IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros
‘Macro’ is short for Macro Nutrient, of which there are four plus one consideration*:
- Alcohol (not much nutrition from this one, just calories)
*Fiber is the consideration that we mentioned above. It is one of the components of the carbohydrate macro nutrient, though many in the nutrition community consider it a micro nutrient. For our purposes, fiber intake should be a major consideration when dieting, therefore we include it in with the other macros.
IIFYM speaks specifically to fat loss from a macro nutrition and thus a caloric stand point and is purely a means to improve body composition. IIFYM does not address health concerns of the heart, brain or other organs and does not put an emphasis on so called ‘healthy eating’.
Regardless if you like to eat pizza, or boiled chicken breasts, IIFYM teaches us that if you eat less calories than your body requires (while getting adequate protein, carbs, fat and fiber based on your goals and the energy needs of your body) you will lose weight at a steady and predictable rate. IIFYM makes fat loss that easy.All you have to do is stay within your daily macros and the fat will start melting off!
The Origins of IIFYM
IIFYM was haphazardly started by a few competitive bodybuilders that grew tired of eating bland and boring food when dieting for a bodybuilding contest. The so called “bro” or “clean” foods. The traditional bodybuilders diet is very plain, very tasteless and usually reduced to a handful of simple options:
- Chicken & turkey breast
- White fish (grilled)
- Steamed vegetables
- Brown rice
- Rice cakes
- Oats or plain oatmeal
- Protein Shakes
- Egg whites
These are commonly referred to as ‘clean’ foods, and there are tons of them out there, all, equally flavorless and mundane. I am sure you can see how eating these things day after day, week after week for months on end would get extremely boring (part of the reason many people quit their diet or give up on their weight loss goals entirely). Sure, the traditional bodybuilders diet has been getting athletes shredded for years, but it has also been making bodybuilders miserable for just as long. Thanks God for IIFYM!!The athletes that came up with the IIFYM method of dieting did so for that exact reason. They were tired of eating the same tasteless things when dieting for a show.
They were sick of cutting out the food they enjoyed; the so called ‘dirty foods’.
An example of dirty foods, would be exactly what you are thinking right now. All the foods we love to eat and are told to avoid:
- Fast food
- Fried chicken
- French fries
- Buffalo Wings
- Pop Tarts
All the good stuff that would surely wreck your diet if you even so much as thought about eating them. (or would they?!?!)
The IIFYM Connection
When most people start dieting the first thing they think is that they have to ‘clean up’ their diet. Perhaps they think that they need to start eating healthy or start eating ‘health food’ to lose weight. After all, we as a society have been brain washed for years about what is healthy, unhealthy, fattening, toning, good, bad and everything in between.
Not so says IIFYM!
Eating clean, healthy food can certainly help you lose weight and burn fat, but there is no magical connection between ‘health food’ and weight loss.
The fat loss details are in the calories. Yup, calories. Something we all know about, but avoid like the plague.What I am about to say is bound to upset a lot of people. Most of the so called nutritionist out there are more misguided than the clients they lead in to ignorant metabolism damage. Here goes:
Eating clean accidentally causes fat loss. Kind of like how dropping a nuclear bomb on an island to kill an infestation of rats accidentally kills everything it touches.
Here is why eating clean burns fat, by accident
When we clean up our diets and pay no attention to calories, we automatically reduce our calorie intake. Removing sauces, and sweets and fried food, reduces calories due to simple math. There is not way around it. How many calories? Who knows. But less calories, certainly. The problem is that too big of a drop can cause metabolism suppression or at a minimum reduce metabolic capacity, which makes steady and long term fat loss much more difficult, and in some severe cases, nearly impossible.Since our daily calorie intake accounts for the majority of what our bodies look like, it only makes sense that when we eat clean, we lose weight. Eating clean however is not the answer to fat loss, but is simply a trick or technique that helps those who don’t count calories or macros, to lower them. The biggest problem when we eat clean and have no idea how many calories we are actually ingesting (let alone how many our body requires) we end up starving ourselves, and line up our metabolism for a bounce back that is sure to have us putting on extra lbs. soon as we start eating “normal” again. And let’s face it, eating normal usually comes a lot sooner than we expect when eating nothing but boring diet foods.
Part of the problem is that people, for whatever reason, think that in order to lose weight we have to starve our selves. You hear the diet scam people saying it all the time to discredit calorie counting, and sell you an item or a diet plan. After all, if they can tell you that counting calories automatically equates to starvation, they have almost nearly convinced you to buy whatever scam they are selling.
Most people, whether they are athletes or couch potatoes know that the more you eat, the fatter you get. How can anyone deny this simple logic?
And in that same line of thinking, the more ‘crap’ you eat, the faster you get fat as well. The truth of IIFYM lies right in the middle of those two statements. MORE!!!
Moving away from rabbit food
IIFYM teaches us that these so called ‘dirty’ foods are ok to eat as long as we stay within our own required calorie intake for the day.
What bodybuilders have known for years is that everyone is different. We all have different bodies, different metabolisms, different muscle mass and a hundred other things that set us apart from everyone else on this planet. This is where IIFYM shines. Rather than telling your how many calories you need based on your gender or even based on your weight loss goals, it looks at every person individually and tells them, with a made up stat of 95% certainty how many calories to eat.
IIFYM doesn’t care if you eat pizza, or chicken breast.
IIFYM doesn’t shame you if you chose ice cream over oatmeal.
Nor does IIFYM care how often you eat, or how many meals you eat in a day.
Eat the foods you love, stay within your own personal macro nutrient range and burn fat without the pain that most people associate with dieting!
Notice I did not say “starve your self, and enjoy one slice of pizza per day”. This is because IIFYM is based on Science. Not on voodoo. a 15% reduction in calories is all that is needed to make your body a fat burning furnace.
That is the basic idea behind IIFYM
There is more to it but it really is quite simple:
1. Know how many calories your body burns in an average day (your TDEE)
2. Eat 10-20% less calories every day than that number
3. Split those calories up between fat, protein and carbohydrates (with adequate fiber and water intake) in an specific way that preserves muscle and encourages fat loss, without a drop in daily energy.
For more details on how to get started with IIFYM, browse the other articles on this site and check out our proprietary Macro Calculator by then end of this hour, you can be on your way to eating foods you love, and burning fat while you do it!