Thursday, July 18, 2013

IIFYM

I may or may not be opening a can of worms here, but I've wanted to address this for a while and after being asked about it several times recently, I figured now was the time.

I'm sure many of you have heard this phrase that's been floating around "IIFYM" or If It Fits Your Macros. Basically, the theory behind this is based on calories in vs. calories out and it says that you can eat whatever foods you want, as long as they fit your macros. Many common foods you'll see people who subscribe to this method eat are Pop Tarts, Mountain Dew, ice cream cones, pizza etc.

IIFYMers

  • Don't like the term "clean eating". 
  • Clean eating is too restrictive
  • Clean eating causes binges
  • Clean eating is associated with "cheat meals" 
  • Clean eaters are obsessive 
*Before I get my head chopped off, I'll remind you these are just my thoughts and how I perceive things after doing my own research on this topic.*

So, what do I think? I believe that eating whole foods with minimal ingredients helps the body function optimally. I believe that by eating processed foods containing preservatives, artificial ingredients, and chemicals you are doing your body a disservice. Our bodies are not made to break down these types of ingredients and frankly, they are wreaking havoc on our society [hello obesity epidemic].



With that said, do I think some clean eaters are too restrictive? Sure. Can it cause binges? Yep. Do I like the term cheat meal? No. Clean eating is often made a lot harder and more complicated than it needs to be, and this can lead to people becoming obsessive. This obsessive, extreme behavior can be applied to both sides of the spectrum though. There are clean eaters that only eat tilapia and asparagus just as there are IIFYM followers that literally eat "junk" foods all day. I think the theory behind IIFYM comes from a good place-- it's purpose is really to make a fitness diet less strict while still maintaining the physique you're after. But, like many other "diets" some people are just taking it to extremes or misunderstanding.

In reality, to hit your macros, you're probably going to have to eat pretty healthy to be able to still be eating a decent amount of food. A box of Pop Tarts is going to add up really quick on the carb side, and you're probably going to be stuck eating plain chicken the rest of the day. So, whatever approach you choose to take, make sure you find yourself somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, because that's likely where you're going to see your results.

As for me.... you won't see me eating Pop Tarts or Twinkies anytime soon :)


22 comments:

  1. I'm SO glad you addressed this!! I was just asking James about it a few days ago. Thanks for the post! <3

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  2. Awesome. I was just thinking about this. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I avoid all artificial sweeteners with the exception of the occasional WF pancake syrup fix..... what r your thoughts on that?

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  3. I believe the majority of the human diet should come from plants, not chemicals. I cringe when I see people who drink a soda or two every day, diet or otherwise. People who follow IIFYM might be hitting their macros, but they are missing out on the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that come from real food! Our bodies need those things to synthesize muscle and carry out other important biological processes. If you want your body to perform at it's best capacity and avoid health problems, I say clean eating is the way to go. Great topic!

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  4. Oh my gosh. I had never heard of this before, I just looked it up and I'm stunned. This is as bad as the 8-hour diet. It doesn't even promote healthy eating, let alone clean eating. And since when is clean eating BLAND!?! Ridiculous. I'm almost upset that this exists. What's the point of trying to look good if you're not healthy? I can't imagine trying to push heavy weights all fueled up with pop tarts. I'm likely even more biased because I don't eat to hit any sort of macros. I find with a proper clean diet, hitting good macros happens naturally and there's no need to stress about it.

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  5. Right on, I so agree with you. IIFYM sounds a lot like Weight Watchers- so long as you are within your points, it doesn't matter what you eat. I can tell you from personal experience, sure, caloric restriction will work- but only to a point. Ultimately you will damage your metabolism and it will become harder and harder to lose or maintain your weight. After plateuing for 6+ weeks, being constantly hungry and feeling deprived, I knew I had to eat better- more protein, more healthy fats, and less processed crap. What do you know- I lost fat, gained lean muscle, and now it's so much easier for me to eat what I want (I'm probably 80/20 clean) and maintain my weight because I have a healthy metabolism and eat real foods that nourish and fuel my body! Love your blog!!

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  6. OMG I just went to IIFYM.com and I’m shocked! I really can't believe there are fitness competitors that follow this! What kind of role model is that!? eating clean is FAR FAR FAR from bland!! They just are too lazy to get creative in the kitchen! UUUUUUUGH!!

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  7. I'm not sure you did enough research on this....look up Layne Norton. The purpose of IIFYM is not to "eat what you want" all day....you also have to have a certain amount of fiber in your diet, which obviously you cannot get from eating junk food all day. It's to make this more of a lifestyle by incorporating the foods you love. Sure, some people get carried away and take IIFYM as "eat junk all day long" but that is not the majority.

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    1. I don't need to look him up because I follow him closely and have read everything he has to say about this, but thanks for the suggestion. I know the purpose isn't to eat junk food all day, that's why I stated just that above. I also know about the fiber factor which is why I mentioned you will likely have to eat healthy to meet your macros anyway. Maybe you should re read what I wrote because I feel like we are agreeing here but I sense some hostility! ;)

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  8. ^^agree with Meg. For some, clean eating is not as easy as it is for little B. a lot of people binge when they get to their cheat meal, so if they add in a little "cheat" treat a couple times a week and that keeps them from binging - great! layne norton is incredibly intelligent in this field - he has youtube, a website, FB, IG... follow him. he explains it all very well.

