IIFYM? What could that possibly stand for? I still don't understand how or why they came up with this acronym but it stands for "If It Fits Your Macros". "Macros" is short for Macronutrients which are types of foods that are required in large amounts in the human diet (fat, protein, and carbohydrates). As opposed to micronutrients, which are only required in small amounts for normal growth and development of humans (vitamins & minerals). In the fitness world, you'll hear the word "macros" in just about every other sentence because it is crucial when it comes to crushing your fitness goals.
So back to IIFYM, which some call "flexible dieting". With IIFYM, you are designated with a specific number of grams of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, that will help you reach your goal based on your age, height, weight, etc. How do you find this out? There are many macro calculators online you can find. This is the one I used: http://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/. You will input your age, height, weight, normal daily activity level, exercise, and finally your goals (fat loss, muscle gain, maintain weight), and it will spit out the correct number of macronutrients your body needs. Let me warn you before you start considering this lifestyle: you will need to purchase a scale, and you will need to log your foods-all of them.
Before I continue, I understand what a lot of you might be thinking. "How am I supposed to track every single food I eat?" "That's way too much effort, I'll pass", "What kind of lifestyle involves logging what you eat?" I get it, I thought the same exact way too. I could even see myself publishing a post about how "self-love doesn't involve tracking every bit of what you eat." But that was before I tried this lifestyle and fell in love with how my body reacted. Just tryna' be real with you guys.
Anyyyyways, once you figure out your macros, you will need an app to track them. MyFitnessPal has always been one of my favorites; however, I wanted to switch it up since MFP isn't very into macros as much it is into calories. I purchased the app "My Macros+" on iTunes for I think $1.00 and it is so worth it- but MyFitnessPal works great too (and is free). In this app you will manually input your macro totals you got from the website and the rest will be done for you. This app has a database of over 10,000 foods to choose from just like MyFitnessPal. It also has a barcode scanner to scan the food item and it goes right into your food log for the day. Easy enough! The reason why you will need a scale is because a lot of the measurements on MyMacros is in grams, which I actually prefer. It's hard measuring a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (b/c mine always ends up overflowing anyways which ends up being 3/4 cup), so measuring it in grams will get you a more precise measurement. Your macros that you have left for the day will show up at the top of the screen which is convenient when picking out your late night snack.
So this sounds a lot like just tracking your calories for the day right? wrong. Let me go into more detail about why counting your macros is the way to go.
You get to treat yourself more- Sure, grilled chicken breast, egg whites, brown rice, and oatmeal will get you to accomplish your goals but let's be honest, that gets pretty old after about 12 hours. With tracking your macros, you can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits your macros. Want to have a normal bagel with cream cheese in the morning? As long as you log it, it's all good. Know you're going to indulge in birthday cake the next morning in honor of your bff's bday? Put it in your macro calculator the morning of, and adjust your carbohydrates throughout the day to make it fit in your macros.
You realize what you're getting too much of and not enough of- I won't lie, I used to be terrified of carbs. I mean carbs are the enemy, right? Again, wrong. When I started counting my macros, I realized how much I was underestimating my carbohydrate content and overestimating my protein intake. However, many people will find out that they are getting way too many carbohydrates and not enough protein; it depends on your current lifestyle. With calculating your macros you will find the answer to why your weight has been so stubborn throughout your "clean" eating and workout efforts.
You feel more in control- "Winging it" in the healthy lifestyle department usually never ends well, at least with me. I understand the whole "eat until you're full" and "listen to your body's hunger cues", but let's be real, we're always hungry. I mean I hope I'm not the only one when I say I can always eat, no matter what the time of day. Counting my macros has allowed me to not binge because I know how much my body needs in order to reach my goals.
It takes a while to get used it, but it is well worth it- Sure it takes an extra 5 minutes out of your day every time you log your food after you eat but would you sacrifice that to reach your goals? I would. Call me crazy but I find satisfaction in knowing exactly what's going into my body.
All-in-all, this may be a lifestyle I carry on for years, or it may fizzle out in a few months. Either way- I have finally figured out the proper amounts of each macronutrient I need to reach my goals, and I hope you do too!
Typically not the biggest fan of progress pics unless they're for my own use, but here is the new and improved, macro-counting, carb-loving, non-bloating me! Macro counting has made me feel much stronger, and more in control.
Make sure to follow my Instagram @fitnotskinnny (3 n's) for daily FNS posts!
Also feel free to send any questions you may have to my email (forum below)! I'd love to answer any questions regarding IIFYM or anything else!
Have a FNS 4th of July weekend and who knows, maybe I'll have some healthy tips/recipes to offer for the weekend tomorrow ;)