Dieting for Beginners- IIFYM/Flexible Dieting

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “diet”? Do you instantly think of starving yourself and mental break downs every 5 minutes? You probably think that while dieting, your breakfast will be an apple. Your lunch is a few almonds and a piece of lettuce, and dinner is one whole deep breath of air.

If that’s what you’re thinking, I’m about to flip your world upside down. While dieting can be tedious and difficult, it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on your goal and what kind of diet you are doing.

Now you could go online and google “best diets” and get about a million results, but I am going to talk about my favorite dieting style and the one that has worked best for me. This would be IIFYM(if it fits your macros) or flexible dieting.

IIFYM is a very simple concept. Your body only needs a certain amount of calories each day to maintain its body weight. If you eat more than that amount, you will gain weight (caloric surplus) and if you eat less than that amount, you will lose weight (caloric deficit), and if you stay around the same calories, you’ll maintain your weight (Maintenance.) For example. To maintain my body weight, I have to eat about 2500 calories a day. So if I want to gain weight, I’ll eat roughly 3000 calories a day. If I want to lose weight, I may cut back to 2000 calories a day. The reason I am adding/subtracting by 500 calories, is that 1 lb of fat= 3500 calories. So if you subtract 500 x 7 days a week, you’ll lose 1 lb of fat. That is a very very rough run through, and obviously that is not the exact same for everyone, but it gives you a good understanding of the fundamentals.

Let’s continue… Calories are made up of macronutrients(protein,carbs,fats.) If you have ever looked at a nutrition label on that candy bar you were eating, you may recognize these. For another very rough overview, protein is mainly used for building/maintaining muscle, carbs are mainly used for energy, and fats have multiple functions, but one of the most beneficial ones would be that in some instances, fat can be converted to energy.

If you have done any research on dieting in the past, there is a good chance that you have probably seen “low carb” diets or “no carb diets.” While those can show results, they can be extremely damaging to your body. Plus it turns you into a grouch(insert “eat a snickers” commercial here.) Carbs often get a bad rap, but they can be extremely beneficial to your diet, as long as you input them properly. For example, while I was dieting down for my last competition, I was eating about 250-300 grams of carbs for the first 7 weeks of prep while losing about 1 lb per week. Then as the show got closer, I started cutting carbs back.

To make a very long story short, the name IIFYM explains the whole diet concept. If it fits your macros. Meaning, if whatever you are eating, fits your daily macronutrient goals, you will lose/gain/maintain weight. This means you can eat a cookie for dessert, as long as you still have the carbs and fats left for the day. For me, I’m 6’3” 184 lbs, and I am trying to gain weight/muscle. So my calories are at 3200 and I have my macros set at 360carbs, 240protein, and 89fat.

I know what you’re thinking. That this sounds like way too much math and calculations. That’s where you’re wrong. It’s actually really simple. The best way to calculate is to download MyFitnessPal. It is a calorie tracking app that makes it very easy to monitor your calories and goals. I use the app on my iPhone, and when you create an account, it will ask you for some information(height, weight, goals) and automatically generate your macros for you. Then from there you can change them based on your goals. Once you have your macros set, then you can start entering your food into the app. You can either search the name of the item or scan the barcode straight from the package. From there all it takes is some dedication and consistency. I guarantee that if you follow these steps, you can gain, lose, or maintain weight and not feel like you’re starving 24/7. This was pretty brief as far as the information goes, so if you have more questions, check out my instagram @alexcostaphysique and DM me. I’ll gladly answer any questions you have.

Thanks for reading my novel.

-Alex

 

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