IIFYM = If it fits your macros. It seems to be the ‘in’ thing in the health and fitness industry at the moment, and browsing the hashtag on Instagram gives you a very incomplete picture as to what this is all about. Now, I am not a personal trainer, nor a qualified health professional, so this is all based on my reading of articles/blogs and understanding of basic nutrition.
If it firs your macros is the concept that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods and that provided you stay within your calorie goal, as well as within your protein, carbohydrates and fats (your macronutrients) you can eat whatever you like! Now there are some people who eat highly processed food for all their meals and follow this method to the extreme, but this is actually an incredibly tiny minority of people. Most people who hashtag IIFYM and follow that lifestyle, eat and follow an incredibly balanced lifestyle. Most of what you see on Instagram, as with anything, is heavily glamorised, after all, which would you rather see? Someone eating chicken and broccoli or a magnificent stack of pancakes with peanut butter, chocolate and doughnuts sandwiched inbetween?!
This time last year, I followed a diet plan assigned by my personal trainer and I would stick to it for maybe 5 days and then full on binge on all things sweet, devouring anything and everything in sight. Then be racked with guilt, eat egg whites for a day or so and then resume the cycle. When I began prepping for my photoshoot, I thought I would really struggle with the diet. I did get cravings, but actually I stuck to it for almost 21 weeks. My diet was tough, with carbohydrates being eliminated from my diet for the last 3 months. After my photoshoot, I was scared to eat. My body ballooned and I had caused metabolic damage from a combination of low carbohydrates and not reverse dieting. I went to someone for help and began to reverse diet properly. My reverse diet plan was so similar to my prep plan, I couldn’t stick to it with no end goal. So I began binging again. My confidence was non-existent. And then I got introduced to flexible dieting. It has saved me, my sanity and my confidence. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love ‘clean’ food, but I also don’t have the mental strength, nor desire, to deprive myself. The vast majority of my food is nutritious and densely packed with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), but I also eat chocolate, sweets and bread too! I am still reverse dieting and am now eating more than double the calories that I was on prep, my carbohydrate consumption is pretty high and my weight is the same now as 3 weeks post photoshoot, but my body composition is completely different. I am still lacking in confidence, fearful of exceeding my calorie intake, eating out, eating anything I can’t ‘track’, but then I rememember where I was in December. I have made a tremendous amount of progress and am infinitely happier. So while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the 20% of ‘bad foods’ I consume in a week have enabled me to enjoy food again. And isn’t that what it is all about?