This diet trend of IIFYM has thousands of well-meaning health enthusiasts diligently tracking their food every day in the name of nutrition, but so many of them are missing the critical concept of what IIFYM is intended to do, promote health.
If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is a diet plan that focuses on hitting your goal number of protein, carbs, and fat grams in one day, giving you ability to eat whatever you want as long as you are staying within your numbers.
This is the common issue with so many different trends these days, quantity over quality. When you forget quality you are forgetting health all together. It is reducing nutrition down to a numbers game and not taking the quality of food the uniqueness of the person’s health history, mindset, or precautions into account.
I will be clear, I do not have a problem with the idea of tracking and counting your macronutrients. It is the execution that is leading so many people astray.
You can see in everyday life how this simply cannot work. Your best friend can down an entire pizza and never gain a single pound, while you workout religiously and even looking at pizza can cause you to seemingly weight gain. There are many other factors that go into your metabolism and weight maintenance than just the numbers of your calories and grams. Unfortunately, if it was a simple as a numbers game we would all be in perfect health.
I am bombarded daily on social media with pictures of IFFYM follower’s meals that are made up entirely of processed foods; protein pancakes with chemically cocktailed calorie free syrup for breakfast, a protein drink with 5 carrots for lunch, bowl of cereal for a snack, a prepackaged frozen meal for dinner. Basically they are eating junk food all day because they can easily count macros and hit their daily number goals.
But where is the quality? Where is the nutrition?
While many are busy counting macros they are forgetting about micronutrients, the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, all the critical components of food that really makes food nutritious.
When the focus is strictly on numbers you will not only get frustrated when you don’t get the results you expect, because sadly nutrition and your metabolism do not work that simply, but you can be putting your health at risk.
Your immune system can drop, making you sick more often. Your skin quality can suffer, leading to dry skin or acne. Even more frequently, your mood can deteriorate, making you depressed, anxious, and fixated on the “numbers” of your daily diet. All of these symptoms can make you want to abandon your goals all together.
When eating whole foods, fresh produce and quality meats and fats you get an abundant variety of nutrients. You will also find that is so much easier to reach your macro goals because you can have so much more volume on your plate than processed foods.
You can eat a small sweet potato, a roasted chicken thigh and a few slices of avocado for the same macronutrients of many small energy bars.
When you are forming a healthy nutrition plan you should take all aspects of your health and goals into account.
- Is this diet maintainable?
- Is this a quick fix or a long-term lifestyle change?
- Am I healing my body or preventing disease?
- Am I supporting my activity and fitness level?
- Am I increasing my quality of life and feeling well?
The answers to all of these questions depend on your micronutrients, macronutrients, and consistency with habits.
So can IFFYM work? Yes, it can be very helpful for many to gain an understanding of portion control and mindfulness around their eating habits, but I guarantee those that are successful are doing it eating real food as well.
Simply focusing on calories and macronutrients may be helpful in the short term, but over time you will start to run into obstacles.
If you want long-term weight loss, good health, and a happy mindset, than focus on quality with whichever diet plan you choose, it’s the only way to get results with your health and future in mind.