Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Military Diet…The list goes on and on. Fad diets are a huge part of our society, whether we like it or not. We quickly become overwhelmed and unsure of what to believe. You’re not alone in your trust issues with fad diets. And with valid reason, too.
So our favorite celebrity swears by this new grapefruit diet, or credits her body to “drinking” her meals, but our (college-educated) brains remain skeptical. I’m no dietitian, but I really doubt eating 12 grapefruits per day or drinking all liquids satisfies our bodies’ nutritional requirements, or is even somewhat enjoyable. Fad diets are highly unsustainable, and often unhealthy. Sure, we may be able to eat 12 grapefruits for a day or two, but it won’t last. We just end up… “hangry” i.e. hungry+angry. It’s never a good combination. And then we’re back to square one.
You may have seen “IIFYM” on Twitter or Instagram and dismissed it as yet another fad diet. If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) is not so much a diet, rather, it’s a lifestyle. While fad diets focus on restricting certain foods and usually only benefit you for a short period of time, IIFYM focuses on doing the opposite: no restrictions, no limitations. IIFYM allows you to eat what you want, when you want, as long as it fits with your daily nutritional goals. Yes. It’s possible to eat your favorite foods without sacrificing your fitness and nutritional goals (I’m looking at you, Oreos.)
Okay, so NOW I’ve got your attention. But what exactly is a macro? The term macro is slang for macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fats, which are all essential for our bodies to function. The number of macronutrients our bodies need depends greatly on the individual and the number of macronutrients we should be eating will vary from person to person. And the best part? There are tons of IIFYM online calculators. You literally don’t need to do any thinking, and you don’t need to spend any money! Just type in your information and let the calculators, well, calculate. Keep in mind, though, these calculators serve as a ballpark for IIFYM and may need to be slightly altered.
Once you’re given your macronutrient numbers, IIFYM allows you to reach those numbers however you please. For example, if you need ~300g of carbs, it doesn’t have to come from oatmeal or brown rice, rather, it can come from a Poptart. As long as you reach your macros, eat what you want, enjoy what you eat, and stay on track.
Dieting is a short term solution. IIFYM is a great way to live the long term healthy lifestyle. Whoever said you can’t have your cake and eat it too simply didn’t know about IIFYM. Nonetheless, calculating our macros can start us off on our body-loving, Oreo-indulging, goal-achieving journey.
By: Alanna Sadler