So what does this phrase mean….”If it fits your macros”? I am sure a lot of you have heard about it but may not understand it. In this article I am in no way agreeing or disagreeing with it but I want to provide many of you information for you to make your own decisions on what is right for YOU.
The phrase “If It Fits Your Macros” (often abbreviated to IIFYM) refers to meeting the individual macronutrient needs relevant to one’s goals and then filling the remaining calories with foods of personal preference. Meaning, eat whatever you want as long as it fits your macros.
Essentially, if you want to eat whole grain bread, oats, brown rice, etc., then do it. If you want to eat white bread, ice cream, and pop tarts, as long as it fits in with your other macronutrients and your goals in terms of caloric intake then it isn’t going to make much of a difference in the long run. It really all comes down to personal preference.
So what is a macronutrient? A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, fat, and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.
That is, you plan your daily meals to provide you with so much protein, carbohydrate, and fat, based on your goal (lose fat or build muscle). It’s essentially a form of calorie counting (a gram of protein and carbohydrate both contain about 4 calories, and a gram of fat contains about 9).
Now, here’s the part of that throws many people for a loop:
According to its principles of this “flexible dieting”, so long as I hit those numbers every day, the foods I eat to get there will not negatively affect my body composition.
My protein could come from 99% lean ground turkey or fatty ground beef, my carbs from oatmeal or candy, and my fats from almonds or ice cream, and so long as I “hit my macros,” I will be able to lose fat or build muscle as desired.
Do you all agree with this? Because a calorie is not a calorie when we’re talking body composition. What I mean is if you want to lose weight while also maintaining as much lean mass as possible, you need to do more than just maintain a caloric deficit.
- You need to ensure you get enough protein each day to preserve muscle.
- You must eat enough carbs for fuel and muscle building.
- You need to ensure you eat enough healthy fats, which play an important role in hormone synthesis.
This is why counting macros is superior to counting just calories. It allows you to focus on improving body composition, not simply dropping or gaining pounds. Now to each their own when it comes to lifestyle but I am all for choosing healthy, nutrient dense food with occasional fun foods or when I am craving something. I spent many years depriving myself so I try not to do that anymore, but I do enjoy and choose to eat healthy most of the time.
Thank you for reading!