Clean eating has become extremely popular in the past few years, but it can make people a little crazy. Always worrying if what you are eating is ‘clean’ can take its toll, not to mention trying to find ‘clean’ meals to eat when you are out with friends, and social drinking? Forget about it. A piece of your sisters birthday cake? No way, too many refined carbohydrates. It can become extremely taxing when you are constantly worrying about every single thing you put in your mouth.
That’s where IIFYM comes in; otherwise known as ‘if it fits your macros’ or for those of you who are on instagram ‘the crazy people who eat pop tarts and are still lean year round’. This way of eating has helped many people find the balance that most diets lack. Eating the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats will allow you to lose fat, gain muscle or lean out while eating as much as you possibly can (and yes, this includes ‘bad’ foods!). And because these foods are part of your meal plan, you won’t feel like you are ‘cheating’ from your diet.
The IIFYM calculator is a quick and easy way to help you to find the right amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fats for your body and goals. You may need to play around with your macros (protein, carbs and fats) a bit to find the ideal balance for your body, but this gives you the best starting point. Once you know how many grams of each macronutrient you need, you can then eat foods to ‘fit’ your macros. For example, let’s say you have reached the end of the day and you still have 170 calories with 20 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of fat left over, a chocolate bar will fit those macros. Want that dessert after dinner? Instead of the 1/2 avocado you usually have with lunch, have carrots instead. Or what about the peanut butter you have in your morning smoothie? Cut it out and save the fat calories for your dessert. Now this doesn’t mean that you eat bad food all day every day just because it fits your macros. People who follow IIFYM eat clean 80-90% of the time. This way of eating just allows you to eat ‘off limits’ foods without going ‘off your diet’ – all while still reaching your fat loss, muscle building or weight loss goals.
Now, it’s time to calculate your calorie and macro requirements! First off go to the IIFYM calculator and input your information for step 1. For step 2, if you want to lose weight select ‘suggested 15%’, if you want to maintain your current weight select ‘same as TDEE’ and if you want to gain muscle select ‘cautious 5%’. For step 3: select your nutrition plan, select ‘IIFYM (recommended)’. I like to keep the protein at 1gram per lb of body weight and the fat at .40 grams (this works out at around a 40/30/30 split of carbs/protein/fat). You may need to play around with these a bit to find what works best for you, but these are a good starting point. Write down your ‘grams per day’ and recommended calorie intake.
The next step is to track your daily calories and macros. I know, it can be a huge pain in the butt for some people, but it is necessary in order to reach your goals. I highly recommend myfitnesspal for tracking calories and macros; it has a large food database and has an easily accessible app for those of you with smartphones. You will need to change your daily macros in myfitnesspal to match the ones calculated for you, which can be done under the ‘Goals’ tab. First start by tracking your current daily calorie and macronutrient intake (yes this means measuring and weighing your food) over the next few days so you can see exactly what and how much you are currently eating (if you aren’t doing so already). If you find you have been eating more than your recommended calorie intake, then you can start to cut back. If you are someone who has been eating less than your recommended calorie intake and have not been losing weight, then you are most likely suffering from metabolic damage.
How do you adjust your calories to reverse metabolic damage and fix your metabolism? Find out in part 3.
Are you still unsure about IIFYM? Check out Lauren’s post!
If you have any questions about IIFYM, please feel free to email me. I would be glad to help!