Before I go to the gym today, I’ve been really wanting to touch up on the subject of IIFYM!
Now, if you haven’t heard of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) its an eating style that allows flexibility within your diet while still letting you reach your goals. That means you can have your cake AND eat it too, while still losing weight!
Say what Sabrina? You sound absolutely ridiculous. WELL MAYBE I DO, BUT IT WORKS BECAUSE SCIENCE.
Now this discovery isn’t brand new, but it is one of the more recent ones. However, I’m not going to get into ALL the details on it. So if you’d like a better intake on it, you have a few options to get more information. I definitely recommend checking these websites out!
Here is a link to my good friend Carrie’s Ebook. She explains why its so much more beneficial than simply counting calories and she gives an explanation on how to understand counting your macros works!—> Click me!
Here is another link to Josie’s journey about how IIFYM changed her bingeing cycles (as it did mine) —> click here
Last, but oh–most definitely not least, here is a video on Dr. Layne Norton (the absolute MAN when it comes to this stuff) on clean eating vs. IIFYM–> click me (its 20 minutes, but worth the watch.)
Anyway, I guess I’ll say this…counting calories is a big part of losing weight. We all know this…calories in vs. calories out makes a big difference in whether you lose weight or not, but cutting to ridiculously low calories is NOT OKAY. I repeat…NOTTTTTT OKAAAAAAY. OKAY!?
When you lower your calories too low, you slow down metabolism and jump into a phase called catabolism. This term means your body is eating and breaking down muscle to get sufficient energy that your body needs. Not okay. If you want a “toned” body, muscle is essential. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to explain this to people. Sure catabolism may seem like the “faster” way to lose weight, but you must understand, if you want a hot bod for life, not just a season, then slow and steady wins the race. Not to mention, this low calorie diet is not maintainable. Therefore, when you decide you’ve reached your goal and go back to eating regularly (whether its healthy or not) that calorie surplus will make your body go “OMG FINALLY. CALORIES. NOMNOMNOM.” And you’ll gain weight just as fast as you lost it. Oh AND let’s not forget, muscle burns more calories then fat…remember that muscle you lost to lose weight? Yeah…it’s not going to save you when you go back to regular eating because no muscle = no calorie burning. Say no to that slow metabolism.
Okay..now that I got that off my chest…where was I?
Oh yesyesyes, IIFYM. Now see, with this way of eating, macros count your calories for you. Each macro nutrient (macro meaning “the big picture”) you’ll be focusing on Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats. These are the “big picture.” Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram; protein contains 4 calories per gram; and fats contain 9 calories per gram.
Take lowfat cottage cheese for example…
Lets do some math…
2.5 grams of fat = 2.5 g x 9 calories = 22.5 total calories of fat
5 grams of carbs = 5 x 4 calories = 20 total calories of carbs
12 grams of protein = 12 x 4 calories = 48 total calories of protein
Now add all the total calorie amounts together and you get: 90.5 calories
Well would you look at that?! 90.5 calories I calculated vs the 90 calories on the nutrition label! High five my wonderful mathematicians…we solved the puzzle!
Now each macro nutrient has a job. Protein provides vital muscle repairment. Carbs supply us with energy. Fats help protect our organs, act as messengers to help protein do its job, and help our bodies break down vitamins so we can use them to our advantage. (They play a big role, that’s why they say low-fat diets are detrimental to the body.)
Because each macro plays important roles, have too many or too little of one thing is not always a good thing for the body. Just as Carrie puts it in her Ebook, you can be eating within your calorie range but if your carb intake is too low, for example, you may start feeling tired and lethargic.
By counting macros you’re not only making sure you calories are within range, but your getting sufficient macros to sustain energy levels, muscle recovery, and healthy functioning insides. :p
Well…so far my coach, Carrie (^^), has been helping use IIFYM to help me both lean out and fix my relationship with food.
Confession time…when I first started working out, I did exactly what I said not to do up there! ^^ I cut my calories to about 1200-1300 a day, did strictly cardio, lost weight (almost 30 pounds to be exact), continued to hate my body and consider myself “fat,” and continued a horrible relationship with food. I restricted myself during the week, gorged on the weekend, and continued this cycle for a little over a year. Even though I lost so much weight, I was not happy with my “progress” or myself.
Having done more research, I learned to burn more calories, and become leaner, I had to lift and eat. To that I said, “WELL HALLELUJAH. THANK THE HEAVENS ABOVE. LETS EAT.” This is when I started lifting and I bumped my calories from the starvation-mode number to about 2000 calories a day….don’t laugh, I was less educated and had no clue what I was doing.
Well, I learned my lesson and became a binge eater. It was a vicious and cruel cycle, but guess what…I gained back those 30 pounds. Of course, I gained some muscle; but inevitably, fat was another factor in those gainz. Eventually I realized I had a problem, so I tried to make a change to IIFYM, but that first try, I was unsure of my numbers, and had a hard time sticking to it. So then I switched to intuitive eating…but I still had a clean eat and binge-during-cheat-meal mindset. That didn’t work. I went back and forth between the two. Then I tried to stick to strict plan of oats and chicken/broccoli/sweet potato and salad diet. Yeah, even though I tried these different ideas, its still hidden under the same concept: clean eat then cheat.
Luckily, Carrie came to the rescue. I was skeptical about the numbers she gave me, but so far things have been going awesomely. I’m making slow progress and even though it’s still a bit hard to allow little cheats in to my diet because of that long-term mindset that got stuck in my mind, science has been proving me wrong. It is still possible to make progress while eating Chipotle and sushi and my daily popcakes and pancakes and syrup and dutch babies and french toast and breakfast sandwiches with cheese! I just plan meals the night before, and my macros are good to go the next day. I know what I’m eating, I have enough to eat, I feel great, and I’m satisfied.
No bingeing has happened here because guess what, there’s no reason to binge! I get what I want, when I want it. It feels amazing to have control over my myself and still enjoy satisfying foods, while reaching my goals!
I truly can’t wait to see what I look like in the next couple of months sticking to this plan…but I’ll update y’all on that later. For now, if you are or were in the same boat as me and want change, I highly recommend you try counting your macros. Yes, it is hard work, but anything worth having is worth working hard for right? There are no shortcuts when reaching your goals, so it wont be easy. If you want it, go out there and earn it!
And that’s exactly what I’m going to do…its arm day baby! TIME TO GO LOAD DEM GUNS! YA FEELS ME >:)