Monday, June 22, 2015

IIFYM vs Traditional Dieting



For the past few weeks, you've read about  my utter dislike for diet plans that restrict you from eating certain foods or eliminate certain food groups (...no margaritas...in the summer?!?!?!)

For me, these diets are unrealistic.  I'd last a week or two, eying up all the things I "couldn't have" then finally throw my hands in the air like I just don't care and find myself elbow deep in a bag of oreos.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I'd like to add a disclaimer:

This is all my personal opinion.  

If you are a clean eating, Paleo-loving, white-bread hating, sugar restricting, booze-free person, and are happy with your current diet then you are doing it right for you! I'm simply suggesting another way to get to your goals.  A way that works for me and I feel can work for a huge majority of people.

Ok, back to it.   Most people that follow my instagram account know about this type of eating but I'm hoping to reach some of you, that like I was, are searching for another way...  a way to eat that allows your favorite foods but still lets you meet your goals.  This is IIFYM -- I think you'll be very happy here.

IIFYM or If It Fits Your Macros, is based on science.  If you are a calorie counter, this will be an easy transition, but it is not just about calories in vs calories out.  IIFYM is about counting macros, or macronutrients, namely, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.  If you search the hashtag #iifym on Instagram, you'll see photo after photo of PopTarts, doughnuts, pizza, burgers, sushi, cocktails.....  but don't be fooled into thinking these people are eating these foods all the time.  IIFYM followers are mainly eating healthy, unprocessed food, but indulging in their favorite things, even daily, as long as their macros allow.

So how can you get started?

First, download the MyFitnessPal app and start logging every bite you eat.  After a few days, you'll be able to clearly see how many carbohydrates, proteins and fats you are eating every day.

Next, go to IIFYM.com and calculate your macros.  This is where IIFYM is tailored to your needs.  You will use their IIFYM calculator to plug in your goals and the calculator will spit out what you need to eat in order to meet those goals.  You will be able to choose:

Fat Loss

Muscle Gain

Maintain

My initial goal was to maintain my current weight.  I was looking to build muscle, but in order to do that, I would be eating a surplus of calories.  Traditionally, building muscle requires taking in more calories than you burn, but I was not interested in potentially adding fat since I was a lifting newbie.  I didn't know how hard I would be training or how often, so I took the safe route.  This also limited my ability to gain muscle quickly, so my process has been slow and steady.... but we all know that slow and steady can still win the race.

After you've calculated your macros, start using the MyFitnessPal app to track what you are eating and make adjustments when necessary.  I realized that most (um, all...) of my daily carbs were coming from fruit and oatmeal.   Some days this is fine with me.   Some days I want to drink a bottle of cheap champagne or have pizza.  On these days, when I know I'll be indulging, I throw those foods into my app first thing in the morning and work around what macros I have left for the rest of the day.  

In other words, if I know I'm going to have a burger and some beers at dinner, I'll load them into my app in the morning and be conservative for the rest of the day... egg whites, salads, and baby carrots are a lot easier to get down when you know you're indulging in a few short hours.

I know this is a huge topic and the info I gave you today is just scraping the surface, but I'll be giving more info as the weeks go on.  

I just want to open your eyes to this way of eating.... it has literally changed my life and allowed me to eat foods that I used to see as "bad" or "wrong" and has taken away a lot of the guilt that comes with indulging.  

Do I hit my macros perfectly every day?

Hell no.

But I am extremely satisfied with my diet and working toward my goals at the same time.


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