Picture on the left: Doing weight watchers online, counting cheez-its, sneaking pillsbury cookies our of shame. **CRIES INSIDE**
Picture on the right: Doing IIFYM, still eating cheez-its. Eats cookies and owns that sh*t.
When I first decided to lose weight, I signed up for Weight Watchers online. What a cool program. The basis of weight watchers was to assign certain foods “points,” and your only job was to meet your points requirement for the day. Easy. Not so much. It was easy at first, but I never knew what foods got how many points and so on and so forth. I never really learned why an apple is one point and why a pear is four. Hello co-dependent dieting? Now I can never quit weight watchers.
I went on other diets, like having trainers write plans for me. 6 chicken breast a day, 5 cups of spinach, and sweet potatoes. Barf. Not sustainable. This is about the time I learned about IIFYM. If it fits your macros is an awesome program that allows you to eat the foods you want, as long as they meet your “macros,” or macronutrient nutritional goals. It’s like weight watchers, but rather than logging “points,” you are logging calories. This may seem overwhelming at first, but I promise you, this will not shackle you to an app or make you eat chicken until you die.
So let’s start.
What are macros?
Macros stand for macronutrients. IIFYM is similar to caloric dieting. You know those apps that tell you how many calories to eat per day? Well say I need to eat 1000 calories a day. That means I can eat two pieces of pizza and be done, right? No no no. You need to eat a certain amount of carbs, protein, and fat in order to properly lose weight. IIFYM believes that if you maintain these goals, you will lose weight at slow and predictable pace. Many people believe that IIFYM is “free for all” dieting, but you should remember that 80% of your food should come from clean sources (think the food pyramid, lean protein, veggies, fruit), and 20% is discretionary, meaning whatev.
How does one begin this process?
It’s A LOT of trial and error my friends. Download an app like mymacros+ (in the app store) and start plugging in the foods you normally eat. My recommendation is to just eat normally and then see where you are falling. Are you eating a ton of carbs and not enough protein? (I was). You may find out you aren’t eating enough at all! Here’s a day when I was eating not quite right.
I went over on fats, likely because I added too much peanut butter to my pad thai. Whoops. I will make an adjustment and try again tomorrow. It’s as easy as that.
I want to splurge. How do I plan?
Ah, cheat day. I was just thinking all week about how I practically want to drink my Uncle Lloyd’s chili cheese dip. The good news is, IIFYM allows you to have the foods you want. Although you have a daily goal, you also have a weekly goal. say you accidentally go over one day, just subtract how much you went over from the next day. Think about it like money, if you had a daily budget of $10 and a weekly budget of $70.00, and you accidentally spend $12.00 one day, you just need to use $8.00 the following day to keep you within your weekly budget. I suggest knowing what you want to cheat with in advance and planning around that.
But I love drinking, can I do that?
Yup, you can, but just remember that alcohol does slow progress in any diet. In some cases, I need the wine to deal, so you can calculate it from fat or carbs. Check out my girl Tracy’s blog post to learn more about how to do this.
This seems like more food than I’ve been eating. Why?
Well, here’s why, although you may be eating a certain amount of calories, you may not be eating the correct macro-nutrients for your lifestyle. Some people slash carbs and are very successful in the short term, but this is not a healthy or optimal long term solution to weight loss. When your body is in starvation mode, your body will begin to eat lean muscle and hold onto fat. Not to mention too few calories can lead to devastating effects like low testosterone levels, decreased energy, and most of all, weight loss plateaus. Lastly, if you are working out hard, you are likely burning a ton more than you put in.
I want you to know that I certainly am aware of how much work this is. Again, I’ll always direct you to my studio’s online training classes, as I think they are very helpful and can be done from your home. I want to leave you with some final thoughts though, I want you to understand that changing your life isn’t easy. It is going to be a long road. I didn’t wake up one day and then get in a bikini competition. My success was made up of tiny decisions, day by day, that lead to success.
There will be days that are hard; you will fuck up; you will beat yourself up. But you must love yourself and your body enough to forgive any mistakes, find balance, and get back on track. Our bodies are incredible and the fact that every single part is working the way it is supposed to is a miracle in itself. Treat yourself well, respect your body, invest in creating a lifestyle, and remember; nothing worth having ever comes easy.