If you want to have your cake and eat it too, or rather, eat cake and still lose weight, this diet may be for you.
The If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) Diet, started by bodybuilders who wanted to reach their desired physique without giving up their favorite foods, has been a rising trend for the average health nut looking to shed pounds without giving up their favorite foods.
How does it work? IIFYM focuses on an individual’s intake of macronutrients, or “macros,” (protein, carbs, and fats) while staying within each person’s recommended calorie intake. IIFYM does not focus on how many meals eaten per day, or even the food eaten. IIFYM dieters focus solely on nutrients—whether they come from a burger, slice of pizza, or grilled chicken breast.
“This way of thinking … has become a lot more popular because … nine out of ten times, [fad] diets don’t last long enough [to work],” said Todd Elliott, a personal trainer and owner of Bod by Todd in Orlando, Florida. “The macro nutrient diet is so much easier to maintain than a quick fix,” Elliot, a former body builder, noted.
A lot of us have weight loss goals but the most people aren’t able to stay on track long enough to see results. In fact, research shows that only eight percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals. If you think the IIFYM diet sounds like the key to your diet success, give it a try! Here’s what you need to know before you start:
Keep Yourself Honest
Personalize IIFYM for you. To find out the amount of macros your body needs, calculate how many calories you burn on an average day and eat 10-20 percent less calories than that number. Divide up the calories your body needs between lean proteins, vegetables in a variety of color, whole grains and healthy fats. “Your body will get lean. It’s that simple,” Elliott said. Have super specific goals? Learn which nutrient ratio is right for you with this handy calculator and write it down in a journal. Record everything you eat to keep yourself accountable and ensure you’re staying on track. This will keep you honest and help motivate you to reach your goals.
Remember that nutrition is only 90 percent of the battle—staying active is also important. Elliott recommends three hours a week of exercise. “Don’t cop out,” he said, no matter the weather, time constraints, or any other excuse.
Cheat a Little
IIFYM allows you to eat what you want, but if you want to see results you have to have self-control. The most important aspect of losing weight is stabilizing your blood sugar, but that does not mean you can’t have that slice of cake. Elliott says its okay to indulge as long as it’s in moderation. When the meal is over, let it be over and don’t go for seconds.
If we change the way we think about dieting then IIFYM has the makings of a fad that won’t fizzle out throughout the New Year.