‘If It Fits Your Macros’ (IIFYM) is a very popular diet for all the wrong reasons.
It may seem like an easy-to-follow and flexible diet, but the reality is that it is slowly killing gut bacteria and causing serious digestive issues in the long term.
Table of Contents
- What is IIFYM
- Why IIFYM Doesn't Work
- Reasons to Avoid the Diet
- Follow Simple Food Hygiene
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What is IIFYM?
IIFYM is a diet plan that stands for If It Fits Your Macros. It claims to help users lose weight by tracking macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) without restricting food choices.
In other words, if cookies fit into your macronutrient requirements, then you can eat cookies as long as it fits your macros.
The Reasons IIFYM “if it fits your macros” Doesn’t Work
The whole diet concept was created in the bodybuilding community as bodybuilders began to tire of healthy eating and only using chicken and rice to sustain their physical activities.
They tried experimenting to see if they could eat ‘dirty’ foods and still maintain and build their physique.
Now, it should be clear at this point that the diet wouldn’t be around if people didn’t experience results.
However, those results may be short-lived and it severely comprises the health of the gut. Let’s start by taking a look at an example of the ingredients and nutrition of a pop tart.
Just take a gander at some of the ingredients found in the packaging. It may be tasty, but all of those processed ingredients make it a poor way to fuel your body for physical activity.
That brings us to our main point; the whole philosophy of “it fits your macros” is lazy. It stems from the current culture that enjoys instant gratification and doesn’t like planning, consistency, and effort.
During our consultations with new clients, this question always comes up.
“Well ‘X’ eats this and they are still living a good life and looking good”
Our response is always, what if they actually took care of their bodies properly? Imagine the possibilities.
To be quite frank, the reason some can get away with IIFYM is that they are simply more resilient.
Eventually, there is a point where resiliency ends, and changes need to be implemented in order to function. If you eat ‘crap’ food expect adverse effects and inflammation.
reasons Why You Should Avoid the IIFYM Diet:
- The Gut is King – It makes up about 70% (approximately) of your immune system. It's important to create the right ecosystem with healthy eating choices that does not challenge your body's ability to digest food.
- The Gut Contains 100 Trillion Microorganisms with up to 3,000 bacterial species. Once harmful toxin-producing bacteria from poor-quality foods you eat are prevalent the immune system is severely compromised.
- The Western Diet with its abundance of processed foods, together with increasing sanitization of our homes, poor water, and compromised environments have reduced the bacterial diversity creating dysbiosis.
- The Proper Balance of Flora in the digestive tract allows nutrients to be absorbed appropriately.
- Compromising the Gut With Poor Food Choices can result in decreased performance, frequent fatigue, poor digestion, inflammation, frequent colds/sickness, allergies, and possible poor sleep. The GI tract is the gateway to optimal health and performance.
At OPEX, in the principles we teach our CCP Coaches, we start with a simple philosophy.
First, when analyzing nutrition and dissecting macronutrients, look at the individual’s goal.
That is the base of all nutrition prescriptions, including specific macronutrients for the client. Next, start simple and ask the clients about basic food hygiene principles, such as chewing your food, which are essential to using the macronutrients digested.
Marcus Filly, the creator of functional bodybuilding, realizes the importance of gut health and has made it a recent focus of his. Learn the diet he uses to keep his gut healthy and keep him at or below 5% body fat in this blog.
Follow Simple Food Hygiene
Simple food hygiene principles that I send some of my clients are as follows:
- Avoid Eating Out – Simple, make your own food, eat real foods.
- Chew Slowly – Chewing slowly per bite and sit down to eat per meal relaxed setting – don’t work while you eat, no stress. Enjoy the process of eating.
- Digestion – When you put food in your mouth, it is a 36-44 hour investment so make sure to chew your food.
- Get Up – Get up and go to bed same time every day for the next month. Your circadian rhythm has a large impact on food digestion and stress. Circadian rhythm should be followed and consistently the same.
- Get Sun
- Lower Anxiety – Lower anxiety and stress especially during times of food consumption
- Cook Your Food
- Prep – Prep foods and be consistent with making enough for leftovers. Home-cooked meals are always best.
(Coach’s Resource: Learn our simple method for calculating macros here.)
Lastly, as a coach, consistently assess nutrition and then design a plan based upon what the client presents with.
Thus, if these simple pieces are not being followed, macronutrients become less important as the system is not absorbing the nutrients properly, which essentially sets them up for failure.
We have a saying at OPEX; Clients have to earn counting macros by being compliant with hygiene principles and showing consistency with other simple principles like a specific amount of protein and drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day.
Don’t follow the craze, stop being lazy and understand what needs to be in place for you to perform (whatever that may mean for you). Be smart about what you are putting into your body to fuel daily.
Learn how you too can implement clean and healthy nutrition programs with your client, in our free Professional Coaching Blueprint. Sign up today and learn how to create holistic nutrition programs.
“Basic Treatment Guidelines,” WholemedX By Dr. Dick Thom
“It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
“Grain Brain” By David Perlmutter
“How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” By Paul Chek
“OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP)” by James Fitzgerald