HELLOOOOOOOOO everyone!!!! ALRIGHT so I am SUPER DUPER psyched to be writing to you today about the mystical, magical IIFYM! I’m sure you’ve heard this term many times all over social media, that you have read about it, seen others doing it, been curious, been confused, been intrigued… well I’m here today to try and explain to you to the best of my abilities what is IIFYM and how it’s been working SO FAR for ME.
First I want to make a few things very clear: this is all information I’ve gathered from doing my own research, following others on social media and learning from them, my own trial and error, my own ideas and experiments on my own body, from years of trying out different ways of eating. I do not claim to know everything, I do not claim to have it all down to a science, I am not a nutritionist, I don’t have any degree in nutrition at all, I don’t create meal plans and I don’t want anyone taking my word as 100% truth and reality for anyone but MYSELF (and even at that, I am ALWAYS learning and always a work in progress). I am just a girl who LOVES to read, to do research, to understand new things, to learn, to try, to experiment. All my knowledge is from my own research, and all I wish to do is pass on WHAT I KNOW, WHAT I DO, WHAT I TRY because I LOVE helping people! I know what it’s like to need help and advice and not know where to turn, and I want to be the person who will help you as much as I absolutely can!
I’m writing this today to inform you all about what I’m doing now, and hoping to shed some light onto the subject and hopefully guide others in a direction that would work for them! Got it? 🙂 My blog and all of my other social media outlets are a place of peace, love, motivation and all things good. I don’t want any negativity and any judgement towards me or anyone else on my pages! I promote SELF LOVE and BEING TRUE TO YOU ALWAYS. What works for someone may not work for someone else! But I really want to share this with you because THIS might be what you’ve been looking for all along! Give it a try if you’d like! If it isn’t for you, that’s fine, too 🙂 Just be nice and remember we’re all different!
OKAY let’s get startedddd! ❤
First, a little bit more about my experience with eating: I’ve done the restrictive eating: no carbs followed by ONLY carbs followed by a day of 500 calories followed by a day of 3000. I’ve had my bouts of binges. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 15, and battled the battle with food just as any teenager has. I’ve been confused, I’ve gotten upset, I’ve hated myself, I got out of it. I realized that FOOD DOES NOT CONTROL MY HAPPINESS. My body does not control my happiness. MY HAPPINESS depends on ME, self love is ENDLESS and ETERNAL and magical – this is the key to my weight loss and fitness success, I truly believe that. I believe with ALL MY HEART that we can’t get ANYWHERE with a negative and self-loathing attitude. The key to successful, sustainable fat loss and a ripped, healthy, toned body and healthy and beautiful mind is SELF LOVE. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, LOVE YOURSELF FIRST and the rest will follow. Trust me. Learn as much as you can, read as much as you can, ask questions, be bold, do research, experiment, try new things, keep evolving, don’t get stuck or set in your ways, venture out and make new discoveries, share your dreams and passions, share your experiences, ASK QUESTIONS, READ BOOKS, ASK QUESTIONS, READ BOOKS.
IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros.
I got introduced to IIFYM through Instagram (of course!). The only people I saw following this lifestyle was doing it in a way I could NEVER see myself living: eating dirty food laden with added sugar, preservatives, chemical sweeteners, artificial flavors, fillers… IIFYM, to me, seemed like an excuse to eat like crap but still get a ripped body. SURE, the science backs it up: macronutrients are CARBS, FAT and PROTEIN. Every food is comprised of these 3 macronutrients. The ratio of these that you get in your food will determine your body composition, and will build your body in a beautiful way, if you follow the right percentages for your specific body and needs. The basis of IIFYM is if the food you wish to eat fit your macronutrient ratios, you can eat it. Anything that “fits your macros” goes. This means if a McDonald’s cheeseburger followed by 2 PopTarts fits, then go ahead and eat it! This is ALL I saw about it, and I was appalled. I pushed the idea of ever following this lifestyle away. I am a clean eater, and I LOVE being a clean eater. I love wholesome, fresh, juicy fruit. I love crisp, hearty vegetables. I love eating organic, I love going grocery shopping at my health food store and the farmers market. I don’t like the way I feel when I eat over-processed and sugary foods, it makes me sick and I feel hungover for days. I don’t like the addictive feeling of those foods either, so I can’t ever imagine living off of them! I understand that the “macros” fit, but what about MICRONUTRIENTS and VITAMINS and MINERALS? What about the IMPORTANT stuff, the stuff that keeps your insides running clean and smooth? The stuff that builds your muscle mass, the stuff that feeds your organs, the stuff that keeps your heart unclogged and pumping fresh, clean blood? What about the stuff that KEEPS YOU ALIVE?! Sure, eating like CRAP can make you ripped and sexy “if it fits your macros”, but how fit and sexy are your insides? Remember – chemical additives, processed sugar, white flour and other crap like that is TOXIC, CARCINOGENIC and ADDICTIVE. It is not FOOD. It is not FUEL. It is a science experiment, and I don’t know about you, but I want to live a full and healthy life. I don’t want to just LOOK healthy, I want to BE HEALTHY FOREVER!
