Flexible dieting ( IIFYM – If it fits your macros )
A lot of people who want to get in shape, lose weight, build muscle or in general want to change their physique for the better, decide to go on a diet, usually a unsustainable diet where they restrict certain foods from their diet or force feed themselves to reach their body composition goal. Personally I don’t believe in ”diets”, I believe in permanent change, and to make a permanent change you have to form new habits that you are capable of following full time. Flexible dieting makes this very easy and sustainable since you don’t have to restrict any type of foods from your diet. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose weight or build muscle, when you’re on a flexible diet you simply adjust your macros to fit the goal you want to reach.
What is flexible dieting?
Flexible dieting is the counting of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins).
Basically this means you can eat almost anything you want as long as it fits in your macronutrients goals for the day, for example, if you need to get in 100 grams of carbs in a meal, it doesn’t matter if these carbs come from brown rice or donuts. Or if you need to get in 20 grams of fat, it doesn’t matter if you get the fat from fries or salmon. Of course, from a health point of view it would not be optimal to only eat donuts and fries, the idea of flexible dieting is to make lifestyle changes easier.
By doing flexible dieting you can still have some chocolate and enjoy a beer once in a while without failing on your diet and still get the results you want when it comes to your body composition.
Benefits of flexible dieting
1. Easy to follow – Since there are no types of foods that are off limits, you can easily sustain your eating habits since you are able to fit your favorite foods into your diet.
2. Learning – Since you have to start tracking your food intake and count macronutrients you will automatically better your understanding of nutrition and different foods.
3. Sosial life – A lot of times when people are dieting it affects their social life, when you’re on a strict diet with food restrictions you can’t go out to eat, you hesitate to go to parties and other social events because you have to fight temptation everywhere. With flexible dieting this is no longer as much of a issue, you can still enjoy a meal at a restaurant or a peace of cake at a party, you can even enjoy some alcohol as long as you pay attention to your macro intake.
4. Psychological relief- When you’re constantly forcing yourself to eat foods you don’t really like and never allow yourself any treats, it can be very stressful, and when you at some point end up failing your strict and boring diet you beat yourself up in your head and feel like a total failure. When you are following flexible dieting you don’t have this problem since you are allowed to enjoy your dirty pleasure foods due to the fact that no foods are off limit.
How to start flexible dieting
The first thing you need to do is to calculate your macros to fit your desired goal.
When you have found your macronutrient needs you have to start fitting you foods into them by counting the macros in the foods you consume, you can do this by using an app, like ”MyFitnessPal” and you can weigh your food and count the macros according to the nutrition label.
Since I started living by IIFYM myself, reaching my fitness goals and sticking to my eating plans has become very easy. Most of the time I choose foods that benefits my health, but once in I while I enjoy some chocolate and burgers and still end up reaching my desired diet goals at the end of the day.
If you want to know more about nutrition and how to calculate your macro needs you can check out the ”nutrition needs” section of my ”the basics of building muscle” post.