The Ultimate Guide to Flexible Dieting (IIFYM)

I love donuts. You like donuts?

Why the hell would you want to choose a diet where you’re forced to restrict yourself from foods you love then?

The truth of the matter is, dieting has completely changed over the years.

Years ago when I wasn’t a flexible dieter, I would have five prepared meals for the day of 6 oz. of chicken breast, a cup of rice, and a cup of broccoli.

I was told I had to eat one of these prepared meals every three hours in order for my body to full optimize the protein and build muscle.

All of the old diets (which probably still work but are hard to stick with and will also make you crazy) always portrayed this style of dieting..

Things you can eat = chicken, rice, broccoli, egg whites and sometimes salmon

Things you CANNOT eat = pizza, ice cream, candy, and everything else that sounds tasty.

A week of this chicken, rice, and broccoli diet and I couldn’t even look at my prepared meal without gagging.

I started craving everything that I wasn’t “supposed” to have.

Suddenly eating a whole pie of pizza and some ice cream was the only thing I had in my mind. But doing so would leave me feeling like I screwed up my diet because it wasn’t within the foods I was allowed to eat..

Doesn’t sound fun does it?

This USED TO BE the typical bodybuilder meal plan that everyone and their mothers followed for the longest time.

No worries, bro. I got you.

Welcome to the world of Flexible Dieting (also known as If It Fits Your Macros).

Flexible Dieting is another one of my main philosophy’s I utilize.

It has completely changed the way that I view what I should eat.

IIFYM ( if it fits your macros), has gotten a lot of controversy and debate on whether or not it is a healthy way to go about dieting.

After incorporating this style of eating (along with intermittent fasting and counting my macros), I’ve been able to eat virtually whatever I want and STILL maintain my lean as hell physique.

So What is Flexible Dieting Exactly?

To put it in as simple terms as possible, flexible dieting is a popular dieting philosophy where you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits in your calorie intake for the day.

It’s that simple. And its that effective.

All you have to do in order to create your own flexible dieting program is figure out your macronutrient ratio (this is comprised of carbohydrates, fats, and protein) and caloric intake which is going to be different depending on your goals (losing weight or bulking up).

Stay within those numbers every day while tracking what you eat and you’ll be able to eat whatever you want.

Whether you are someone who does heavy lifts 5 days a week, or just someone who’s looking to lose weight without going to the gym every day, I strongly suggest you start flexible dieting.

Even if you aren’t exercising yet and you’re looking to lose weight,

Flexible Dieting will be the easiest way for you to reach your goal since it doesn’t even feel like you are on a diet..

The whole ideology of flexible dieting is that:

a “healthy” meal made up of chicken, rice, broccoli and some almonds

= 46 carbohydrates, 29 fat, and 25 protein.

would produce the same exact results to your fitness goal if you were to eat a Big Mac from Mcdonald’s which

= 46 carbohydrates, 29 fat, and 25 protein.

The point I am trying to get across is that the flexible dieting belief is focused on how MUCH you eat rather than WHAT you eat.

If you follow the flexible dieting method very accurately by making sure you track everything you eat, I guarantee you that you can eat whatever you want, and still reach your goal.

Let me explain to you very simply why IIFYM actually works

Dieting is actually very simple. Most diets work if you stick to it.

It comes down to this one philosophy

“calories in, calories out”

Your body burns a certain amount of energy daily and this is measured in calories. Energy in food can also be measured in the same way.

In order to lose fat, you need to be feeding your body LESS ENERGY than it BURNS. By doing this, you must get energy from somewhere so it then goes to your FAT STORAGE to get energy.

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This is simply pure science, when we are discussing strictly weight loss, a calorie is a calorie.

You could be eating sour patch kids and donuts every day and could still be losing weight as long as you feed your body less energy than it burns.

So here’s a main key point:

If all you want to do is lose weight, calculate how much calories you burn every day, eat 20% less than that (this is called a caloric deficit) and you will lose weight regardless of what you eat.

“Why should I be counting macros instead of calories then?”

Simple, because when we are talking about your body physique, a calorie is NOT just a calorie.

What this means is if you are trying to lose weight while still keeping as much lean mass as you can, you need to do more than just stay at a caloric deficit.

  • You need to make sure you have enough protein every day to maintain your muscle mass
  • You need to make sure you eat enough carbohydrates, this will ensure that you have enough energy to maintain intensity during your training.
  • You need to make sure you eat enough fats, this plays a HUGE role in your hormone regulation.

This is why counting macros is so much more important than counting calories. Counting macros will allow you to focus on your body composition rather than just simply losing weight or gaining weight.

This DOES NOT give you a free hall pass to eat whatever the hell you want day in and day out.

The main problem with the flexible dieting (IIFYM) movement is the over consumption of eating junk food.

While I said before that a calorie is a calorie and a macro is a macro no matter what food you get it from, the problem with eating too much processed food is that it lacks the micronutrients that whole foods contain.

If you eat TOO much junk food and not enough nutritious food you WILL develop vitamin deficiencies.

Here’s what I do:

The best way to incorporate the IIFYM diet is to get MOST of your daily calories from healthy foods that you enjoy.

I always make sure to have at least ONE meal of healthy greens a day.

Don’t be scared of little splurges on junk food.

The hardest part to sticking to a diet is having to eat food you DON’T enjoy every day. That’s the reason why so many people have had success with flexible dieting. It is completely OKAY to eat some junk food as long as you stay in your macronutrient goal.

How Can I Find Out My Macronutrient Goals?

I will also break it down for you because it CAN get a little confusing at first.

If you’re trying to lose weight while maintain lean mass:

I recommend

  • visiting the IIFYM calculator
  • find your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)
  • set your calories to 15% under your TDEE
  • set protein to 30% of daily calories
  • set fat to 30% of daily calories
  • set carbohydrates to 40% of daily calories

This works if you are already decently lean (around 15% and lower) and are trying to really get shredded.

If you’re trying to lose weight and have moderately high body fat percentage:

I recommend

  • find your TDEE
  • set your calories to 20% under your TDEE
  • set protein to 1 gram per pound of body weight
  • set fat to .3 grams per pound of body weight
  • the rest of your calories should come from carbs

If you’re trying to bulk and gain muscle:

I recommend:

  • find your TDEE
  • set your calories to 20% OVER your TDEE
  • set protein to 40% of daily calories
  • set fat to 30% of daily calories
  • set carbs to 40% of daily calories

That’s the Flexible Dieting plan in a nutshell..

To sum it all up:

  • Flexible dieting is simply a diet that consists of eating almost anything you want as long as you stay within your calories and macronutrients every day. It’s focused on how MUCH you eat rather than WHAT you eat.
  • This means eating a Big Mac will give you the same body composition results as eating a clean meal such as chicken rice and some nuts as long as the macros are the same.
  • Counting your macros is more important than counting your calories
  • In order to lose weight, you simply have to feed your body LESS ENERGY than your body BURNS
  • In order to gain weight, you have to feed your body MORE ENERGY than your body BURNS
  • Flexible dieting is one of the best diets to use because it allows you to eat foods you want while still seeing results.

Some homework for you:

  • Determine whether you want to lose weight or gain weight
  • visit the IIFYM calculator
  • follow the steps I have given above to set the calculator to your desired goal
  • follow the macros given for at least three weeks
  • come back with any questions you have

I hope you guys implement the info I’ve given you as this helped me so much when I first started out.

Share this with your friends and lets get shredded together 🙂

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