’t be afraid to make room for a slice or two.
Don’t be afraid to play with your meal timing.
If the foods you like to eat tend to be more calorie dense, an easy way to work them into your macros is to reduce your meal frequency (thus allowing you to increase meal size).
This is totally fine. You should eat on a schedule that best suits your preferences and lifestyle.
You don’t have to eat protein every 2-3 hours to avoid “going catabolic.” Your metabolism won’t slow down if you eat 3 meals per day instead of 7.
The Bottom Line on the IIFYM Diet
The “If It Fits Your Macros” approach to dieting is incredibly liberating.
It’s much more enjoyable to eat foods you like and watch your numbers than following strange, overly restrictive diets that come with long and often confusing lists of prescriptions and proscriptions.
That said, don’t abuse this newfound freedom by replacing any and all “clean” foods with junk counterparts just because you. Remember that your long-term health depends on more than just macronutrient intake.
What do you think about IIFYM?
Have anything else you’d like to add?
Let me know in the comments below!
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