Welcome back everyone to another lovely semester, where we have come out of hibernation and are wondering how to shred those last five pounds for a stellar Instagram pic to impress your gym crush. If you follow at least one “Instagram famous” fitness chick or ridiculously good-looking shredded bodybuilder, you will have probably noticed the hashtag IIFYM used excessively on every post. What the hell is IIFYM?! IIFYM stands for “If It Fits Your Macros” (aka flexible dieting). Now you may be wondering what macros are. Macros, short for macronutrients, are your big three nutrients: fats, protein and carbohydrates. </p>
IIFYM is the latest dieting craze that has swept the fitness industry. It consists of tracking your macros everyday — this means logging in the number of grams of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates you consume (yes, that includes the donut you bought on a whim today, too). This usually requires a scale, measurements, and calculations to log every single thing you eat. Veterans of IIFYM can usually guesstimate the macros of foods just by glancing at their meal (not going to lie, that’s a cool superpower I wouldn’t mind having too).
Okay, so WHY IS THIS SO POPULAR THOUGH?! Counting macros has become a religion for many people and they will defend it like a crossfitter defends CrossFit. It helps people regulate what they consume and usually maintain or reach a bodyweight goal. This can be achieved by changing the percentage of fats, carbs, and protein consumed by the individual. This can be tricky and should definitely be consulted with a professional or heavily researched.
For reference, the recommended macronutrient intake for adults are:
• Carbohydrates: 45-65 per cent
• Protein: 10-35 per cent
• Fat: 20-35 per cent
Now, let’s examine the pros and cons of the IIFYM religion.
PROS: You will become more conscious of the foods you eat (you might skip that cake for dessert); reaching your fat loss or bodyweight goal and; adopting a healthier lifestyle and possibly even a date with your gym crush.
CONS: You will become more conscious of the foods you eat (why are you depriving yourself of that cake for dessert?!?!), setting unrealistic goals, never being satisfied with the results, and beginning to obsess over every single thing you eat — this is a real eating disorder that occurs with some IIFYM users. On top of that, following IIFYM may lead to eating mostly junk food.
As you can see, tracking macros can help or hinder someone. It depends on the person, their motivation, and goals. I personally would not recommend IIFYM to the average person unless they have a specific bodyweight goal in mind for a good reason (e.g. to make weight for a powerlifting competition).
Tracking macros does not seem like a sustainable lifestyle. I know people who will avoid going out and eating because it will throw off their macro game (soooo lame). I believe you should eat good, wholesome foods that give you energy and make you feel good.
I personally stick to buying fresh food and produce and rarely buy processed or frozen food. However, it wouldn’t hurt to try tracking your macros for a few days to see where you fall within the recommended intake. I highly recommend observing your micronutrient intake as well (your vitamins and minerals). These are important for health and longevity.