I know, some of you are like, "What in the world does 'IIFYM' even MEAN?!"
It's just another abbreviation used my the fitness world to describe a certain nutritional lifestyle. It stands for If It Fits Your Macros. Basically, it allows you to eat whatever you want (yes, even fast food), as long as it fits within your allotted calories and macronutrients for the day.
Just like with any other diet, there are some pros and cons. Honestly, I don't practice IIFYM, but that's just a personal preference! I wanted to take a minute to break those down for you so that you can choose for yourself whether or not this is something you want to adapt in your own fitness journey.
-Encourages you to focus on the amount of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs) you are actually taking in. All three of these are essential in supporting daily bodily functions, as well as aiding in muscle growth. Many times, people focus solely on caloric intake, but don't eat enough macronutrients ("macros", for short) to support lean muscle growth, which in turn promotes more fat burning (score!). I am all for knowing how many calories and macros your body needs to perform at it's best and promote lean muscle gain, and I recommend all of my clients use the My Fitness Pal app to track their daily intake. This not only keeps you accountable, but also helps you to reach your "magic number" (the number of calories/macros that your body performs best at) every day.
-Allows you more flexibility in what you eat. This is helpful when you're going on vacations, enjoy eating out a lot, or have to stick to a strict food budget. It also allows you to have more variety, if you're the type of person who doesn't like to eat the same thing a couple of times a week.
-Does not follow "clean eating" principles. This means that you are allowed to put those same chemicals, preservatives, and hard-to-digest foods (gluten and dairy) into your body. Yes, it's true that some people don't have the same reactions to certain foods (bloating, gas, fatigue, headaches, etc.). However, they are still at risk of developing cancers and other medical issues down the road if they continue to consume these types of ingredients.
-May limit seeing progress. Like I said, not everyone has issues with bloating, gas, etc. after eating certain foods. But the majority of us women do! Chances are good that if we indulge in a container of salty french fries, an enormous burger, or a brownie sundae, we're going to feel like poo. Our pants will be too tight, we'll have indigestion, and it may interrupt certain bodily "functions" for a few days. If we ate like that every day, we would be hindering seeing any progress that's hiding underneath all the bloat/water weight! I don't know about you, but I like to see those nice lean muscles and be able to fit into my pants every day!
-High in unhealthy fats, salt, and refined carbs. People who follow this type of nutritional lifestyle don't typically focus on the quality of fats and carbs they are eating. If they want to swing through the drive through and grab something fried---and they have the calories and fat grams left to do so---then they will! But in the process, they're also consuming more trans fat (the bad kind of fat found mostly in fried foods), salt, and refined carbs (those that will more likely be stored as fat than used for energy).
Well there you have it! I hope this post helped to explain this "diet" that has become so popular in the last year or so. Now that you know a little bit more about it, you can make an educated decision as to whether or not IIFYM is for you!