If you’re an avid health blog reader like myself, you’ve undoubtedly come across the hashtag #iifym and thought, #wtf? Even if that hashtag looks unfamiliar, I bet you’ve at least heard of some health blogger/trainer/coach talking about their “macros” and/or a dietician referring to a focus on macronutrients.
Macronutrients are simple: they are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Counting them is potentially simpler (add up the numbers from your MyFitnessPal log or similar). Creating a diet around them is decidedly a bit harder – but that’s where I’ll help.
#iifym, per the above, is an acronym that means “if it fits your macros.” The way you structure your meal plans and determine what to eat at a given meal (or order at a given restaurant) is a direct result of your ideal macronutrient balance, which you can figure out using this handy dandy online calculator (I like this one because you can set it for IIFYM but also ketogenic, low carb, or low fat, depending on your dietary and wellness needs).
Let’s take me as an example. I’m looking to lose roughly 3% body fat (but not necessarily any body weight, since I like my pretty muscles) before my wedding, so I chose an “aggressive” IIFYM goal program for my age, gender, activity level, and current weight, which gives me the following macros:
1640 calories daily (about 400 per meal; 200 per snack)
209.2 grams of carbohydrates daily (about 70 per meal)
94.5 grams of protein daily (about 30 per meal)
47.3 grams of fat daily (about 15 per meal)
This way, when I am looking at what I want to eat in a given day, all I need to do is make sure it “fits” my macros – does this breakfast have enough protein? Have I eaten all my carbs before I even get to dinner? Is there a good amount of healthy fat in my lunch?
Should this not be clear enough for you and you like the old “Zone diet” thinking of percentages, for me, my diet looks like this: 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fat – and I was able to calculate that number with the following per-gram calorie counts and dividing them by my total calorie count:
This way, no matter if your brain works in numbers, percentages, counts, or any other mathematical variation – as long as you can commit to tracking your food, you can commit to maintaining your ideal macro balance.
And as long as you commit to your determined macro balance (which, guys, shifts throughout your life depending on your goals – fat loss, muscle building, injury recovery, etc. – all of these require DIFFERENT macros), you can reach your body weight and composition goals.
Do you live and die by the macros? Do you log/track your food, and what service/program/app do you prefer?