Disclaimer: I am no fitness or nutrition guru. I am just a girl on a search to get lean and buff.
If you have ever searched hashtags on Instagram, specifically for the fitness world, you will quickly realize that there are two ways of eating: “clean eating” and “if it fits your macros”.
Clean eating is pretty self explanatory:
No processed foods.
Essentially bland and boring foods.
If It Fits Your Macros is a little bit different:
Doritos on top of
Poptarts on top of
Skinny Cow on top of
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Clean eating for weight loss is really simple to follow. Calculate your calories for weight loss, which you can easily do online or by hand, usually by calculating your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure (your basic metabolic rate x how active you are) and then subtracting 300-500 calories per day to achieve weight loss. This varies for each individual and is not always 100% certain depending upon what state your metabolism is in. Then you essentially just eat “clean foods” and hit your calorie goals for weight loss or fat loss, and viola, you lose weight.
The downside with clean eating is that you’re really restricting yourself on the types of foods you can eat. Chicken and asparaus, tilapia and broccoli, tuna and green beans. You’re very limited on your condiments to use because most are not “clean”, and honestly the foods get so boring after a while.
I did this. I couldn’t maintain this lifestyle. Going out to eat was a nightmare. I eventually ended up binging on food because I was lacking on good food in everyday life. Anyone who enjoys eating tilapia and asparagus every. single. day. is lying. I can guarantee it.
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“If It Fits Your Macros” (IIGYM) recently came about after this guy, Layne Norton, who has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences showed up in the world of fitness and blew everyone away with this “diet”, which is supported by scientific evidence.
I wouldn’t say Layne is “the father” of IIFYM, but he’s definitely attributed to the new way of eating, which is changing lives everywhere.
IIFYM is essentially based on the same idea of calculating your calorie intake for weight loss or fat loss. It is then further divided into the 3 main macros: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.
We all know about these. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle. Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel and energy for our bodies. And fats provide us with another means for energy as well as aid in absorbing essential nutrients and vitamins.
IIFYM then is a way of eating in which you can have any type of food throughout the day, as long as “it fits your macros.”
There are many ways to calculate out your macros, and many different web sites that have online calculators such as:
Once you calculate out both your macronutrients, as well as micronutrients (vitamins and fiber), you are able to eat whatever you want, as long as it fits those macros throughout the day and you do not go over. Calories don’t really make a whole lot of difference because if you are hitting your macros, you’ll be right around your calorie intake.
IIFYM is a bit more challenging…in the beginning. You have to calculate out all of the macros in each meal, everyday. I personally use My Fitness Pal for this, and after a few weeks, it’s really not so daunting.
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Now there is a HUGE battle on instagram, like I mentioned before about these two styles of eating.
The clean eaters believe that you cannot eat whatever you want and still get lean.
They believe that eating a ton of processed foods that aren’t clean and natural, will not get you any results.
What they fail to understand is that for the most part, people who follow IIFYM eat clean the majority of the day. They also fail to realize that your body does not care whether or not your food is “clean” and organic, it processes it as carbohydrate, protein, and fat. It doesn’t realize and say “hey, that was candy, that’s not clean.” It says “hey, that’s part carb and part fat.” And it breaks them down the same way as if you were eating brown rice and peanut butter. Carbs and fat.
Also, you cannot hit all of your macros and micros by eating candy, all day. Of course you’ll be eating only carbs and fat, with very little protein.
So people who follow IIFYM usually eat chicken, and egg whites, and whey protein, and casein, to meet their requirements. Then, they figure out what else they can eat that will fit their macros. Like poptarts, and cookies, and candy.
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I follow IIFYM on a daily basis. I never feel deprived. I never feel disgusted in myself that I’m not eating clean. I still eat egg whites, and chicken. But I also eat brownies, and ice cream, and candy. The key is moderation.
Clean eating for me is not a lifestyle I can keep. I binge, I feel terrible and then I try to start over.
IIFYM allows me to have the things I love every day in small amounts so that I never feel deprived.
It does take a little bit of time to calculate out my macros, but so what? If I get to have a brownie everyday, or a poptart, or a skinny cow…I don’t mind.
I will never go back to “clean eating”. I can’t do it. I get nauseated at the though of tilapia and broccoli.
IIFYM is not for everyone. Some people believe in organic and clean, and that’s fine. I cannot afford organic…and my husband will never eat clean.
I will not spend my life not enjoying food because it’s “not clean.” There are more important things in life than clean food.
Regardless of which “side” you believe in, everyone should understand that people all have different opinions and beliefs. Some ways work for others, and some not. The point is that we should be encouraging people in their fitness goals and weight loss endeavors. Let’s face it, it’s not easy. And we definitely don’t need other people making that journey harder with their “my way or the highway attitude”.
Enjoy what you’re doing, enjoy what you’re eating, and you will reach your goals as long as you believe.