It’s coming up to the New Year so you know what that means? People will be making healthier choices and considering some sort of diet to either lose or gain a few lbs. So, I want to share the IIFYM approach with you. If it fits your macros (IIFYM) is a great way to go about dieting. What is means is that you can be completely flexible within your approach to what you eat providing it fits you macronutrient ratio. This will be different for everyone so I definitely suggest doing a bit of research and then starting off with a ratio that suits your goals and adjusting from there as you see fit. Here is a great calculator. Your goals might involve; weight gain, weight loss, muscle gain or maintenance. A macronutrient consists protein, carbs and fats that are essential to your diet and should not be cut out completely for extended periods of time.
Why it is good for diabetics
Us diabetics have to calculate our carbs anyway, so why not go all the way and look at the fats and protein too? The chances are, without going on a low carb diet, if you increase your protein, your carbs will naturally reduce otherwise you will end up eating too many calories over your required amount. When I have worked with nutrition for clients, their carbs have usually been higher than any other source. Oftentimes people say “Oh I don’t eat many carbs”, yet they eat about 300g per day from fruit, sports drinks, rice and potatoes. So many people, I can’t even tell you, say they are on a low carb diet and yes, they may have cut down on bread and pasta, but carbs are everywhere including the fruit they had for breakfast. Tracking your macros really educates you about the foods you eat. Even if you only do it for a couple of weeks it is useful for you to know what you’re eating.
What to do before you start
Like any other diet should tell you, figure out where you’re currently at with your macros. This may be hard to do over the Christmas period as you will naturally eat a little bit more, you know, with all that extra chocolate and cake lying around, but if you know what you are currently eating you will have a baseline to work from in order to make a plan for your goals.
Also, I want you to get rid of the idea that there are good and bad foods. I mean, you’re right but you shouldn’t condition your mind with this way of thinking because it could create an unhealthy relationship with food. If you like a certain food, like pizza, I strongly urge you to keep it in your diet and to make it fit your macros by practicing moderation. You may want to switch it to a lower fat version, or eat less of it depending on your goals, but do not cut it out. Cutting out the food you like is reading the sign “wet paint, do not touch”. Initially, you had no interest in the paint, but because you have been told not to touch it it makes you curious to see if it is actually wet; the same way the food would make you crave it because it is off limits.
My Current Ratio
While the extra carbs are really improving my strength and performance I feel that I am retaining some water and feel a bit uncomfortable eating that much. I will continue to increase because I know that my body needs more. In an earlier post I said how I had experimented with low carbs and how that really didn’t work for me. I felt so tired and ran out of energy very quickly when I was dancing. Also, I prefer carbs like fruit and potatoes instead of higher fat foods like cheese. This made me realise that a low carb diet wasn’t sustainable for me. It could definitely be a 12 week thing, but it wouldn’t last for the long haul.
Choosing a ratio that suits your goals is essential, but choosing one that is sustainable is even more important. Most people go into a diet blind. They go from 2000 calories a day to 1400, yes they initially lose weight at a fast pace, but then what? What happens when they plateau and the weight stays the same? Those 1400 calories won’t keep you going for long and the longer you eat at that level, the more likely your metabolism is going to adapt to that level. Be smart, have a plan. 12 weeks is a good place to start. Cut 1750 calories for the first few weeks and see how you get on. This is worth hald a lb in weight by itself. If you’re adding in exercise at the same time, don’t cut as much from your calories.
This post turned out to be a little longer than I expected, but I just want you to do this right and to consider your health in the long term, because after all, isn’t that why you want to improve your weight in the first place?
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