All About the IIFYM Diet

The If It Fits Your Macros diet, or IIFYM for short is all about making sure your diet is staying within your macros – that is, Protein, fat, carbs and sugar. As long as you’re doing that, you can eat whatever you want. Sound to good to be true? In a way, it is, but it also makes a lot of sense.

If done properly, eating a diet that meets your nutritional macro needs is very healthy. This means you’ll be getting the right amount of protein, carbs, fat and sugar – the fabled ‘balanced diet’ that is always talked about. Really, it’s what any diet should be – no fads, no fasting or superfoods, just eating the foods that need to be eaten.

The thing is, you’re not going to be able to eat Ice cream and Burgers everyday (or ice cream burgers, for that matter) if you intend to stay within your macros. Every now and then – sure, but eating them too regularly will see you quickly exceeding the required amounts for macros such as fat and sugar. The advantage lies in the fact that, if you’re disciplined enough, you don’t have to be the sad clown at the dinner party while everyone else is chowing down on traditional ‘non-diet’ foods or even the much maligned carbs. Sure, you can have a parma – but you’re probably not going to be able to eat too many other hefty meals that day. IIFYM gives you the flexibility to still have the foods you really crave in sensible portions – if you do so, you’ll lose weight and stay healthy and happy.

Why it Makes Sense 

IIFYM makes sense when it is done properly. The reason people put on weight is due to an excess of kilojoules or an excess of certain nutrients – like fat. IIFYM keeps you within a healthy eating range for all nutrients. It doesn’t restrict the times you eat or cut out anything from your diet – basically, it’s eating in moderation.

Think of it this way: if in the morning, you have a bacon and egg sandwich and a milkshake for breakfast, you’ve probably already had a fair amount of fat, carbs, sugar and protein. That means you’ve got to make careful decisions for the rest of the day about what you eat if you’re to stay within your macro limits. That’s basically it – eating everything in sensible moderation and not eating unhealthy foods to excess. Simple.

A Traditional Diet

Let’s take a look at a sample ‘clean eating’ diet – you know the kind your friend eagerly tells you about while telling you how unhealthy your diet is.

Meal 1: 8 egg whites, 1 cup of oatmeal.
Meal 2: 6 oz chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice, mixed side salad.
Meal 3: (Pre-Workout) 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1 cup oatmeal.
Meal 4: (Post-Workout) 2 scoops protein/carb recovery drink.
Meal 5: 6oz extra lean beef, green beans, 1 oz mixed nuts.
Meal 6: 6oz salmon fillet, broccoli, 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Meal 7: 1 scoop casein protein powder, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter.

Boring? Maybe not for a day, but night after night of that would surely drive anyone insane, and most people will eat out at some point where it can be harder to stick to a more stringent diet.

A look at IIFYM 

As a sample, hitting the same macros as the above diet, you could eat:

Meal 1: 500g low-fat Greek yogurt with 1 cup of fiber cereal, 1 oz of nuts and an apple.
Meal 2: Lunch at Subway – footlong turkey sub on oat bread, with double meat, cheese and unlimited salad, plus a diet coke.
Meal 3: (post workout) 2 scoops whey protein, small tub of low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Meal 4: Homemade lean beef burgers with 2 slices cheddar, a slice of bacon, avocado and a wholewheat bun, plus a huge mixed salad.

Far more fun, right? And the result is the same.

How to do it

There are many meal tracking apps out the market, and once you get into the habit of using them you’ll find it really easy to track your habits and achieve your goals without sacrificing the joy of eating!