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    1. I already do as I mentioned to Meg. I don't really think it's possible to do research on this and not know about Layne. And I completely agree with you, if a middle of the road approach is what works then that's great. That's why I closed this blog saying exactly that.

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    2. Luvena CervantesJuly 18, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      jackuhlynn MRK And MEG

      What little b is trying to get across is that there are people who take IIFYM to EXTREMES and use it as a crutch/excuse to eat CRAP. These are the same people that whine and complain when they don't see results and wonder why? I can guarantee you that Layne Norton's kitchen is not filled with pop tarts, pizza, ice cream ect... And she did say that we all have to find a balance and plan that works best for us. So whether you choose Clean Eating or IIFYM I believe you can find a healthy balance.

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    3. i just want to say nothing was to be derogatory towards you, little b. i'm an avid follower, have been for a long time. i was directing my comment more towards others who seem un-informed about iifym. you've clearly expressed you have no need or tastes for cheat meals and i admire that, i wish i could say that. i felt like others above were making comments before they really knew what they were commenting on.

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  9. Lane Norton is extremely knowledgeable and changing the way we have been trained to think in the past regarding nutrition. Such as eating every 2-3 hours. Research is proved it doesn't matter how many meal you have it based on calorie in vs calorie out. I wish people would start to explore what works for them, personally, not what so and so said. People need to stop looking at others fit people word "as bible' and find what works for them. Many people eat pop tarts post workout, it may not be what Little B does, but some might say it might help curve a craving and prevent a binge. Do what is best for YOU!!

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    1. Completely agree, which is why I have ALWAYS preached that you need to do what's best for you. Thanks for the reinforcement :)

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  10. I don't think "Little B" said "don't eat pop tarts ever" or "don't do what works for you." What I read in her post was simply cautioning people from going too far with this way of thinking... and also making the case that the micro-nutrients we get from foods are every bit as important as the macros.... when we lose the focus on overall health and are primarily focusing only on exterior aesthetic that is not a very wise outlook for the long run. OVERALL health is the goal. Will eating a pop tart derail that, NO. Will getting 3/4 of your nutrients from artificial and processed foods? YES.

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  11. Luvena CervantesJuly 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Great job girl!!!! Well said. I agree that IIFYM themselves are not promoting to eat 'junk foods' but to eat a good balance of foods that fit your macros on a daily basis. Like any other life style choice there are going to be those that take things to extremes. In my personal opinion people are flocking to IIFYM as an excuse to eat whatever that heck they want and still be able get the physique they desire. If that is what they want to believe so be it. I on the other hand like you have found my balance with clean eating and LOVE this way of eating. It is what makes me feel good and helps my performance in and out of the gym. You won't see me chowing down pop tarts or TWINKIES (lol thats a whole other story) anytime soon.

    Oh and James got back to me as well on the subject and I believe he would be very impressed with the way to addressed this ;0).

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  12. you say its best not to eat processed foods, etc. but when you do your whey shakes- don't they contain chemicals that cause cancer. I've seen many of your posts that include artificial ingredients- that wreak havoc on the system. Your body may need to cleanse.

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    1. I never said I was perfect, in fact I said I think the middle of the road approach is best. There are not many things I eat on a daily basis with artificial ingredients, a majority of what I eat is lean meats, nuts, fruits, veggies, and oats. I didn't know the clean eating police would be after me!

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  13. Jackiebeil- are you a doctor or a nurse trained in disease prevention? No? Okay, then HUSH your mouth!

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  14. i never even knew what this was till recently and i dont even track macros. personally i would go insane without my wine a couple days a week and dessert the same. i am a mom of 2 young kids and life is HARD> i enjoy relaxing with my husband and having a drink.

    i admire that you don't want cheat meals, and i do get why not, but for me that seems completely unrealistic. another thing for me is artificial sweeteners. i know they are present in some of my protein powders but i would rather get 30 cals from sugar then put truvia, etc in my body.

    the main reason i chose to start eating clean and change my life is bc my mom has alzheimers disease and was diagnosed at 54 years old. she is now 62 and in a nursing home. i am trying to live my life without eating the stuff my mom did (mainly artificial sweeteners bc she lived on nutrasweet and yo yo diets) bc no one knows why she is sick and i think it was partly do to her lifestyle.

    anyway! i want to thank you for your blog. it really made a change in my life bc i learned that eating clean is YUMMY. and i love it. i just need an ice cream here and there lol. to each their own but tons of crap no matter what macros it fits it is bad news.

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  15. I don't know how I just saw this but I am SO ANNOYED with this as well. Where the heck did it come from and why is it "the thing to do" now? I don't get it. I think I need a social media break...good thing we head to Montana for 2 weeks soon!

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