Ever been scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed and seen a fitness account with pictures of juicy bacon burgers and frozen yoghurt hash tagged with #IIFYM? So what does IIFYM actually mean and why is everyone eating burgers?
IFYM literally means ‘If It Fits Your Macros’. It’s a new approach to dieting where all food are permissible if they fit into your macro nutrient profile.
So let’s dial this back to look at what is a macro or macro nutrient? It’s a fancy term for food properties like carbs, fats and protein. All foods are made up of macros (carbs, fats and protein – just in different portions). A carrot for example is about 86 percent carbohydrate, 9 per cent protein and 5 percent fat, whereas a Tim Tam is 48 percent carbohydrate, 4 percent protein and 48 percent fat.
Following an IIFYM approach to eating requires you to calculate your daily calorie need based on whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle and taking into account your age, body type, activity level and current weight. Divide your daily calories into 40 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent protein and 20 percent fat, this is the ratio IIFYM experts recommend for muscle growth, fat burning and consistent energy levels
Let’s break it down so it’s easier to understand; Sally wants to build muscle. She needs to eat 2000 calories a day with more carbs and proteins to achieve her goal. Her macros could be 50 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat, meaning 50% of her daily calorie come from carbohydrates (1000 calories), 30 percent from proteins (600 calories) and 20 percent from fats (400 calories). Now Sally knows what portions of macros she must eat each day, she now can eat any food as long as she doesn’t eat more than her daily calorie allowance and meets the percentage of macros required.
This approach to dieting has become popular as no food is off limits as long as you fit it into your macros for the day. If all that counting carbs and fats sound too complex for you, many people use the popular food tracker app, My FitnessPal to track their macros each day as they app has a setting for these too.
Just be aware as nice as it sounds to be junk food and losing weight – food is not just about calories and macros, but nutrients, fibre and health too.