How I Lost 30+ Pounds: An Introduction to IIFYM
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If you know me in real life, you know that I gained a ton of weight with my pregnancy…. sixty pounds to be exact! Since giving birth, I have really struggled to drop the weight. I breastfeed my son and had heard that “the weight would just come off on its own!” WRONG.
I am (unfortunately) NOT one of those lucky women who magically drops weight while breastfeeding. I have really had to put in a lot of effort to find something that allows me to maintain my milk supply while still dropping excess pounds. Enter IIFYM. My goal in this article is to explain what IIFYM is and what it is not while providing you with useful in-depth resources.
What is IIFYM, anyway?
IIFYM stands for if it fits your macros. It is also known as flexible dieting but don’t be misled by the name. While it IS more flexible than most diets, you can’t expect to eat pizza and ice cream every day and get the results you’re after. The idea behind IIFYM is that you can have anything, in moderation. It works by giving you very specific targets of daily macro-nutrient intake. What is a macro-nutrient? In simple terms, macros are proteins, fats and carbs- the nutrients your body can’t live without. Each one has a specific caloric value, and everyone needs a certain amount of each, depending upon their personal numbers.
What it is NOT
IIFYM is not a fad diet. It’s a scientifically developed lifestyle change.
It is not about eating pop tarts only. Though we DO love those guys, you can’t expect to see results if you ONLY eat sugary treats.
It is not an expensive gimmick. In fact, it’s free!
It is NOT restricting. You NEED carbs! & fat & protein! YAS CARBS!
You mean I can eat carbs AND lose weight?
YES! Carbs are NOT the enemy. In fact, your body needs them to fuel your daily activities and if you work out regularly, you need extra carbs! In fact, I eat 200 grams of carbs EVERY DAY and am successfully losing 1-2 pounds per week! Contrary to the belief popularized by Atkins (and similar fad diets) your body can’t function long-term if it is deprived of an entire category of macros.
In order to find your personal macro numbers and a wealth of information, I recommend using the macro calculator found at IIFYM.com Everyone’s numbers will be different and results are based on your age, weight, height, activity level and goals. It’s pretty scientific! Another great resource is Bodybuilding.com
While IIFYM is HUGE among the bodybuilding crowd, you certainly don’t have to lift weights to see results with macro tracking. I lift 2-3 times per week and am feeling stronger all the time! I also walk the baby and do yoga several times each week. It’s good for your mind AND body to move!
What Do I Need to Get Started?
To get started, you only need a few things: your numbers, a good FOOD SCALE and a good tracking app are the only things you must have but having a set of measuring cups and meal prep containers have also helped me succeed. I recommend the app Sparkpeople but most people use My Fitness Pal. They are essentially the same for our purposes here.
Once you have your numbers and the few items you need to get started, there are a few tips to remember.
- Your goal is to be +/- 5 on all of your macros, EVERY DAY. Don’t worry as much about calories, because if you hit your macros your calories will be pretty close to on point.
- Use your apps to track your numbers a day or so in advance to avoid “running out” of one specific macros and having to have a stick of butter or a single grilled chicken breast for your dinner. (I’ve seen exactly this happen on the macro boards)
- If you breastfeed (like I do) you will need to add between 200-500 extra calories
- Protein and Carbs are 4 calories per gram, fats are 9
- Play around with your macro-split to find you best numbers. Because I breastfeed and work out fairly often, my carbs makeup 40% of my daily calories
- Join up on the macros boards on Facebook for support. Do a search for IIFYM and numerous macro groups will pop up in your results.
- Tracking can be a little tricky at first. Give it a little time and you will get used to it. If it doesn’t click right away, don’t fret!
My Personal Success Story
I am more than halfway to my personal weight loss goal with no plans of stopping until I hit my pre-pregnancy weight. It hasn’t been easy but by working out most days of the week and hitting my numbers consistently I have made GREAT progress. I am so excited to continue this journey through to the end.
What has your weight loss journey been? Please let me know by posting below!