Nearly one year ago, the flexible dieting plan known as If It Fits Your Macros — or IIFYM — filled up nearly 3 million posts on Instagram, as reported by the Inquisitr. As of Sunday, July 24, the number of posts tagged #iifym on Instagram has swelled to exactly 5,688,728 posts — proving that the eating plan isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The theory behind the flexible eating plan is that folks must keep track of their “macros” or macronutrients — their daily intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fat grams — in order to get the bodies they want. That might mean different things to bodybuilders as opposed to someone looking for a healthy way to tone up without having to eschew total categories of foods.
As reported by Breaking Muscle, the whole notion of IIFYM and flexible dieting — although IIFYM isn’t a diet but a whole new way of eating — began in the bodybuilding community. Flexible dieting was birthed out of outdated or old-school movements that limited bodybuilders to specific types of foods — such as lean meats (like chicken), sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Certain fitness fiends discovered that they could look just as good and build as much muscle whilst cutting as much fat as others while keeping their macros within certain parameters.
Generally, those parameters sound really close to the logic that the popular “Zone Diet” used to espouse — namely, a protein balance of about 40 percent, carbs around 40 percent, and fat about 20 percent of each meal.
According to PopSugar, one can get started on the flexible eating plan by first determining their daily caloric intake needs using free online calculators that base their calorie needs on the person’s gender, activity levels, height, current weight, and more factors.
Then apps like My Macros + or MyFitnessPal can be used to track macros, although there is a cost associated with doing so. As of this writing, the My Macros + app is listed with a $2.99 price — and although the MyFitnessPal app is free, the macros-tracking portion comes with a monthly cost.
As reported by Diets in Review, the IIFYM flexible eating plan can be effective — one that really works for those who are willing to put in the effort to figure out the numbers. IIFYM initially involves buying a food scale and weighing your food until you’re able to eyeball your foods and figure out good estimates to keep your macros in line. Whereas certain headlines tout flexible eating as a diet plan that allows for donuts and doesn’t make people feel bad about having a “cheat meal” — since they are non-existent on the IIFYM plan — flexible eating isn’t about filling up on junk food.
Instead, the IIFYM eating plan is about giving your body the correct nutrients to help it function properly year-round — and not starving yourself down to a low body-fat percentage that’s unhealthy. On social media, the IIFYM plan is praised for being a slow, steady and sustainable way of eating that brings results — and not a shocking, jarring type of diet that finds people downing chicken breasts and veggies for months then pigging out on candy after the “clean eating” period is over.
In fact, the “If It Fits Your Macros” eating movement is so popular that it has been parodied by movements like the #iifymouth — or “If It Fits Your Mouth” — movement, which has 40,669 posts on Instagram as of this writing.
Fans of IIFYM find that it’s a healthy way of eating that provides for more flexibility when trying to shape-up and eat right and have a social life. Instead of doing away with a whole category of foods — for example, claiming all dairy-based foods are bad — the IIFYM lifestyle might allow a person to have Greek yogurt and strawberries for breakfast, as long as it fits the person’s macros.
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