IIFYM is a popular term that is flashed around social media which means if it fits your macros, so the foods you eat throughout the day will hit your daily macro goals whether it’s eating for fat loss, maintenance or a surplus for muscle gain. Ok, but many of you might be thinking “but what the hell is a macro?”
What are macros?
To put is quite simply, macros are macronutrients which consist of protein, fats and carbohydrates. All foods contain them in variable amounts, even processed junk contains macros (which I will talk about further down the page). In a nutshell these macros all serve a purpose in your nutritional needs.
Proteins: which are the building blocks for cell growth and repair have a high thermogenic effect when consumed, meaning your body has to burn a little extra to digest and breakdown this macro, which is one of the reasons why many fat loss diets incorporate a medium to high amount of protein. Great sources include, chicken, fish, turkey, whey, pea protein powder and tofu (soy).
Fats: are needed in everyone’s diet, they are responsible for hormone function as well as supporting cells to function optimally. They can be categorised as saturated and unsaturated and can be come in different variables such as poly-saturates, mono-saturates and hydrogenated (Trans fats), the latter you want to stay clear of.
Carbohydrates or “carbs:” veggies, wholegrains, sugary foods and fruit are all classed as carbohydrates, they all do different jobs at different rates in order to provide you with energy and fibre.
Why do people adopt this method of IIFYM?
One of the main reasons why many people adopt this way of eating is too avoid restrictive meal plans that might lead to a restrict-binge cycle. IIFYM adds more flexibility for food choice and people get to incorporate foods they enjoy, for example the odd piece of chocolate or crisps, whilst reaching their goals.
However, there are a few key things to consider!
IIFYM doesn’t mean if it fits your mouth. Of course it is a great method to add flexibility in your diet and to add a few treats here and there to keep you sane, but you must base most of your macros around nutritious dense foods. Trying to squeeze in as much processed junk food as possible in order to hit your macros will be neglecting other nutritional factors such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Not only that, but you could also be overconsuming too much sugar which has been linked to many inflammatory conditions.
Also, this method works well if you are tracking your macros carefully, normally with a food tracker like My FitnessPal. If you do too much estimating then you might be overconsuming foods that will put your ratio and macro goals way off track.
Who can use this method?
If you have struggled with staying on track with structured meal plans or find that they trigger binges through being so restrictive then this may be an approach for you, especially if you do track your food carefully into a food tracker App.
Furthermore, no matter what diet you follow: vegan, high carb, low fat or keto anyone can use this principle, it is just that the daily macro goals will be at different ratios according to the individual. However, the ratio of protein, fats and carbohydrates depend on what the person wants to achieve. Working this ratio out, of how much of each macro you need daily in order to reach your particular goal can take time so professional input by a personal trainer or someone who is qualified in nutrition is recommended.