What is IIFYM?
IIFYM is nothing but “If It Fits Your Macros”. It is a method involving flexible dieting to help people lose weight without feeling overly restricted. The onus of this diet regime is on the macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbs. This offers versatility in terms of food All kinds of foods can be relished as long as they fit into the macronutrient requirement for the day.
This diet program was originally designed by fitness enthusiast Anthony Collova after he became frustrated with traditional dieting recommendations. There are three types of macronutrients which provide energy (as calories):
- Protein – provides 4 calories per gram.
- Carbohydrates – provides4 calories per gram.
- Fat – provides has 9 calories per gram.
Calculate your macros
Find out how much of each macronutrient you should consume. The following information must be determined:
- Calculate your macros: You need to determine how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need for each day to fulfill your weight loss goals. This depends on your age, the extent of physical activity, height, and weight.
- Meet your macros requirement: After determining your macros, stick to those requirements every day. Monitor the food you eat and modify it accordingly.
You can eat all kinds of foods within your macro requirement. The objective is that you can eat whatever you want and still maintain good health, burn fat, and build muscle strength.
How to Calculate Your Macros
You can calculate your macros from the free macro calculator on the IIFYM website. You can also calculate them manually.
Follow the steps given below:
- Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR): Evaluate your BMR with standard equations to see how much energy your body uses at rest, based on sex, age, weight, and height.
- Adjust the BMR for the activity level. The daily activities can be sedentary, negligent physical activity, lightly active, and very active lifestyle). You multiply the BMR with an activity factor to tailor the calories based on your activity level. This is called your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
- Adjust your calorie intake based on your weight goals. Reduce your calorie intake by 15–25% if you want to lose weight. Increase the calorie intake by 5 – 15% if you want to increase weight.
- Calculate your macros. See to it that the protein intake lies between 0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound of your body weight. Make sure that the fat intake lies between 0.25 to 0.4 grams per pound of body weight. The remaining calories are allotted to carbohydrates.
If you are looking for weight loss, reduce the calories and increase the protein. By this, you can maintain a lean muscle mass and you can lose fat too. Now you can prepare a diet plan keeping maintaining the same macro requirement. It is ok if you fall off-track from the diet plan once a while and give in to some temptations. The key to this diet is a macro nutritional balance.
- Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey
- Cheese, milk, whey protein, and yogurt
- Beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, and soy
- Fish and shellfish
- Egg yolks
- Salmon, sardines, and anchovies
- Cheese, cream, whole milk, and yogurt
- Nuts and nut butter
- Oils from fruits, nuts, and seeds
- Seeds, such as chia and flax
- Bread, cereals, pasta, and baked goods
- Legumes, such as beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, and soy
- Grains, such as oats, wheat, barley, rye and rice
- Fruits, especially bananas, plantains, mangoes, and apples
- Pseudocereals, such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and wild rice
- Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and corn
What are the benefits of IIFYM?
It creates awareness amongst people
Since IIFYM focuses on macronutrients, and not just on calories, it can be a great educational tool for people who are unfamiliar with the macronutrient composition of foods. Different foods have different nutrient contents. Example: 0.02 g of a multigrain yoga bar provides the same amount of calories as 100 g of peanut butter but their nutrient contents are different.
It aids in achieving weight goals
There are some studies throwing light on the fact thathigh protein intake in an IIFYM regime increases the metabolism and also helps maintain a longer weight loss. IIFYM regime focuses on calorie reduction by 15 – 25% for weight loss. To obtain a healthy weight gain, IIFYM focuses on consuming higher amounts of protein and higher calorie intake.
You can eat everything
The IIFYM regimes do not focus on any diet restriction. Here, as far as the macro requirement is fulfilled, there is no food that is forbidden from eating. Due to no restriction on the foods, this removes the pressure and guilt associated with other more restrictive dieting methods.
It is adaptable and easy to follow
The IIFYM is tailored based on your lifestyle, your age, gender, lifestyle, etc. Due to the adaptability, you don’t land up feeling restricted.IIFYM regimes can be designed for all kind of people such as vegan, vegetarian, paleo or gluten-free.
Are there any drawbacks of IIFYM?
There are advantages that make IIFYM a unique diet but there are disadvantages to IIFYM as well.
It is still a diet
IIFYM may be more flexible than other diets but it is still a diet. Any form of diet has its own disadvantages. It can result in fatigue in case we are not consuming the nutrients adequately. Calorie reduction must not be lower than a cut of 300 calories. Otherwise, it will result in a drop in our energy levels and metabolism.
Any kind of restriction will have an unhealthy mindset in some form and can lead to headaches, cravings and the weight loss effect is not effective in the long run. Maintaining good motivation, sleep, and combating stress can help maintain the weight loss diet regime better. Consulting a proficient dietician to address your core issues is a better option.
Where are the micronutrients?
Including micronutrient components in the diet also goes a long way as they aid in core metabolic and immunity-related. Vital micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are neglected to some extent. Even thought IIFYM focuses on the macronutrient, there is no monitoring of the micronutrients. Vitamins and minerals are essential in the overall metabolism and immunity. Deficiency of micronutrients disrupts the healthy balance in the body and this can lead to other conditions such as fatigue, irritability, headaches, etc.
Can it be modified according to the health condition of an individual?
No. It does not consider the health condition and determine the macro requirement accordingly.
- People with diabetes must watch over their carbohydrate intake.
- Those with a kidney disorder must watch over their protein intake.
- Consumption of lean proteins such as fish is advisable for people with a liver disorder.
- High salt must be avoided in people with liver diseases.
The IIFYM diet can modify your health condition as well. For some, it can improve the digestion and for some, it can cause constipation, diarrhea, etc. Normally, when your body is used to consuming caffeine, etc., a sudden restriction can result in side effects such as a headache, feeling tired, etc.
It can result in eating disorders
Sometimes, people on a diet might feel that they are eating too much and restrict their eating and start to look anorexic. They have a deep fear of gaining weight, feel the need to be very thin, and have low self-esteem. This can result in weakening of the bones, brain damage, anemia, etc.
IIFYM diet does not focus on vitamins (A, D, E, K, B, and C) and minerals such as iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, etc. Studies have shown that around 73% of the students with eating disorders are the same ones with extreme tendencies towards calorie tracking, dieting, heart failure, etc. The healthcare professionals must screen for eating disorders before suggesting an IIFYM diet to anyone.
IIFYM: Is it for you?
“If it fits your macros (IIFYM)” the name itself suggests that it is designed according to an individual. The primary focus is on tracking the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Just like any diet, people do find it hard to maintain their weight loss in the long run. They begin to lose the will or the motivation towards it. It is important to discuss with the dietician for a macro nutritional and micro-nutritional balance.
The main drawback of this diet program is that it does not consider the health conditions of an individual nor does it focus on the micronutrients. More work needs to be done to create a nutritional balance and also maintain the motivation to adhere to this diet regime.
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