Eat Pizza, Get Shredded
Diet Review: IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) or Flexible Dieting
Is it right for you?
We all want to eat pizza and get that dream body right? We want fitness, while fitness whole pizza in my mouth, but can it be possible?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is..well..you’ll have to read.
What is it?
Let’s start from the beginning, what is IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) or Flexible Dieting? Some people might separate the two, but we’ll combine them for brevity.
IIFYM is the diet that basically allows you to eat whatever you want (yes, fast food, pizza, ice cream, etc) as long as it falls within your ‘macros’ for the day.
Macros is short/slang for Macronutrients. The belief and approach that each person has a certain number of macronutrient amounts needed each day to lose, maintain, or bulk their current body weight/look. Macronutrients are Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates. You can find all sorts of macro nutrient calculators out there but we’ll include the outline to follow below if you think this is right for you.
Right off the bat, in our professional, personal opinion, IIFYM can be a great guideline to follow, but there are a lot of variables. If you are someone who likes to stay organized and loves short term goals to reach and can easily stick with a plan, this is probably for you, especially if you have some OCD tendencies.
We also might recommend this for someone who needs help in portion control, or just starting out losing weight and needing some sort of general direction. If you need to eat more fruits/vegetables, and lean meats in your diet, this won’t be enough structure for you. This also wouldn’t work for the type of person who just needs an exact plan totally laid out for them, what to eat at each meal. If you are training for an ultra marathon or working out more than the average individual you may have to adjust your macros as needed as well (in fact, this way of eating might not work for you either).
The good point of flexible dieting or IIFYM, is you can make it what you want. Keep it general or follow it precisely and mathematically.
How would I start?
If you think you want to give flexible dieting or IIFYM a shot, here is where you would start. I will use a general middle aged male for this example.
Take your body weight times 14, 15 or 16. Why those numbers? 14 represents someone who works a desk job and is mostly sedentary. 16 is someone who has a very active job or lifestyle, constantly moving, lifting or going at work and home. 15, of course, somewhere in between. There is a more specific/scientific way to find your daily maintenance calories or TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), but for this example were using a general method which is used by many IIFYM followers.
John Doe is 160lbs and is at a computer but also moves around a lot during the day so we’ll put him at a 15. 160 x 15 = 2,400. 2,400 is your maintenance calories.
If John wanted to maintain his current physique, he would need to consume 2,400cals a day. Here is how you break it down to find your ‘macros’.
Finding Your Macros
If you are skimming this article to find this area, read the section above this first, as finding your daily caloric intake is the first step.
John doesn’t want to gain weight over the holidays, and then start to lean out for a Spring Break beach trip he is going on. We already know his maintenance calories are 2,400. To keep it simple, if he wants to lose weight he should have a 500cal daily deficit. If he wants to bulk up and add muscle/mass he should have a 500cal daily surplus.
If you are new to IIFYM or have never dieted or tried losing weight, start a little more conservative for your first few weeks, if not month(s) with a 200-300cal daily deficit. We’ll calculate using 500cals for now.
To lose weight John’s new daily caloric intake will be 1,900.
We’ll start with protein. John’s bodyweight is 160lbs. Take 160 times .75, 1, or 1.25 to get your daily protein intake. For round number purposes just use 1, it is the easiest and works for basically everyone who uses this method. John’s daily protein intake is 160g.
Next, John will calculate his fat intake. Again, take your body weight and times it by .3 or .4. This is a simple one as well. If you like your fats, ie. peanut butters, avocado, etc then choose .4. If you are more of a carb lover, then choose .3. For John he likes his pizza, we’ll say 160 x .3 = 48g
This is a quick note you’ll need when finding your carbohydrate intake.
Every gram of protein or carbohydrate contains 4 calories. Every gram of fat, contains 9 calories.
Protein: 160g = 640cals
Fat: 48g = 432cals
1,072 calories ‘used’ so far.
Now we can calculate the remaining calories to find out how many carbs John can have. John has 1,900 calories per day, minus 1,072 we have assigned so far equals 828cals. 828 calories of carbohydrates divided by 4 calories per gram gives us 207g of carbohydrates.
Final Daily Counts
- 2,400 maintenance calories (minus 500cals for weight loss)
- 1,900 weight loss calories
- Protein: 160g
- Fat: 48g
- Carbs: 207g
Here is where the magic happens for IIFYM believers. John’s daily macros, as noted above, can be filled with whatever he wants. As long as he hits those numbers.
You can have as many or as little number of meals in the day as you want too. You could have pancakes or Mcdonald’s for breakfast, or pizza and ice cream for dinner, but the rest of your meals will most likely be pretty bleak due to lack of remaining macros/calories.
This type of diet works for a lot of people due to the simple calories in (food consumed) versus calories out (calories your burn throughout the day).
This all sounds good, so what’s wrong with it?
Right off the bat, obviously this way of eating doesn’t require you to fill your day with fruits and vegetables, or really anything nutritious.
A good, wholesome, healthy way of eating will include your lean meats, healthy fats, fruits/vegetables etc. Again, you’re not forced to include those with flexible dieting. This isn’t necessarily a heathy, long term diet unless you are strict and mentally strong to keep your macro intake full of actual healthy foods.
This diet, commonly used by many in the fitness industry, including most ‘influencers’ and physique, bodybuilding, and figure competitors, can be used for the everyday person. Honestly, we could probably continue on for 3 or 4 more full blogs but this is a good starting point for anyone interested in changing the way they eat to this style.
As always, consult with your doctor/physician/NP before beginning any new way of eating to make sure it’s safe for you.
Can you eat pizza and get shredded? Yes, but only if you do it right! It’s a fairly mathematical approach so you have to be strict in hitting your numbers, as well as knowing when to adjust along the way. This is also taking into mind you are hitting your daily workouts as well.
Finally, it can be a fun, new approach to ‘dieting’ so have fun with it, play around with it, and make it yours.