The other day I told my trainer one of my random food fantasies.
“I want a big bag of Twizzlers,” I admitted. “I would sit on the couch and eat the whole bag.”
“Well you can,” he said. “You just have to track it.”
And for the first time, I realized, yes, with the concept of If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), I CAN have whatever I want. But, now with “permission” to eat the bag of Twizzlers, I second-guessed myself. Did I really want it? Because, more than tracking food and its macronutrients (carbs/protein/fat), having whatever I wanted now came with responsibility.
Responsibility #1: Timing my intake
While IIFYM encourages me to eat what I want when I want (as long as it fits into my portions of carbs, protein and fat) I still have to watch my timing. Not because I believe food timing increases work output, energy or avoids fat gain. Instead, I have to watch when I eat because if I use up all my fat (usually my smallest amount of macros) in the beginning of the day on a donut and cream-cheese-stuffed french toast, I won’t have any left for the remaining meals. Thus, I’m more likely to go over on fat, slowing down my goals.
Responsibility #2: Never nixing quality
IIFYM stresses quantity. However, while I’m getting the physique I want by balancing my intake, eating certain foods to hit my macros comes at a cost. Too many bagels makes me feel bloated. Sugar makes me cranky. Dairy makes me, well, you know. So, more than eating what’s going to meet my marks, I need to consider what’s going to make me feel like an optimal-functioning human being.
Responsibility #3: Making it worth it
Especially when I’m eating below my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE — calories needed just to maintain my body weight at my activity level), every macro — every calorie — counts. While a serving of raisins or a candy bar may have a high carb count, it will not keep me full. Instead, I need to consider a comparable carb count with high fiber to keep me fuller longer, thus decreasing my chances of going over my macros. Something like oatmeal or a gallon of salad.
I will admit, while IIFYM has completely changed the way I view food (good vs. bad), it comes with a few “catches,” so to speak. And I know, the optimal way to health doesn’t lie in simply counting macros, but making better choices along the way.
Interested in IIFYM and how it can change your view of food? See Coach Tyler’s presentation on IIFYM here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/19G30B1BMZ95Rj8sM-kIXcJ7r19wdZ8ixgSWCyuckhRM/edit or contact [email protected] for guidance on getting started.
Written by Amy Sullivan