3 Essential Rules To IIFYM!
IIFYM is an acronym for the phrase 'If It Fits Your Macros'. This is a wildly popular Diet Principle which mainly functions as a mechanism to allow 'Cheat Foods' or 'Treats' almost daily within your Diet Plan. The main theory for IIFYM is to base your eating habits on Macro-Nutrients from any kind of food option; If a Diet Plan says you need 200g of Protein, 150g of Carbs and 100g of Fat then with IIFYM you can get these Nutrients from literally anything you choose. Carbs are Carbs, Fat is Fat, Protein is Protein. However, a lot of 'clean' foods will still need to be eaten to reach macro-nutrient requirements. See below for how to use it.
1. Identify Your Cheat Foods
IIFYM is for people who find it exceedingly difficult to keep to a diet plan, OR find it almost impossible to obtain the right food options due to environment, career, availability or budget. In any case, you must identify the foods you always have cravings for (which may change) and the foods that are available to you or that you can afford - depending on your motivation for using IIFYM. This step is important for 2 reasons; 1. If you eat foods you don't crave as part of the 'Cheat' element of the Diet it may not stop you craving and Cheating with the ones you do actually crave. 2. Getting it right will enable you to use the IIFYM principles for life, so you never go without your beloved treats. Conversely, don't feel you have to cram in loads of Cheat foods, the Principles can be used sparingly to great affect too.
2. Confirm the Macro-Nutrient Ratios
Measure/ find out the macro-nutrient levels in all the Cheat Foods so you can fit it into your diet plan. E.g. the Chocolate I normally eat contains these levels per 100g: 32.4g Fat, 55.4g Carbs, 6.7g Protein. That means if I ate 100g of this Chocolate I subtract these numbers from my overall Macro-Nutrient needs for the day and then get the rest of the Nutrients from somewhere else. Note that a large portion of this Chocolate is made from Carbs, so if someone needs 150g of Carbs per day they would only have around 95g of their daily allowance left after eating 100g of this chocolate. On the other hand, the Protein is very low in the Chocolate, leaving a lot more Protein for the Dieter to consume the rest of the day. What is left of your Nutrient needs for the day after every Cheat Meal might change in this way. So be methodical about your measurements. It's very hard to end the day with 100g Protein, 5g of Fat and 0g of Carbs left for your final Meal.
3. Do Not Go Crazy
IIFYM is not a free pass to eat junk food all day long, but a way of supplementing a Diet by including the treats you love. The counter argument against IIFYM is that people might lose sight of what is important in an effective Diet; good quality nutrients that are whole, bio-available and healthy. Another 'Con' is that little emphasis is made on Micro-Nutrients (or fibre), all the vitamins and minerals that support the vital systems and processes that go on in our body that make it function optimally. So do not forget to eat plenty of vegetables and high quality meat/dairy/egg/fish sources as the main body of your Diet Plan to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs for Recovery, Maintenance and Growth.
DISCLAIMER: We do not recommend eating a diet filled with junk food. IIFYM is a Diet concept that can be effective when done in a responsible and appropriate manner. We maintain that for the very best results in Fitness and Health you keep your diet as clean as you can, while only treating yourself occasionally or at a designated time - and only if absolutely necessary.