A little History on IIFYM
At some point or another you have most likely heard of the term “If It Fits Your Macros”, which from what I was recalled during a lecture was coined by message board moderators from BodyBuilding.com in response to the repetitive and redundant questions about eating habits people had about what they can and can not eat when they are either lifting for power, strength, and cutting. So they coined the term “IIFIYM” for “If It Fits In Your Macros”, as a tongue in cheek way to cut back the constant message board chatter and make it simple.
Nowadays the IIFYM has become a worldwide movement, which some people take into excess, by taking it as a way for them to eat junk foods, that wouldn’t necessarily be considered good for a diet plan. And to many people it’s a dream to be able to eat foods like cake and ice cream yet still have it a part of their “diet plan”.
As someone who has tried rigid diet plans from Paleo, to the South beach diet, the Atkins diet, Keto, and even “Eat Right for Your Blood Type”, I saw IIFYM as more of a blessing because I could eat foods that fit my macros, and was not restricted to “Good” and “Bad” foods. And there was more of a flexibility with it that allowed me to not feel guilty of the foods I eat, just as long as it fit my macros.
So let me digress… to progress…
Macros in short are macronutrients of a healthy diet.
And when I say diet, I mean eating habits.
And those macronutrients (Macros) are Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat.
Proteins help build and sustain muscle tissue, Carbohydrates are used to power and energize our bodies, while Fats carry and metabolize vitamins and other micronutrients.
So when you are on a low carb diet like the Atkins and keto diet, you can see those people are usually less energized and more lethargic, because their body is under stress of going through ketosis, where their bodies are trying to convert stored fats into energy. While in contrast if you are on a high carb diet, and your body is not doing adequate amounts of physical activity; your body converts excess carbs into fat stores. But this conversion of excess nutrients most happens when there is an excess amount of calories that are being taken in.
So for fat loss to occur, one needs to eat less calories than they are naturally burning throughout the day.
This is called a caloric deficit.
Here’s where it gets a bit technical for most people, but I’ll do my best to make it easy to understand.
Here’s a picture to help understand.
There are a number of calculators out there that can help you calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Pictured above.
Your TDEE is firstly made of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of calories that your body naturally burns to sustain itself for natural bodily functions. This is generally 60%-70% of the amount of calories we burn. If your calorie intake is below this, can result in weakness and loss of strength, lethargy, and bad moods, because your body is straining to keep itself going, and when you eat, your body will want to immediately convert most of the calories it’s getting into fat stores as a matter of self preservation.
But we generally do more in a day instead of just laying in bed all day, which would cause atrophy and muscle deterioration, but that’s another topic.
One then needs to calculate their Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which is the amount of calories we burn through the day when we are working and typing, walking, and fidgeting. These activities generally burn approximately 15%-50% of our total amount of calories in a day. So if you’re highly active in walking, fidgeting and tapping and constantly in motion, you burn more calories. But keep in mind, the longer you go on eating less, the less you become active because of the caloric deficit, which generally drops the rate of your NEAT.
We then have Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT), which is exactly what it sounds like; the amount of calories you burn while you’re exercising. And this consists of approximately 15%-30% of the calories a person burns. So, this is why you see athletes eat loads of food. This is because the amount and frequency that they train; their bodies are constantly needing that intake of calories to help their performance.
And that leaves us the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), and that is the amount of calories you burn when you are digesting food. Yes, you burn calories while you’re eating; but it just accounts for about 8%-15% of what you burn.
All these numbers added up make up your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE); which is, you guessed it the total amount of calories you burn in a day with everything you do.
Getting back to the point of me talking about IIFYM, you need to be in constant monitoring of your caloric intake, and the changes your body is going through, so having that flexibility to eat what your body is needing is such a great thing.
BUT REMEMBER it does not grant full access to eating junk food. Just infrequently and not in excess.
So in conclusion, there is no such thing as a good diet plan to be on. Each kind of diet has its attributes that are both good and bad, while your discipline to adhere to a single one is the main thing that will shine. But for general weight loss, find your TDEE and slowly cut back the calorie intake. I’ve done it, and I know all of you can as well.
And if you are questioning where most of my information is coming from for this more science backed information. Feel free to read the ISSN Stance on IIFYM
If you want more information on how I can help you. Please email me or call me. I am here to help.