• IIFYM = If It Fits Your Macros.
  • IIFYM is also known as “flexible dieting.”
  • Macros = Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats.
  • IIFYM is a hot topic issue.

Note: IIFYM stands for “If It Fits Your Macros” but sometimes it’s referred to as “flexible dieting.” It’s an alternative way of dieting where, rather than having a set meal plan, you track your total intake of carbohydrates, protein, fats & fiber. There is a lot of debate in the fitness world about whether or not this method is effective. Watch this video for more information: 

I can not begin to count the number of people I’ve heard say, “IIFYM-ers have no discipline. You’re stupid if you think cheeseburgers and Pop Tarts are going to get you anywhere. You have to eat 6 meals a day of brown rice, broccoli and bland boiled chicken.” But do I blame them for their negative perception of mainstream IIFYM? Not entirely, no.

The interwebz is smattered with articles written by self-indulgent 18 year-old novice lifters who’ve scrolled through the #IIFYM hashtag on Instagram and claim to be half-natty (whatever that means). They tell you, “Eat whatever you want if it fits your macros!” and if you so much as mention micronutrients other than fiber, you’re immediately shot down. “How dare you come between me and my cake? Can’t you see that I’m dropping weight?”

How am I any different? Well, I certainly don’t have a PhD in Nutrition. I’m just a regular girl who’s been lifting for five years and has done one bikini competition. But I have been tracking my macros more-or-less consistently for the past two years now. I’ve evolved a lot and I’ve learned from my mistakes. I can’t tell you what’s right and wrong and I’m not trying to convince anybody to switch. I can only share my experiences through the mistakes I’ve made. And so I’m speaking up in favor of the thousands who track their macros without eating Pop Tarts and cheeseburgers all day.

campus elite, the campus elite, college success, college fitness, college fit, college workout, freshman 15, college health, college diet“As Long As You Get Enough Fiber, What You Eat Doesn’t Matter

This is the main premise of what most people think IIFYM is. So when I first started tracking my macros I went out and bought some chocolate Fiber One bars, high-fiber cereal, whole-wheat wraps, etc. Whatever it took to avoid eating veggies and most of my carb-intake consisted of treats. Turns out, I was missing out on a whole gamut of vitamins and minerals. Processed foods are not the devil but they can never replace whole foods in your diet.

Micronutrients Matter!

You don’t put diesel in a Ferrari. I learned this the hard way. What happens when you’re eating 65g of fat a day without keeping your saturated fats in check? If you love cheese as much as I love cheese, you’ll get fat like I got fat. (Yes, I even put cheese on my broccoli). I used to feel nauseous during my workouts even though I’d eaten two hours before. I had to be told to slow down and that I should be eating more MUFA and PUFA. Within a couple of days of making a switch, I was feeling good again and my strength was back.

Similarly, while studying for the LSAT, my breakfast every single morning was a wonderful tryptophan-overload of oats, bananas and almonds. (Tryptophan helps improve brain concentration levels). I probably could have gotten my carbs, fats and fiber from another source but in this case, the micronutrients are what made all the difference.

Are You Saying I Have To Eat Food I Don’t Like?

No! Trust me, I grew up hating vegetables. There has to be something you enjoy. If I can find something that I like, so can you! This is where IIFYM is your friend. Don’t like chicken? That’s fine, eat salmon, or tuna, or beef, or whatever fits your macros! There’s absolutely no reason to dislike the food you’re eating, whether it’s “bro” food or not. All it takes is a little bit of creativity on your part. But you can do it, I believe in you!

So Where’s The Fun Stuff?

campus elite, the campus elite, college success, college fitness, college fit, college workout, freshman 15, college health, college dietThis is the part where traditional dieting and IIFYM diverge and the two sides can’t seem to agree. However, several factors affect whether you can have “fun stuff” and how much of it you can eat. Your goals, current and future make a big difference. If you’re dieting and have only 150g of carbs a day to spare, there’s not much room for a bowl of chocolaty cereal.

Your metabolism also factors in. When I came off my pre-contest diet my body could only handle 120g of carbs a day, whereas now I’m able to eat around 200g and maintain weight. Conversely, my petite best friend can scarf down a huge stack of Nutella-oatmeal pancakes for breakfast and still lose weight because she has the metabolism of a moderately muscular man. She eats copious amounts of fruits and vegetables. But at 300g of carbs a day, her only way to eat enough carbs without eating too much fiber is to add some processed food to her diet. And boy, does she enjoy it but without compromising her health.

Straddling The Fence: Where Happiness And Progress Meet

 So there is a wonderful middle ground between these two camps where you can enjoy what you’re eating and still make progress! Well-qualified coaches have held this position for a long time. In fact, if you poke around the internet you’ll find that IIFYM came into existence as a response to forum questions such as, “Should I eat 5 oz. of tuna instead of 4 oz. of chicken?” “Yes, if it fits your macros.”

IIFYM is a tool that, if used properly, can help you reach your goals, stave off the desire to binge and aid with long-term adherence. Taking all these factors into consideration, make sure you eat healthy “bro” food but don’t forget to

campus elite, the campus elite, college success, college fitness, college fit, college workout, freshman 15, college health, college diet