What Does IIFYM Mean?

Between bodybuilders and people just wanting to shed some weight, there is an ongoing debate between “clean eating” versus “IIFYM”.  Here are the basics, so you know what people are talking about at the gym.

What does IIFYM mean?

IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros.  The basic premises is that when you are trying to maintain your ideal weight it’s tough to stick to a boring diet, but if you stay within a pre-determined amount of macronutrients you can pretty much eat what you want.

Cookie vs. Broccoli
Cookie vs. Broccoli

For example:

A 35 year old woman is 5’4″, exercises 3 times per week, and wants to weigh 125 lbs.  Her daily calorie consumption (according to the IIFYM website) should be 1,716 per day, and her daily macronutrients should be 200.5 g carbs, 115 g protein, 46 g fat and 23-29 g fiber.

Let’s hypothetically say that this woman normally eats clean (chicken, rice, green beans) but today she really is craving McDonalds (Big Mac, fries, soda).  Under IIFYM guidelines, she could eat this most happy meal, providing she stays within the same total of macronutrients noted above at the end of the day.

Pros of IIFYM

  • You get to eat exciting junk food whenever you feel like it, provided you stay within your daily macros
  • You become very aware of your macronutrients, which could help you monitor your eating better overall

Cons of IIFYM

  • You have to keep track of all your macros each meal of the day
  • You have to be very disciplined.  If you eat all your carbs for the day during breakfast, you have to ensure you don’t eat anymore throughout the day, and that you stay within your total calories.
  • Even if you stay within your macros, eating junk food every day isn’t good for your overall health

    Happy Lisa with Lasagna
    Enjoying lasagna cheat meal

Is IIFYM right for you?

Some people swear by this method.  There is a woman at my gym who does this so she can eat pizza with her granddaughter every Friday.  Most bodybuilders I’ve spoken to about it might try this during the off season, but not during show prep (when they are preparing for a competition.)

Personally, I find it easier to just stick with my boring clean eating meal plan than figure out all these calculations every day.  Usually I give myself one or two cheat meals so I don’t go crazy, but I don’t really adjust my other meals.

Here is a link to their website for the IIFYM Calculator.    How about you?  Do you eat a cheat meal and move on or do you adjust your other meals when you eat something unhealthy?

Lisa ;)

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