How IIFYM (Flexible Dieting) Works

I talked about it in my last post.. here are the details. I’ll try to explain it as simply as I can.

  1. Calories are the only thing that REALLY matter in any diet.  And any diet that says you don’t need to worry about calories is lying. Sorry, but these are the laws of physics we’re fighting here.  Too many calories and your body will store them as fat.  Too few, and your body will be forced to get energy from fat reserves. Nothing you, I, or any doctor or pill can do will ever change that formula. Period.
  2. …. But there are ways to make the whole calorie thing either MORE efficient, or LESS efficient. For example, if you eat foods that are high in simple carbs (sugar, fruit, white bread, etc.) your blood sugar will spike, and the things you eat are going to get stored as fat.  In other words, eating the wrong KINDS of foods can make the whole “calories in, calories out” problem even worse, and give you MORE obstacles to overcome. This is why people who ONLY count calories generally fail.
  3. Similar to the above, if there are things we eat that make calorie burn LESS efficient, then there must be things we can do to make calorie burn MORE efficient…. and this is the nature of IIFYM. You are going to do two very specific things each day…. (A) Eat at or below a specific number of calories each day.  (B) make sure you are eating the CORRECT amount of fat, protein, and carbs each day.
  4. Those ratios matter BIG TIME… they ensure your body has the right nutrients it needs to burn fat, build muscle, provide you with energy, and keep you healthy all at the same time.  By the way, even the guy who did the so-called “junk food diet” used this formula… he still ate the correct ratios of protein and fat, but his carbs (what he was allowed, based on the formula, came from junk-food)… he lost weight.
  5. Everything you put in your mouth needs to be tracked. Everything. (Except water).
  6. Your daily calorie number can be calculated by you. (I’ll show you how in a second) and the ratios that you use (as in, how many of your calories come from fat vs carbs vs protein) is dependent on YOUR GOALS.   (A body builder would use one set of ratios,  an athlete would use a different set of ratios… and even a low-carb/high-fat approach to a diet versus a more moderate approach would all use different ratios).   In other words, if someone says “I’m doing IIFYM”, it means only one thing… they track their calories, they track their fat consumption, they track their protein consumption, and they track their carb consumption, and they limit themselves to specific numbers of EACH macro-nutrient each day. That’s all it means.  It’s “counting calories” but we’re taking it to the next level.

Ready to get started?  Here’s what you do………

FIRST… Please go to .. This is my project where my staff of virtual coaches will build this plan specifically for you — check it out!!

SECOND… Download the MyFitnessPal app for your smart-phone. Go to “More”, go to “Goals”, and select “Calorie & Macronutrient Goals”.  In the first box, you’re going to enter your daily calorie target (you calculated that in step 3), and then you’re going to enter each of your ratios… 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat.  It will figure out what that translates to in terms of how much of each one you can eat each day.   Now go back to the “Goals” screen we were just on, and find “Exercise Calories”. TURN THIS OFF!!!! You don’t get to add/subtract calories based on exercise you do. (Because you already calculated exercise into your TDEE).

THIRD… Start tracking EVERYTHING YOU EAT!!!!! If it goes in your mouth, you LOG IT!  It seems like a pain at first, but it’s really not that bad because the app makes it so simple. First, you can scan anything with a barcode and it’ll instantly import all the nutrients. Second, it’s got a MASSIVE database of every food that ever lived.. and third, it’s really pretty slick. You can also save things you eat regularly as a “meal”, create your own recipes, etc.

FOURTH… And this is where the diet comes into play.. as you log things, you will see how many of each nutrient you have each day.  The app will tell you how many calories you have left, how much fat you have left, how much protein you have left, and how many carbs you have left, and it’s YOUR JOB to find foods that fit these ratios.  Don’t go over or under any particular number by more than 5. (Yes, going UNDER a macro is almost as bad as going over, because it throws off your ratio).

That’s it… You’ll find that it’s easier to plan your days meals in advance, because you can add/subtract foods and see what fits and what doesn’t. You will also find that meal planning feels a little like legos… You gotta find JUST the right food to fit into a particular slot. =)

One more thing… you’re going to find that “normal” food doesn’t fit these ratios very well (loaded with carbs… loaded with sugar… loaded with fat…) so you’re going to have to eat VERY VERY HEALTHY or you’re going to be very, very hungry. =)

More on what foods to eat in my next post… but Quest protein shakes are great, so are Quest protein bars (you can get ’em at GNC). ANY carbs you eat should come from CLEAN carbs… whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, etc.

Add me as a friend on MyFitnessPal (my username is brianshell ) — and you can actually see everything I eat to get some idea for what this is like. =)

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