A lot of you have asked me to explain what macros are and why I track them instead of calories or instead of eating clean. I want to go on record that I don’t think I could ever eat clean 100% of the time. I am a junk food and baked goods lover, and I could never give them up!
Let’s get right to it…
If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is not another diet. It is a sustainable way of eating that doesn’t focus on calories in/calories out. Instead it focuses on the macronutrients that make up your food. Protein, Carbs & Fat.
These three macro amounts are different for everyone and can change frequently based on activity, body type, current weight, and goals. My macros are totally unique from everyone else because my body is unique. My coach helps me set the proper macros to reach my goals. My current goal is my October 18 competition. Pretend I had 140 grams of protein, 125 grams of carbs, and 45 grams of fats, I can eat anything I want as long as the macros fit in those numbers. Say I am craving a candy bar, or ice cream, pop tart, swiss cake roll, or lots of cheez-its. I make sure they fit my macros and then I eat them. Happily. I don’t feel restricted. I don’t feel like I am starving myself. I get to make my food choices everyday based on what I want to eat, not what I have to eat..
I have seen significant changes in my body over the past few months and even more so in the last 7 weeks since I have been consistently training for the competition.
There are a lot of ways to eat, ‘diets’ if you will. Some of the more popular ones right now are eating clean and paleo. Neither one of these appeals to me in the slightest. For one, on both of these ‘diets’ you have to give up anything with chemicals, additives and with paleo I know you have to give up dairy. Thank you very much, but no. Not going to happen. I will never feel like this…
A lot of the clean eaters and paleo eaters think IIFYM is a joke, an excuse to eat whatever the hell you want. There are people that abuse IIFYM, of course, but the fact is you should focus on healthy eating and also feel free to treat yourself to the snacks you want, as long as it fits!
I know with restrictive diets, I have issues with binging. I have been a binge eater for a long time in my adult life. I know that IIFYM has helped greatly with this because I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.
Bodybuilders come in all shapes and sizes and with all types of diets that got them there. I have seen diet plans that literally require you to have chicken and broccoli (or asparagus) at EVERY SINGLE MEAL. Seriously, every meal. Wouldn’t you want to die one day into this?
And yes, when pizza does fit, I eat the crap out of it.
Now, macro trackers aren’t part of a club that makes you sit at another table at lunch. We can still be friends. But you better be ready for us to have any food we want, even in front of you eating your chicken and asparagus.
One of the things that may dissuade people from trying out IIFYM is that you have to be diligent and accurate with your tracking. You have to weight the majority of your food to make sure you are getting the right amount. There are a lot of things that we just assume are exactly what the package says. There are items that I measure out as the package states – 40 pieces is this many macros – when in reality, I weigh the 40 pieces and find that it may be over or under the macros that 40 pieces would provide. The nutritional info on the package is correct, but not exact as you need it to be in IIFYM.
I won’t lie, there are days where I eat some really weird things to hit my numbers for the day. This is generally why I try and plan my day the night before. I pack all of my meals and snacks with me for work and I know what I am eating that day. Sure, things change, and then I am back to calculating my macros.
I do think of food differently now. Instead of calories I always want to know the macros for an item. Macronutrients make up the calories in an item, so each day I am generally eating the same amount of calories, give or take. There are days where I make mistakes and don’t hit my macros. I am human, it’s going to happen. But once you get the hang of it and learn the foods you can squeeze in here and there to hit your numbers, it makes all the difference in planning out your day.
Naturally there are a lot of websites about IIFYM.
I learned a lot from my coach, Ashley Leahy. If you want to contact her you can visit her site at grithealth.com.
Here are two of the more popular websites: IIFYM.com, and MacroFit.
I hope this helped to understand more about how I count macros and why. Let me know if you have any questions!
I am not a pro at this and I am still learning a lot.