Overview and analysis :
When it comes to diets in all its shapes and forms, it remains a numbers game; if you eat too much you will gain weight, and if you eat too little, you will by default lose weight. This, of course, is true, but the concept goes way beyond that, it is called thermodynamics.
If we want to delve a little bit deeper into this, we will deal with calories. For instance, if person “A” eats 3000 calories and burns 3500 calories in the entire day, this will create a caloric deficit that forces the body into a state that makes the body burns its own energy reserves such as fat and glycogen.
Person “B” eats 3000 calories but burns only 2500 calories, this will create a caloric surplus that the body might hold on to as reserve of glycogen or fat. By default, person “A” will burn fat and person “B” will gain weight no matter what they eat. It could happen that person “B” eats all healthy foods such as salads, whole wheat, grains legumes and fruits, and person “A” eats fast food all day, they would have different results.
This is what IIFYM is all about, it stands for “If It Fits Your Macros” and quite honestly it is not a diet, it is a scientific approach to eating and it looks at food in numbers, not quantity, quality or source.
It does not matter if you follow a vegan diet or a Mediterranean diet, the amount of calories Vs the amount that you burn in a day, if you fall into a surplus, you will definitely hold weight, and if you are in a deficit, you will lose weight. Out of all the diets that are out there, this one is the most effective method to eating for weight goals, this one literally cannot fail, it is as scientific as it gets, and this diet also is the final answer for those that cannot seem to lose weight no matter what diet they try, this diet is bound to get it done.
This diet also covers many areas of all types of eating, it is the most flexible one there is; technically, you can eat ice cream and fries all day and you would still lose weight, as long as your final total calorie count is below zero, meaning a caloric deficit, you would still lose weight.
This diet is mostly used by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts as it breaks all the past traditional restrictions; the past diets for bodybuilders used to be chicken, rice and broccoli for every single meal with whey protein shake after the gym, now they can eat all the foods they want, as long as they fit their daily macro nutrients.
The important to remember here is that pro IIFYMers never take the approach of eating ice cream and deep fried chicken all day as long as it fits my macros, but what they do is, they would have more flexibility, they can enjoy food from time to time, but overall, the diet can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it fits your macro nutrients for the day.
Now if we want to delve deeper than calories, we will have to talk about macros, these are your macro nutrients that consist of protein, with each gram of protein or carbohydrates weigh about 4 calories in the caloric spectrum, and 1 gram of fats equaling to 9 calories. With this in mind, you will have to stay away from fat, and only take the most essential fats in the day, as fats far outweigh protein and cabs in the caloric count. The only one left is alcohol with each gram equaling to 7 calories.
With all this in mind, the application part becomes very easy; all you have to do is to calculate your caloric maintenance intake the resting metabolic rate count for the day through this easy formula 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE . So for a 28 years old 180cm tall individual that weighs 85kg, their formula would be 10 x 85 + 6.25 x 180 – 5 x 28 + 5 = 1855. The resting energy expenditure covers all your basic needs of your body, which means if you sit all day, you will maintain your weight. But your other caloric requirements such as walking, standing, working out, jogging and such would affect the number to go up.
Foods to eat on the IIFYM diet:
On the IIFYM diet, you can literally eat whatever you want as long as it fits what you need to be eating for the day, but this approach is too juvenile. So we will apply a healthier approach:
Meats and dairy:
Recommended: Grass-fed farm raised cow meat, lean chicken breast, low fat milk, coconut milk, low fat cheese, almond milk, tilapia, wild caught salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc.
Occasionally: Fried chicken, burger meat, etc.
Grains and starches
Recommended: Whole wheat toast, brown rice, white rice, white potatoes, etc.
Recommended: fried eggs, boiled eggs, etc.
Fruits and berries
Recommended: banana, apples, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.
Recommended: Broccoli, kale, lettuce, spinach, all other vegetables, etc.
Nuts and seeds
Recommended: cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachio, etc.
Oils, fats, sauces, and sweeteners
Recommended: Sugar free ketchup, sugar free syrup, sugar free barbeque sauce, pesto sauce, guacamole, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.
Recommended: Sugar free sodas, sugar free coffee, unsweetened tea, etc.
Samples for the IIFYM diet in one day:
4 egg whites omelette with boiled potatoes
Whole wheat toast with: almond butter and reduced sugar jam.
One cup of unsweetened coffee
Chicken wrap with veggies
Baked sweet potato
Grilled salmon with herbs
Oat meal and whey protein shake
Cup of coffee
Lean meat burger with whole wheat bread buns and veggies
Strawberry and banana smoothie
Chicken breast stir fry with: onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, brown rice and olive oil.
Tips to help you on your diet:
The most important tip when following IIFYM is to know your macros first, so download a free app called Myfitnesspal that is dedicated to counting every single bit of food that you had all day, it will register every single meal of food that you had in the day. By weighing your foods and applying them on the app, it will automatically give you all the data you need; it can count your energy expenditure in the day, that will it will show you if you are in a caloric deficit or in a surplus.
Always read the label of the foods that you eat before eating them, some foods that you eat can have sneaky fats and carbohydrates that can destroy your deficit very easily like sauces and oils.
Opt for high quality foods and never splurge on fast food.
Have a “cheat meal” every now and then but count it on your app.
Without a doubt, this diet presents the most convenience among all diet; it gives you the freedom to eat whatever you wish for as long as it fits within your caloric range. This diet works for a long term use and it used by virtually all bodybuilders and fitness experts, it is the approach that never fails and it is definitely worth a try.