My friend Melissa is just as fitness and health obsessed as I am. We have conversations for HOURS about healthy eating, working out, making meals, how to help others, what we saw on IG, etc etc etc. She’s an omnivore and I’m vegan, and while we have that difference in lifestyle choice, we magically fit together and create amazing things together. We got to a point, though, where we both felt like we were missing something. We’d be talking about food without excitement. We weren’t getting the results we hoped with our workouts and extreme dedication to eating clean, 5-6 meals a day, perfectly timed. For me, it started feeling like a chore just to eat my food. It started getting VERY repetitive, I felt lost, no more creativity, even my salads started to make me nauseous just thinking about them. Something was off. It was time for a BIG CHANGE. A new venture, a new challenge. Melissa decided to start IIFYM, but in a cleaner way. I already wrote it off because, as a vegan, I didn’t think it could work for me. It’s easier as an omnivore, there are many more choices of pure protein: lean meat, fish, eggs and egg whites, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese… Most vegan sources of protein are more carb or fat than pure protein: beans (carb), lentils (carb), nuts (fat). But then I saw Melissa leaning out, performing harder and better in her workouts, I saw her really embracing and LOVING this way of living. “It’s such a sustainable way to live! I could eat like this forever! I don’t feel restricted, I could eat whatever I want! No more worrying if I ate too much, if I ate too little, feeling fat, being confused” is what she told me. And I was like, OH MY GOSH… I NEED TO GIVE THIS A TRY!
I calculated my macros on IIFYM.COM. While they give you grams, I decided to make it MUCH easier on myself and work with percentages. I already track my food intake on the MyFitnessPal app, so I’m used to that. It made it easier. I changed my macro percentages (you can only do this online, not through the app itself) to what IIFYM told me. I was skeptical at first because I didn’t think I could get that much protein, and I was scared of feeling deprived or “restricting” my carbs. I didn’t want any more restrictive diets! BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, OVERRRRRR ITTTTT.
WELL, AU CONTRAIRE! Day 1 of IIFYMVEGAN went BEAUTIFULLY. Somehow, by the grace of God, everything I ate that day FIT MY MACROS. It was SERIOUSLY the MAGICAL MEETING OF THE MACROS! Everything seemed to fall magically into place, and at the end of the day, I was so satisfied, I was not hungry, I was not bloated, I had no gas, no stomach pains, and, get this, I had A SUPER FLAT STOMACH right before bed. CRAZY, right? At the risk of over-sharing, for the past few months I’ve been having some bloating/gas problems not fun. I removed so many foods from my diet because I thought they were the culprits, and I was left with… not much to work with. Well, day 1 on IIFYM, I ate ALL these foods… day 2 as well… day 3… and NO GAS NO BLOATING. WTF RIGHT?! I KNOW!!! HOW??? Well, I believe that following my macronutrient ratio is fuelling my body in a great and sustainable way. I’m eating different foods, a more varied diet. I’m combining my foods in better ways, and not eating too much fruit at night or after meals, which I used to do a LOT. See, while fruit is a MIRACLE food and SO AMAZING AND YUMMY, it digests super quickly. When you mix it in with other foods, it sort of gets “stuck” in your gut and ferments… causing pain and gas. Gross, yes, but true. Now that I figured that out, my life is so much easier! I usually eat ALL my fruit in the morning (no complaints here!) and it’s been a breeze 😉
How do I love IIFYM? I LOVE IT! I LOOOOOVE IT! While I do keep it to clean whole foods 80-90% of the time, I feel like this is a super flexible and forgiving way to live my life. I enjoy my fruit, my salads, my soups, my protein puddings and shakes as per usual, but I can also enjoy a “naughtier” treat whenever I wish, as long as it fits my macros and NOT feel guilty about it. I never feel guilt about food anymore. I don’t feel the need to binge because I don’t restrict! I eat EVERYTHING: fruit, veggies, beans, protein powders (mmmmm), cookies, brownies, chips, nut butter (OH YES YES YES!!!!), oats (MMMMMMMMMM did I say MMMMM?!), pancakes, waffles, maple syrup, nuts, seeds, root veggies, chocolate, tofu, tempeh, seitan, sprouted grains, daiya… EVERYTHINGGGG and it is AMAZING. I still avoid added sugar and processed “foods” with 50 billion ingredients. You’ll never see me living off PopTarts, Rice Krispie treats and Cocoa Puffs! But, if I want a snack, I’ll have a snack! I ALWAYS make sure it’s vegan, of course, and ALWAYS make sure it has ONLY ingredients I can pronounce. I usually make my own treaties, but I also get my VeganCuts snackbox once a month filled with delicious treats that I otherwise would consider “CHEATS” which I enjoy now without guilt.
