And I mean a big BUT! Why? Because people often present this style of eating as a race to fit the most crap into their diet. If it fits your macros shouldn’t be about trying to fit the most amount of protein bars, ice cream, pizza, pop tarts, doughnuts and less nutritious food. We often see this approach on social media. I have to tell you that it’s not the right way of doing this way of eating, and it’s not what IIFYM was originally intended for.
This concept is alive forever, but wasn’t this popular. In 1979, Mike Mentzer was preparing for his shows and eating ice cream.
My favourite gurus Alan Aragon and Lyle McDonald are the grandfathers of this concept. Lyle has written a very popular book about flexible dieting which I highly recommend. In 2009 on a forum, Alan was always asked the question: “Can I have a peanut butter while cutting? Can I have banana while cutting?” He always replied: “Yes, have it IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS”. Someone then took this answer and shortened it to IIFYM, which is now very popular, though misunderstood.
OK, I have been there. I was scrolling down Instagram and wondering how can these chicks fit all those sweets into their diet while cutting, and eat that many pop tarts. At some point, I was filling my macros with protein bars and then eating salad with chicken. I was pulling faces as I was hungry. It got to the stage that in order to stay in caloric deficit, I dismissed the importance of micronutrients. Yep, I was a silly head. And it’s because of social media and my greediness too. But guess what! I felt like crap. Total crap.
What do I do now? I prefer to eat mainly non-processed foods. Why? Because I function better on foods like that, I perform better, I feel better and I understand the importance of the right nutrition. I was wrong, and it taught me a lesson. I still have my beloved Reeses or something that my heart desires sometimes. I eat like this because this is what I choose to follow, and I love tracking my macros, but I don’t do it obsessively and carry the scale with me to restaurants and when socializing. I guesstimate macros, and still stay in caloric deficit. I love tracking my macros because it gave me a freedom. Thanks to them I achieved the body that I dreamt about for a decade. Not everyone needs to count macros, but I advise you to do so at least for a week or two to see where you are at if you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle.
I do understand that this approach can get a bit obsessive or it can get out of the hand so you only fill your macros with sweets. I have been there, and as I have mentioned I felt like crap. For me, health is more important, and balance too. So when I crave chocolate, I have it. When I fancy a drink, I have it without feeling guilty or trying to shove the whole box of sweets down my throat.
The take home message? Eat your vegetables, eat your fruits, eat your protein. And if your daily nutrition is 80-90% unprocessed, go on then chick and have that chocolate bar. Of course, only if you crave it and if it fits.
In flexible dieting nothing is off limit, but everything has got limits.