Read this for everything you need to know about If It Fits Your Macros. I even threw in the calculator.
If it fits your macros is a method of tracking protein, carbs, and fat to achieve your fitness goals. It's commonly referred to as flexible dieting, IIFYM, and macro counting.
Macronutrients are the only things we consume that give our bodies energy. Therefore, macronutrients are the only things we consume, besides alcohol, that contains calories. What makes If It Fits Your Macros a flexible diet is that there are no food exclusions. You do not have to give up your favorite foods or guilty pleasures to be successful at flexible dieting. This is because IIFYM is simply a set of parameters that you eat within. The parameters are determined by your fitness goals. For example, a goal of gaining muscle will have one set of protein, carbs, and fat intake goals, while a goal of losing fat will have a different set.
Traditional diets typically call for you to cut out many types of foods. This is especially true for traditional bodybuilding diets that only allowed for boiled chicken, sweet potato and broccoli. I don't knock those traditional diets, because they work for many people. However I found sustainable success when I stopped depriving myself of my favorite foods in the name of dieting. Instead I enhanced my diet by adding more micronutrient dense foods like fruits and veggies. I then learned how much I could eat of my normal diet, in order to achieve my goal of losing body fat. If it fits your macros is about moderation, not deprivation.
What happens when you go on a diet and cut out your favorite foods? Those foods become all you think about. You crave them. When those feelings take over you’re in the danger zone of binging and gaining back the weight you lost. This is why I said flexible dieting was the only way I could sustain my progress. A diet should not be torture. Don’t get me wrong, dieting is never the most fun activity, but you shouldn’t feel crippled by it. So instead of cutting out burgers, figure out how to make them fit your macros. I typically and easily do this by making my meals myself. This gives me the ability to eat the foods I love while knowing exactly what’s in them, thus fitting them into my macros. Burgers are my vice. I love burgers. I could eat burgers every single day. I will eat burgers in a house, I will eat burgers after a mouse, I will eat burgers here or there, I will eat burgers anywhere. Burgers turn me into Dr. Seuss.
I take my macro goal for the day, and knowing that’s the meal I’m looking forward to most, I plan my macros around it. After reading nutrition labels and doing some quick math, I know I can totally have a cheeseburger and baked sweet potato fries for dinner. Cravings crisis totally averted. You may be thinking you prefer to go out for your burgers. So do I, however, there’s no real accurate way of tracking meals you don’t prepare yourself. There are just too many variables unaccounted for. What oil was the meat cooked in? Exactly how much meat is this? What type of cheese? How much cheese? The beauty of flexible dieting is that you can eat at your favorite burger spot without a care because cheat meals are allowed. The frequency of your cheat meals depends on your goal. If you’re trying to lose body fat, typically you’ll have one cheat meal per week. If you’re trying to gain muscle, you can easily up that to two.
How To Get Started With If It Fits Your Macros
Step no. 1: Calculate Your Macros
Step no. 2: Download A Calorie Tracker
A good calorie tracker is your best tool for counting macros. My personal preference is MyFitnesPal because of its extensive food library. A good calorie tracker is a must, but you won't accurately know what to enter without a food scale.
Step no. 3: Buy A Food Scale
Buy a good food scale, because counting macros requires knowing "how much" of something you are eating. I use this Ozeri scale that I bought off Amazon. It is accurate, a good price, and looks good in my kitchen. → Ozeri Digital Food Scale
Step no. 4: Start Tracking
Practice really makes perfect with an IIFYM diet plan. I've been using IIFYM for years and so now it's just second nature for me. Remember counting macros is not about deprivation, it's about moderation.
So there you have it! You now know what If It Fits Your Macros or Flexible Dieting is, you know how to get started. You've taken the pop quiz and passed. You're basically an expert now. Go forth and conquer! Share this post with your friends, because sharing is caring.