As we are third month into the new year and a lot of new year’s resolutions, you know the: ‘I will exercise at least 5 times a week’ or the ‘I’m giving up sugar!’ Or perhaps simply ‘I won’t touch another biscuit!’ have quietly disappeared into the land of ‘I’ll try next year’, let’s take a look at flexible dieting or IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”) type of dieting or better lifestyle as we don’t like the word ‘diet’ very much..hence the strange title.
Let’s start with the basics and look into macros or macronutrients. We have three main food groups: protein (required to build and repair), carbohydrates (to fuel energy) and fats (to keep you satiated) that make up the food we eat (yes there are micronutrients, too but let’s concentrate on the ‘macros’ for now.)
Flexible dieting (or IIFYM) doesn’t restrict you to only eat certain food or God forbid cut out a food group all together! Instead you are given a ‘budget’ – certain amount of each food group that you can play with. Yes it does require you to track your food and be accurate with portions BUT you can be losing weight and still eat a biscuit here and there! And these days they make it very easy to track your food, have you heard of MyFitnessPal? This app that has a HUGE database of food and nicely breaks it down into all your macros (and micros – bonus!)
Let’s see an example. A woman wants to lose weight. In order to do that, she needs to eat 1500 kcal a day consisting of 140 grams of protein (each gram of protein is 4kcal therefore = 540kcal), 100 grams of carbohydrate (same as protein ×4kcal = 400kcal) and the rest 1500 – (540 + 400) = 560kcal /9 (1 gram of fat is 9kcal) = roughly 62g of fat (don’t panic, all of this can be set and calculated by your trainer) Now this is her budget for a day and she needs to ‘hit it’ to reach her goal. Log in the food she eats and have a little treat be it piece of chocolate or bit of cream in coffee.
If It fits your macros, go for it! Yes, it requires bit of your precious time to get used to but how much time have you already wasted by trying all of the new ‘fad’ diets out there? This is a way of eating you can stick to and that, my friends, is THE key to successfully reaching your fitness goals!
Plus not being restricted and having the flexibility to chose what you eat massively helps with cravings and or binges that we all (or most of us) know all too well trying any type of crash or overly restricted diet.