I believe in BALANCE. If you put too much stress on being “perfect” (which doesn’t exist, BTW), that’s no good. STRESS is the cause of 99% of illnesses, did you know?! SO STOP STRESSING OUT! Eating and living IIFYM has removed a HUGE weight off my shoulders. I feel freedom, more freedom than I’ve never felt towards food. Yes, I have to make sure I’m hitting my macros, but it comes with time and I don’t feel the need to be perfect at it either, especially since I’m just starting out. I take it a day at a time, a meal at time. I eat what I please, when I please. It satisfies me and makes me happy and full and healthy. I feel balanced. I feel like my body is getting exactly what she needs and has been begging me for!
A change is ALWAYS good, even if it doesn’t work, because you learn something new. Your body is an amazing machine, learn to treat it that way! When it gets so used to something, it gets lazy and stops working. Spark it up! Ignite it! Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t, but I can tell ya what won’t work – what you’ve been doing all along that’s been getting you NOWHERE! How can you move on, how can you improve in your fitness or health or ANYTHING for that matter, if you keep doing the same old thing that isn’t working anymore? Throw away all your doubts and fears and jump into something new. Who knows, maybe it’ll be amazing!
SO NOW WHAT, you ask? I know I’ve ranted for what seems like ages (I’ve actually been typing this post for almost an hour!), and I hope you’ve gotten some insight into how I believe IIFYM should be done and how it works and how amazing it is! Here’s what to do to get yourself started on this new journey:
– Go to iifym.com and read all the info there. Use the calculators and figure out your own personal macronutrient needs. Follow the grams if you wish, or calculate it into a percentage like I do.
– Download the MyFitnessPal app on your iPhone, iPod or iPad (or use the website). Customize your settings online: fix your macronutrient ratios, fix your caloric needs, your exercise, etc.
– USE the app DAILY. I usually add in all my foods I know I’ll be eating (such as my protein puddings, my preworkout oats, my Shakeology and some fruit) the day before and see how my macros are. Depending on what I’m missing, I’ll figure out my meals either the day before (usually) or that day. I like to plan, but sometimes I like to freestyle, too.
– BE FLEXIBLE. That’s the beauty of IIFYM. There’s no need to freak out over “planning” your meals or anything. If the wind takes you to a restaurant, EAT AT THE DAMN RESTAURANT. If your friend brings over some food or you’re invited for dinner, EAT THE DAMN FOOD! I don’t need to worry about packing my meals all the time or refusing dinner when my mom makes it because I HAVEEEEE to eat “MY FOOD”. If you want some fries, EAT SOME FRIES (then have something healthier later!). MODERATION, FLEXIBILITY, BALANCE, HAPPINESS!
– Go grocery shopping!
– EXPERIMENT with new recipes and new ingredients. Find blogs and Instagram accounts to follow who post delicious food and make some new recipes.
– Make sure to enter everything into MFP and log your food EVERY DAY. THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you want to make this work, make it TRULY work and SEE the results, you need to be logging in everything. If you don’t already do this, it takes time to get used to and to remember. It can seem daunting, but trust me, it becomes second nature. It’s important to your success and your results, so just suck it up and do it. For me, it’s so much fun!!!!
– Follow other IIFYMers, but err on the side of caution. Many of these people eat dirty. This is not ideal. As I’ve expressed a billion times, it’s not about LOOKING GOOD – it’s about HEALTH and VITALITY. Eat clean, get lean, get healthy.
I REALLY hope this helped clarify IIFYM & clean eating for you! PHEW! I’m all worded out! More posts coming REALLY SOON and MORE FREQUENTLY (I PROMISE). I will be writing up a list of my fave foods and brands that are good for macros. I’ll be writing more recipes & more ideas as well.
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! If you have any suggestions for posts I should have in the future, or if anything needs clarification, please leave your feedback here in the comments. I want to make sure to cover all my bases, and as this subject has a LOT packed into it, I may have missed something in passing. Your feedback and questions are always welcomed! Just please, keep it kind and sweet 🙂
HAVE A FREAKEN AWESOME DAY, everyone, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for following me and allowing me into your lives! SO MUCH LOVE!