I sat next to a woman at a brunch spot in San Francisco over the weekend and overheard her talking about her breakfast — as I stuffed my face with crepes and eggs Benedict, I glanced at her (distinctly more balanced) plate of pancakes, a huge pile of egg whites, and a latte. We ended up chatting about our food and our diets, and she introduced a concept that was totally new to me: IIFYM. The meaning? "If It Fits Your Macros."
Because I love the concept of counting macros (and ensuring you're getting the right kind of calories), I needed to know more. After a brief chat, I dove into some research — here's what you need to know.
Essentially, the IIFYM diet allows you to eat whatever you want, so long as it fits your macronutrient proportions. But let's take a moment to define macoronutrients: they are fat, protein, carbohydrates — the major nutrients that make up the human diet. You have to first figure out what your macro proportions are, based on your height, weight, activity level, and goals — like losing fat or gaining muscle. From there, you can input your food into an app — the woman I spoke to was using MyFitnessPal. She mentioned that through this counting and the app, it was easy for her to indulge in things like pancakes but still stay on target for her goals.
In theory, this sounds incredible: eat whatever you want, without gaining weight. There is a catch, though. The type of food you consume will still affect how you feel. Are you going to feel awesome getting your macros from a diet entirely consisting of pizza? Probably not. The idea isn't to incessantly indulge, but rather to give you the power to create a sustainable, enjoyable diet while making progress toward your fitness or weight-loss goals.
This is a totally different concept from clean eating or an elimination diet, in which you'd cut out groups entirely. There is zero elimination in IIFYM, but the focus is on portions. Because you have limits on the amount of fat, carbohydrates, and protein you can consume, you're generally set up for success.
Keep in mind that there's more to health and fitness than a certain weight and size — how you feel is equally if not more important. Eating tons of fatty, fried foods isn't awesome for your heart or your arteries, and can increase your risk of disease. On that note, focusing on wholesome, nutritious foods should still be a priority in order to cover all other aspects of your health besides weight loss.
What do you think of the IIFYM diet? Does it fit your needs? Personally, any diet that allows pizza and doesn't associate guilt with foods gets an A+ in my book, but like we always say — it's all about balance.
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