Apparently IIFYM (if it fits your macros) has been all the craze lately in the fitness realm; however, many people don't understand what IIFYM is or how it can help them reach their fitness goals. Now let me just state, I am not a personal trainer or certified nutrition coach, I just wanted to put down on paper my experience and journey using IIFYM.
So what is IIFYM: its an acronym for if it fits your macros. Macros are carbs, fats and proteins. Each food item you consume is made up of macros. 1 gram of carbs = 4k/cal, 1 gram of protein = 4k/cal and 1 gram of fat = 9k/cal. Depending on your daily allowance of grams for each macronutrient, it will add up to an allotted amount of calories per day. This daily allowance is based off of your own personal/fitness goals whether its to maintain, lose, or gain. The goal is to hit your specific macro numbers each day. Now that you got a VERY Very short, non detailed description, we can into my experience.
My journey: Prior to macro counting, I would eat in moderation, meaning I would eat healthy foods throughout the day but in all honestly probably in too small of amounts (restriction of calories). This left me deprived and wanting unhealthy food especially on the weekends, which I would allow myself to have such as burgers or Mexican but I would eat very small calorie foods prior to "make up" for the junk food. I was tired of my lack of progress in the muscle department and sick of my weight fluctuations. As I was scrolling through instagram, I noticed a lot of people were talking and using IIFYM. They had my "goal" body and eating all this great food and a lot of it, so I was immediately interested. In winter, I tried to figure out my own macro numbers and that was an epic failure on my part since I had no idea what I was really doing and I actually ended up gaining about 5-7 pounds, which was frustrating. So I went back to my old ways and back down to my "normal" weight. Then I decided to do a one month trial with a nutrition coach, hoping she could find my maintenance and possibly start cutting (eating in a calorie deficit). We somewhat found my maintenance and by that I mean my weight did fluctuate about 2-3 pounds higher than my normal. So after that month I was debating what to do, whether to try this macro thing on my own or pay a nutrition coach for a longer period of time. In the end, I decided to join Katie (www.katiesfitscript.com) where I officially started this macro journey at the beginning of June 2015.
In the beginning we tried to do a slow cut by minimally tweaking my macros to help weight loss but keeping the most amount of food as possible. After two months of very minimal changes, I asked for a hard cut, which meant more of a caloric deficit. After about 2.5-3 weeks of hitting my macros perfectly and hitting my workouts, the scale was barely changing (which was not suppose to be happening-it was suppose to be moving more). However, my body composition completely changed, which for me was my muscles grew and replaced my fat so I did appear more toned than I previously was even though the scale is the devil and didn't reflect this progress, thankfully pictures did! That's why always take progress photos and even measurements. When I checked in today, wondering if my macros were going to be lowered (keep in mind they were already pretty low), we decided that my metabolism needed some good old TLC and needed to rebuild before trying to cut again. Therefore, we decided to reverse diet.
Reverse dieting is slowly increasing calories (macros) over time to help rebuild your metabolic function more efficiently and effectively. In other words you get to eat more food and who doesn't love that! We are reversing me at a slow rate to help my body adapt to using more calories without packing on the pounds (at least thats the goal).
So today is officially the first day of my reverse diet journey. This week my carbs have been increased by 5g per day and let me just tell you, I am super nervous. I'm nervous because even though I haven't reached my goal yet I have made some small progress and I don't want all my hard work to go to waste. This macros process isn't all fun food and results, its time consuming, draining, hard work, and needs consistency. Even though it has been extremely frustrating during the cut, I need to continually remind myself that I am eating more food than I ever have, I have no restrictions on food or weird food rules, and this isn't an overnight fix. Some of these fitness ladies have been utilizing IIFYM for years, whereas I have only been doing this for about 3 months. Overall, it has been a learning experience and a step in increasing my overall health and well-being.
I will continue to post updates about how my reverse diet is going and open up to the downfalls (hopefully minimal) and triumphs of this extremely nerve racking process for me. So stay tuned!