I have been getting a ton of emails and messages asking about flexible dieting and figuring up macros.
First, Please take note that I am NOT a nutritionist, expert, coach, etc!
Everything I am posting is based off of my own research and knowledge. I am on a journey just like you. What you are about to read is what I have learned so far
Flexible dieting also known as IIFYM (If it fits your macros) To put it simply, it basically is eating to meet your macro-nutrient needs. Your macros are your 3 main foods, carbs (fiber), protein, and fats. Depending on your training, goals, metabolism, etc each macro is needed in different quantities and will play different roles for your body.
Flexible dieting can be over thought. The idea is actually quite simple. Eat what you want to meet your macro needs. It is often looked at as the “Junk Food” diet. Everyone sees all the pics of ice cream, cake, poptarts, donuts, etc Which I am totally guilty of too ha ha, but saying that all that is eaten is junk is far from the truth. When you get into the details of IIFYM you will see that it is quite hard to eat a diet full of junk and meet your numbers.
Fiber plays a huge role in your carbohydrate counts typically no less than 25g a day I have seen some as high as 50g a day (typically large males) If I were to eat say ice cream all day, one I would run out of calories really fast and two I wouldn’t hit my fiber counts, would probably go over in fat, and not come close to my protein counts either.
For me, flexible dieting is much more realistic. I eat healthy foods 80% of the day and get indulgences 20%. Yes, this is daily This means no more cheat meals or binging, because I don’t feel deprived. I can sit down and enjoy treats with Zoe or go have dinner with my family without stressing.
With all that being said, it does take some planning and can be quite meticulous as far as weighing out foods and such. I have found that a food scale is one of the most important tools when it comes to weight loss or achieving muscle growth. I see so many who still measure with cups and spoons. Unfortunately, it isn’t accurate. Your measurements could be off by several grams, so you may be either getting too much or too little. That can screw up your whole macro/calorie counts. I posted this video before, but I think it is awesome in showing what I am talking about. Be sure to turn your volume down or off, the music is something else ha ha
“How do I figure up my macros?” this question I have gotten more than anything. For me, figuring up macros has been a learning curve. Since everyone is different, it will be a learning process for everyone. The rule of thumb is to set your macros, follow them for 3-4 weeks, monitor weight, measurements, and photos, then make adjustments as necessary. I use the calculator on IIFYM.com This too, is not a difficult process, but can be over thought as well. I use the Athlete’s Formula also known as the Mifflin-St Jeor Formula. I use this, because unless you go have your bodyfat percentage done by BodPod, Water Displacement, or DEXA Scanning, chances are it isn’t accurate enough to use. I have calipers and do use them, but they are not accurate for one to say hey I’m at 17% body fat. They are only an estimate. This is the screen you will be looking at
Kind of blurry, but you get the idea Click your sex, type in age, height, weight. Then click formula, your exercise frequency, then calculate your TDEE
Once you click that, this comes up. From here you will click whatever your goal is. If cutting, I always recommend clicking suggested. Reason being, is losing weight is a process. When rushed, you will lose muscle and can make yourself sick. Bulking the same, pick the first one. Better to gain slowly than gain a huge amount of fat. Nothing is overnight. It all is a long process and patience is key!!!
Okay, after you have clicked that, this screen will appear. I personally do 1g per lb of body weight with my protein, but you can go as low as .8 Fat typically I do not change it either, but I know some do 4g per lb click calculate
This screen will be your numbers. Top row is per day, bottom is per meal which you can put in how many times a day you eat. Some eat 3 times a day some eat 8 times, that is all personal preference. ALWAYS keep the fiber count. I see so many times that people get caught up in the fact that they can eat whatever they want as long as it is in the carb count, but they aren’t hitting their fiber. When that happens, the results don’t come, so hit your fiber. It is a very important aspect of the macros. Now again, the calculator is a GUIDE to getting your macros set up. There will probably be a need for tweaking as you go along. You will start to understand what your body does better with. FYI do NOT be afraid of carbs They are a great thing!
For tracking macros many use MyFitnessPal.com I use it because it has many of the foods I eat already in and it is convenient for me. In my opinion, the program does have it’s flaws. One being that people put the wrong macros in when entering food into the database. ALWAYS make sure you double check the macros to the package, because sometimes they won’t match up and you will have to find another in the database or enter your own. Two is that you can not enter your personal macros by the gram. It goes by the percent on that program, which you will see below. There is a hack you can download to change that, but I don’t trust downloading anything to my computer. Third is that the calorie counts do not always match your macro counts. Proteins and carbs are 4 calories each fats are 9 calories. As long as you are hitting your macros, you are hitting your calories. I disregard what the end of day calories say on mfp. They are either way over or way under. Only concentrate on your Macro counts. Oh and note DO NOT ENTER YOUR EXERCISE INTO MFP IT MESSES UP YOUR COUNTS
Now how to enter your more personalized goals on MFP. This is also an easy process. First click the goals tab at the top of your home page Once clicked, it will look like this…well less blurry ha ha ha
Click change goals. You will now be on this screen.
Click Custom then continue
Your fiber can be put in by the gram, but the rest is done by percentage. What I personally do is try to get as close as possible. Sometimes I will use what they already have if it is only off by say 5g Or I will use what the website figured and hit those numbers regardless of what is in MFP That is personal preference.
There are a few groups on Facebook devoted to recipes and answering questions. One is coed. You can learn a lot there, but be forewarned that they can get vulgar, rude, and harsh. I have found that the group specifically called IIFYM Women is awesome for the ladies. It has grown exponentially in the past few months, but the ladies are very supportive. There are also some qualified to set up your numbers and answer questions for a small fee.
Flexible dieting changed my outlook on not only weight loss, but bodybuilding as well. I have learned more about what my body wants and needs. I am seeing the changes that I tried so hard to get before, but this time around with a more realistic and healthy outlook. IIFYM is a much more sustainable lifestyle than other diets I have tried!
Flexible dieting paired with my supplements and training has not only changed me physically, but mentally as well. I am a stronger and happier person inside and out! I hope this has answered the questions you all have had.
Have a fabulously fit day!!! xoxo
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