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How to Use IIFYM to Calculate Your Macros Instead of Obsessing Over Calories

How to Use IIFYM to Calculate Your Macros Instead of Obsessing Over Calories
From Lifehacker - September 19, 2017

I lost 20 pounds, and I got to eat whatever I wanted! This is the siren call drawing thousands of people to the nutrition approach known as If It Fits Your Macros, or IIFYM. What started as a way for bodybuilders to cut weight for competition has taken off in the fitness community and beyond. If freedom of choice is important to you, this may be a good fit. But first, release yourself from the delusion that the road to cut abs is paved with waffle fries. Its not quite that easy.

There are three macronutrients, or macros: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. In the IIFYM approach, you count those instead of calories. (Alcohol is a fourth macronutrient, but its not part of the program. Sorry.) Youre probably more familiar with what nutritionists call micronutrients, which are the various vitamins and minerals. You need micronutrients in small amounts, while the large amounts of macronutrients are what make up the bulk of our food. And we need all threeeven the fats.

Your body metabolizes each of the macros in a different way, hence the idea of calibrating the amount of each to hopefully burn more fat and build more muscle. Your programwhat one site calls your Custom Macro Blueprintmay be calculated based on your gender, age, height, weight, muscle mass, energy level, and goals. This dictates how many grams of carbs, protein, and fats to eat each day in order to meet your goals.

So lets say your daily macros are 90 grams of protein, 140 grams of carbohydrates, and 60 grams of fat. You get to choose what foods you eat as long as they fit within your macros. (This is also known as flexible dieting.) For example, you could meet your protein requirements with steak, urad dal, refried beans, hummus, string cheesejust about any amino acid-having food you like. IIFYM can be a helpful way to give people the autonomy they need to reach their nutritional goals, says trainer and nutritional coach Amanda Thebe. Removing restrictions around foods adds an element of ease which we all can appreciate juggling our hectic lifestyles. Having the ability to pick our preferred food choices also helps people to stick to the plan. So you can be vegan, paleo, gluten free, or avocado-obsessed; whatever you eat, theres a way to make it fit. Well, almost.

The plan is often misunderstood when we see people filling up on their daily quota with junk food, says Thebe. You may have heard you can eat whatever you want! on IIFYM, but wedging Krispy Kremes into your macros is not a smart strategy. The way to make this protocol successful is to stick with whole, nutrient-dense foods for the majority of the time with a little bit of leeway for the treats.

Filling your macros with pizza and cookies isnt the intention of the lifestyle, says Sandra MacDonald, head coach at CrossFit Westchester. She guides clients through the IIFYM program and says all that freedom can actually be one of the biggest challenges people face.

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