Fitness, food

IIFYM – The beauty of flexible eating…

It’s 10am at work, the biscuits have been cracked open, and your trying your hardest not to cave in. You’ve had breakfast, your not supposed to be feeling hungry? Yet these…

‘I’ll just have one.’

‘Ok, one more.’

‘Ah I’ve ruined my diet anyway, I might aswell splurge for the rest of the day.’

What if I told you, there’s a way to eat biscuits, or cake, or chocolate and STILL LOSE WEIGHT. Yes, you did hear me right!

IIFYM (If it fits your macros), or as it’s also known, flexible eating is the split of the three major macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) needed to fuel the body each day. These are calculated from your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), and are altered to meet your goals, weight gain, maintenance or weight loss.

**Find how to calculate your macros at the end of this blog.

Everyone knows the body needs nutrients to survive, but do you understand what each protein, carbohydrates and fats does for your body?

  • Protein – It is a crucial form of amino acids that the body needs to contribute towards repair and recovery. For anyone undertaking any form of sport, a higher level of protein is required, as you are effectively tearing your muscle fibres apart during the exercise. For people who require an extremely high level of protein, they can struggle to get this from eating normal foods, that is where protein shakes, bars and supplements can come in handy, as they are easily digested forms with high protein intake. When mixed with carbohydrates your body finds it easier to absorb and turn into a muscle mass.
  • Carbohydrates – Let me start by saying carbohydrates are not bad! They are the bodies main source for energy, without them you will feel lethargic, have low energy and more likely to snack. There are two forms of carbs, simple and complex. Simple carbs digest quickly into the body, these are normally things like biscuits, sweets, cookies, which explains why these foods never seem to fill you up. Whereas complex carbs are digested slowly, foods such as pasta, bread, oats or rice. They will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Carbohydrates are essential for exercise as they are the muscles main source of energy, and also aid towards recovery.
  • Fats – Eating fats will not make you fat. Eating your daily allowance of fats aids the body with absorbing certain nutrients, it’s crucial for heart function and the communication of body cells. There are four types of fats, saturated fats, unsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are considered the healthiest fat source, normally found in meats, cheese, butter, eggs etc. Unsaturated fats are found in oils, avocado or peanuts. Polysaturated fats are found in foods such as nuts and seeds. And trans fats are the worst type of fats, these are normally found in fast food, fried food and cakes etc.

So your daily allowance of protein, carbohydrates and fats are joined to create your IIFYM plan. With this style of plan, it means your life isn’t defined by ‘chicken and rice’ for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can choose to either eat four biscuits, or a big bowl of pasta. If you are going out for a meal, you can choose to eat a high protein / low carb breakfast and lunch, so you can eat a high carb meal for dinner. It’s all about balance.

And it doesn’t need to be boring! Here’s an example of my dinner tonight:

Prawn and Chorizo tomato and basil pasta:

  • 100g prawns
  • Half a chorizo sausage (small)
  • 100g chopped tomatoes
  • 40g wholewheat pasta
  • 20g low fat cheese
  • Onions / mushrooms / tomatoes / oregano / salt and pepper

So this was tasty, filling and enjoyable. Here is my macro-nutrient split:

  • Calories – 415
  • Protein – 36
  • Carbohydrates – 30
  • Fat – 16

My daily allowance of macros are currently set at, 1500 calories, 118 protein, 118 carbs, 62 fats. Which means I had around an average split between breakfast, lunch, dinner and a homemade protein bar for a snack. **(Please do not follow these macros, each set of macros are worked on your individual weight, height and activity level. You can work yours out below).

So you’ve calculated your macros, how do I track them?

I use an app called myfitnesspal, it is available on all apple / android phones and i’m pretty sure it’s free to download. You can enter in your macro goals, and then enter in the food as you eat it. With a barcode scanner, it makes it even easier to find which product you have, and most restaurant chains seem to be on there too. Scales are essential to hitting your goals. If you are new to following macros, weigh out everything you eat so you can get used to portion sizes, eventually you may be able to weigh it out using eyesight, but until then make sure it counts!

You enter in your food, the amount in g / ml / servings etc, and then it subtracts it from your daily goal. This make it easy to keep on track and see how much you have remaining.

Tip – If I know what I am going to have for dinner, I make sure to track it earlier on in the day, so I know what I can have for lunch without going over.

How to track your macros

  • You can calculate your macros using the calculator below:

Alternatively you can calculate your macros yourself, Flexible dieting gives a good run through of how to do this:

How to lose weight?

So the theory to losing weight is simple, consume less calories than you burn = weight loss, consume more calories than you burn = weight gain. Being in a calorie deficit, (consuming less calories than burning) will be the aim to losing weight. Following a macro structured food plan, along with added cardio sessions will have you dropping pounds in no time.

Any questions, send me a message!



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