Updated thoughts on IIFYM

Updated thoughts on IIFYM

Hi all! I know I’ve been slacking on the blog (both reading and commenting!) big time lately but I have a valid reason. Sorting Rob’s visa out is proving to be about 10 times more complicated than mine so between that, getting back to work and flat hunting, I have very little time for much else! I have a lot of post ideas but I just need to find some time to get them out, so please bear with me.

Back when I first started blogging almost three years ago, I wrote a post about the ‘if it fits your macros’ style of eating. If you want a good laugh, read it to see how restrictive and anti-burgers I used to be. I am yet to receive more negative backlash on one post. My post must rank pretty highly in Google because even now I continue to receive comments and emails about it. I typically approve all comments for the sake of a healthy debate and so on, but this is the only post where I’ve ever deleted comments – pro-IIFYMers have told me that me and my entire family should be killed, among other things. Apparently people feel very strongly about this topic!

Anyway, I think it’s needless to say that my thoughts on this style of eating have changed completely since writing that post. I still don’t personally follow IIFYM, mainly because I don’t count calories or macronutrients.

I don’t label foods as good or bad, and will eat pretty much anything without worrying whether it fits a plan or not. I do stand by my original statement that you can’t expect to eat junk food all day long and see optimal physical results. When I wrote that original post, I was still very much suffering from metabolic damage and insulin resistance, and I couldn’t get away with eating burgers and ice cream as often as I do now.

Now, I have what I would have once considered a “treat” every day. I think that, provided your metabolism is functioning efficiently and you are training properly, the IIFYM style of eating will work.

Does this fit my macros?

Does this fit my macros?

That being said, I am still against it in principle because I oppose anything that involves you tracking and obsessing over everything you put in your mouth. I’m much more supportive of an intuitive style of eating; however, I know some people will struggle both physically and mentally to eat this way, which is why I’d recommend working with a coach to come up with a suitable nutrition plan. With many of my clients, I give them a choice of what to eat and when without getting into macro counting (many don’t even know how many calories they are eating per day). I also allow flexibility and encourage experimentation as I know that some days we feel hungrier than others.

Yesterday is a perfect example of how I eat intuitively without paying too much attention to macros. For the last few weeks, my appetite has disappeared. I think it was a combination of the hot weather in Perth and the fact that I wasn’t training at full capacity, but I just wasn’t eating as much as normal (probably around 2500 calories a day). Yesterday my appetite seemed to return in full force!

I had my normal breakfast of three eggs but started feeling peckish about two hours later when I was walking around viewing flats, so I had a chocolate almond milk smoothie I found on the run. About two hours later, I was absolutely famished! I had 300 grams of mince with veggies and marinara sauce and two sweet potatoes, yet I was still so hungry I was shaking. So I had a big piece of cheese, a banana, a piece of bread and two tablespoons of Nutella. I was still hungry so I had a cup of tea, and that seemed to calm me down.

pig

Part of lunch

Three hours later I had a sushi roll on the run. I went to London’s new cat cafe (!) and had a scone with a cup of tea. On the way home I started feeling hungry again so I had a mini protein bar. When I got home and showered it was 10pm but I was starving so I made a bowl of chicken and bacon pasta with a prawn salad on the side. Most people would be shocked at the idea of eating that much food right before bed, but not me!

scones

Every single meal except breakfast was made up on the fly. I didn’t worry about how many grams of proteins, carbs and fat I had to hit each time, or tally up my leftover macros at the end of the day. Right before each meal, I assessed my hunger and asked myself what I wanted to eat, and I kept going until I was satisfied. There is no way I could have done this a couple of years ago.

If you have tried IIFYM and it works for you, then stick with it. I certainly think it is healthier to incorporate all types of foods into your lifestyle than live off the typical “clean” bodybuilding diet of chicken and broccoli. It seems that IIFYM allows a small element of intuitive eating as you are able to eat what you crave. My concern is whether food becomes too much of a cause of anxiety, and you lose the ability to eat freely.

Have you ever tried an IIFYM style of eating?

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