April 16, 2016

How IIFYM Can Change Your Life!

What the Heck is IIFYM....and How Can it Change My Life

Dieting is hard! Like really hard. It sucks being hungry and not knowing if you are eating the right things. Then trying to figure out how to make a new found diet a lifestyle that doesn’t seem so depriving, is even harder. I’ve done all the 21 day fixes, smoothie cleanses and weight loss gimmicks. Sure you lose weight in the beginning, because you are practically starving yourself, and then you go and get all excited about losing 8 pounds in 3 days. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t want to live off smoothies for the rest of my life. And hangry is a real emotion. Believe me!

So what’s the solution? How can a diet allow flexibility for busy schedules, changing lives, and even the occasional spontaneous dinner out? Flexible dieting or sometimes known as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).

Flexible dieting or IIFYM, is a lifestyle and a guide to healthy eating that flexes along with you. It is seriously amazing! AMAZING!

It’s changed my life, my knowledge about food and how my body reacts to certain things, and allowed me to be able to really control and tweak my body depending on what my goals are. I’ve been doing flexible dieting for about 3 years now. Before I go into more detail let’s talk about what it is not.

What it’s not…
It is not a way to eat a diet filled with junk food and then achieve a miraculously chiseled physique. Sorry. Although you can find pictures online of flexible dieters showcasing their doughnuts and pizza with the hashtag #IIFYM, which makes it seem like you can eat a junk food diet, but that is not the case.

The nutrient quality is completely different from a doughnut to a potato. Sure they are both carbs, but one is a natural vegetable and the other is sugar and oil. Every once in a while splurging is okay, but not everyday. You still have to practice good healthy eating habits while using flexible dieting.

What it is…
IIFYM is a way to have flexibility of some sort meal to meal while hitting food nutrient goals. It is balanced healthy eating at its best and it allows you to be consistent in your nutrient intake on a daily basis. You don’t need to follow a meal plan you found online, diet yourself away with juice cleanses, or even eat the same thing everyday.

It is a system that you can use to track your protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake throughout the day.

It allows you to have flexible choices based on what you are in the mood for, helps you feel less restricted, and works with a busy schedule. You want to go out with the family…go! You want a sandwich instead of a salad one day…have it! It really gives you ultimate control over your meals and diet.

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    What are the guidelines that work

1. Quality natural whole foods.
You need to stick mainly to healthy whole foods; fruits, veggies, grains, lean meats and proteins. You can have the flexibility within this to choose what you want. But IIFYM is a guideline, that you can use with common sense dieting strategies of eating mostly healthy foods.

2. Calories and macronutrients need to be tailored to fit your goals.
Depending on what your fitness goals are you can adjust your nutrient quanities accordingly. If you are building muscle you need excess calories which means more grams of nutrients in your diet. If you are leaning you need a deficit of calories which means less grams of nutrients in your diet. These grams and percentages you really play with to find what works best for you. A good starting point is 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fat of your daily calories needed.

3. You need a good tracker.
I like My fitness Pal because it is a very widely used app, and it has a few features I like a lot. You can type in your calorie range and macro % goals, and it will tell you grams needed. It displays your macros on a very pretty pie chart for you to keep track of throughout the day. And you can even download recipes from websites like Pinterest and it will actually break up the macros for you based on serving size.

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4. Plan ahead, at least in the beginning.
Calculating macros is like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. Especially in the beginning. So planning ahead is key. This allows you to move the pieces of the puzzle around and adjust if you need too. Planning the night before usually worked great for me in the beginning. After a while you will not need to do this, and you can come up with your own planning system. Because I’ve been doing this for a while, I’m pretty good at just eating normally throughout the day, and checking in around dinner time to get whatever extra nutrients I need.

5. Don’t eat all your macros at once.
Eat 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day. Spread out your calories and macronutrients. You don’t want to be stuck eating a few bites of asparagus for dinner…so go back to #4…plan ahead! I have made this mistake before, and it is not fun.

6. Be consistent!
If you are going to do flexible dieting, be consistent! If you are fairly new to macros you will want to be tracking everyday for a while. At first it might seem like a pain, but once you get the hang of it, it does get easier. And with fitness pal, the app saves your food choices and recent meals which makes inputting very easy and quick.

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Is it for you?
Flexible dieting is great for people that are trying to clean up their diet with healthy foods, have a meal plan that offers variety, and gives you longevity in your fitness and health goals. It is great for giving you consistency in your nutrients day to day.

You can use flexible dieting to lose weight, gain muscle, maintain or whatever your goals are. The way you do that is by tweaking the calorie deficit or excess, and changing your macro percentages/grams. But start with the basics, and you can learn as you go. So give flexible dieting a try, live your life and be fit too!

If you want more flexible dieting ideas you can follow me on instagram @momonthemove1

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