IIFYM verse Flexible Dieting

I’ve become resentful of “IIFYM.”

I made a post on my Instagram (embedded below) highlighting an issue I had when using IIFYM (if it fits your macros). I love the idea of flexible dieting, and still, encourage the approach with my clients, but I am much more careful how I introduce the concept.

When I began flexible dieting, I was fresh off a clean eating plan and numerous competitions. My diet was anything but flexible. I never used my provided exchange sheet and ate the same thing for each of my six meals for longer than I can believe. I started with swapping out a few items. I allowed myself to have whole grain bread, cereal, Eggo waffles (love them!), and fruit besides berries. The minor changes focusing on nutritious foods worked well for me- I got the variety that I desired. I planned my day in advance. I created my meal plan and changed it weekly.

Slowly, over time, and with reverse dieting, I had more macros to toy with and went to the dark side. (hoping my sarcasm/ exaggerating tendencies come through the blog) Before long, I was saving all my carbs and fats to splurge on low-quality food (junk food). I’d make it through a day eating mostly junk (getting my protein from egg whites and protein powder to hoard carbs and fats), see my progress hadn’t changed (same weight on the scale, look the same, my arm didn’t fall off), and think “victory!”

It caught up to me, though, and I felt the consequences of taking advantage of IIFYM.

I was hungry more often
I experienced more frequent cravings
I was tired
I had more instances of going over my macros
I was constantly manipulating things in My Fitness Pal and thinking about food
I experienced negative changes in my mood
I experienced heightened PMS symptoms

I realized I took it too far. I’ve now reverted to having planned treats in moderation. It helps to make the decision beforehand when you indulge- much less mentally taxing than considering it all day long, every single day. I am focusing on micronutrients instead of just macros. I’m less of a “what can I get away with” eater and more of a “how do I want to feel after this meal” eater.

I have noticed positive changes incorporating a flexible approach with high-quality foods and planning my indulges.

I’ve strengthened my willpower
I’m hungry less often
I have fewer cravings
I have increased energy
I have less frequent mood changes (three cheers for stable emotions!)
I have fewer instances of frustration
I experience bloating less often
I am more able to adhere to my plan

It is a slippery slope with “if it fits your macros.” For me, I needed to strike a balance where I still have cake at my kiddo’s birthday party, but I don’t have a piece each of the following days “because it fits.”

I finally don’t care if I have enough macros to eat an entire cake, because now, even if I could, I choose not to.

I challenge you to take a look at your Fitness Pal (or other tracking application if you are a flexible dieter) and take note of your “frequent” foods. If they are low quality, think about how you can focus on micros, too.

My latest breakfast obsession 😍 – I have to be honest, I have become resentful of the “IIFYM” term. While I love flexible dieting, IIFYM gives the impression of being able to eat anything that fits your macros. While that works for some people, it caused me to “save” as many carbs and fats each day for low quality foods. I would never have eaten that avocado 😂 – By doing this, I wasn’t feeding my body properly, wasn’t feeling as great, and was taking full advantage of the permission IIFYM gave me to eat junk food. – Things that happened to me when I used too many macros for low quality items: ❌I increased my cravings for sweets ❌I was hungry more often ❌I went over my macros more often because of the hunger and cravings ❌I experienced changes in my mood (not for the better) ❌I experienced heightened PMS symptoms – What I’ve experienced going back to planning to have my favorite foods in moderation verse figuring out “how to make it fit” when I see something appealing: ✔️I’ve strengthened my willpower. Making a decision and not wavering is much less mentally taxing. ✔️I’m less hungry. ✔️I have less cravings. ✔️I have more energy ✔️I am more able to adhere to my plan – Notice, in both these examples, I am not focusing on aesthetics. Is it possible to achieve the same aesthetic result hitting your macros with whatever food choices? Minus bloating and inflammation, I’m sure you could. Im also not saying you shouldn’t have anything you desire. Im saying, for me, I was making a habit of eating junk every single day and that was increasing my cravings- not keeping them at bay. – When you diet flexibly, are you fitting junk in just because you can? Are you changing up what you planned to eat that day to make random things fit and find yourself going over your macros? Are you constantly thinking about food and how to manipulate things in My Fitness Pal? Do you have long conversations in your mind about how to eat something off plan and still adhere? – If you answered yes to these, you might want to consider changing things up 💕 #mealplanning #micros #flexibledieting

A post shared by KAREY NORTHINGTON IFBB PRO (@karey_northington) on