Sure there are a million diets out there that will have you shedding weight quickly but what generally happens? As soon as you finish the diet, the weight comes back! Can you relate? Two hands up from this gal.
Why most diets don't work long term is the fact that they restrict certain foods and some, even entire food groups. They also allude to loss, deprivation and struggle. In simple terms, they are not REALISTIC. They don't take into account for real life events such as weddings, birthday parties, all day work conferences or vacations.
What if I told you that you could have cake, popcorn, heck, even a glass of your favorite wine, all while achieving your physique goals? Sounds pretty amazing doesn't it? When I first heard about "If It Fits In Your Macros" aka "IIFYM" or flexible dieting, I was skeptical. Being a former fitness and bodybuilding competitor I knew how to get stage lean, but I knew that there would be sacrifices... NO cookies, chocolate and definitely no wine for 12-16 weeks. How could I replicate those results, loose fat, gain lean muscle all while having to flexibility to eat "non-diet" food?
To understand flexible dieting, you need to know what macros are. Macros, or macronutrients, are the nutrients coming from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Tracking macros, or flexible dieting is method that revolves around meeting daily macro targets based on your fitness goals. It can be used to gain, loose or maintain weight. There are a number of ways to determine your macro requirements. You can find macro calculators on the internet that will give you a baseline to start working with. You will input your age, weight, height, activity level and fitness goals and tadaa! The ratios of protein, carbs and fat will spit out. Although online calculators are a great way to start, they do not factor YOUR uniqueness. Stress, job, lifestyle, etc all play a role in how your body utilizes protein, fat and carbs. Hiring a coach is something to consider if you're looking for a more customized plan.
Once you have your macro targets, you can start tracking using various apps such as MyFitnessPal. Getting the hang of hitting the "numbers" takes some time and patience. When I first started it seemed impossible to hit my daily macros. I bought into the hype and believed I could eat whatever I wanted and still get lean. I was trying to add in pop tarts, cookies, and whipped cream. Guess what? The numbers would never add up! What I came to realize was that if it sounds too good to be true, it generally is. Let me explain. Technically, IIFYM allows you to eat whatever you want as long as it fits in your daily totals. The reality of it is, you'll never reach all of your macro targets eating nothing but junk food...the math simply won't ever work. You need to incorporate nutrient dense, "clean" foods for the majority of the meals you eat, and the macros that remain can be for the foods that help keep your sanity.
If you are wondering if the macro diet is right for you? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I willing to measure, weigh and track my food? Macro tracking requires you to weigh and measure all of your food if you want to be successful. You need a food scale that you can buy for $15.00 or less at your local Wal-Mart or Target, a few measuring cups and measuring spoons, and you are set. Once you get the hang of it you will become well equipped in eye balling portion sizes when you're eating out or at a friend's dinner party.
2. Do I prefer to follow a cookie cutter diet plan where I don't have to think? If you prefer following a nutrition plan that requires zero thinking or personal input, IIFYM may not be the best choice for you.
3. I'm eating clean but I'm not loosing or gaining weight. What am I doing wrong? Chances are your portion sizes are off. The test that got me hooked was the peanut butter test. That scoop that you take out of the jar when you're just starving...take that scoop and measuring it out. I was surprised to find that what I thought was 1 tbsp, was actually 2...which equates to approximately 200 calories and up to 20 grams of fat.
If you have any questions at all, please ask. Leave a comment below or get a hold of me on instagram at @tarrah1127 or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org