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Is the IIFYM Diet for You?

The media calls it the Donut Diet. Bodybuilders started it and celebrities borrowed the idea. It's the IIFYM Diet, which is short for "If It Fits Your Macros."

IIFYM's popularity may be attributable to the fact that it's flexible enough to adapt to almost any personal fitness goal. On the other hand, it may require more work than you had in mind.

Find out whether the IIFYM Diet is for you.

Calculating Your Macros

The macros in this diet refer to macronutrients, which are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. You'll need to figure out how many calories to eat from each group, as well as how many total calories to consume each day.

Follow these steps to determine your macros:

1. Set your goals. Figuring out how many calories you burn depends on many factors, including your height, weight, age, and level of activity. Online calculators can help you determine how many calories to cut based on how weight much you want to lose.

2. Start with proteins. Most experts recommend getting 10% to 35% of your calories from protein. Because IIFYM started with bodybuilders, some plans advocate much more protein. Adjust those figures if you're less athletic.You may want to talk with your doctor about how much protein is safe for you.

3. Remember your carbs. The Recommended Daily Allowance for carbohydrates is 45% to 65%. Foods like vegetables, fruits, and breads provide most of your energy because your body can turn them into glucose.

4. Add in fats. That leaves 20% to 35% of your calories coming from fats. Foods like oils and nuts help your body perform essential functions like absorbing nutrients and producing hormones.

Other Elements of the IIFYM Diet

There are a few more things to keep in mind if you're going to use the IIFYM diet.

Try these tips for following the program successfully:

1. Focus on quality. The biggest gap in standard IIFYM plans is the lack of attention to food quality. Not all proteins, carbs, and fats are created equal. It’s still important to make smart choices to include nourishing, healthy foods.

2. Monitor portions. There are no forbidden foods on the IIFYM diet, but too many donuts will push you over your calorie limits. Learn to estimate portion sizes or buy a scale so you can measure your servings.

3. Proceed gradually. Most IIFYM plans recommend cutting calories by about 20%. You may want to modify those figures slightly, but it's a sensible starting point compared to crash diets that can slow your metabolism and actually make you store more fat.

4. Exercise regularly. Any diet will yield more effective results if you increase your activity level at the same time. Aim to work out for at least a half hour on at least 3 days a week. Train for strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness.

5. Plan ahead. It will be easier to meet your targets if you design a daily menu in advance. That way you won't be sidetracked by empty calories and you'll be prepared for challenges like dining out.

6. Go online. Technology can make the IIFYM diet easier and more fun. Find a free calculator to download to your phone to track what you eat each day. Join other IIFYM fans on Instagram and other social media to share your progress.

If you love using technology to track your fitness, you may enjoy the IIFYM diet. On the other hand, there are many other effective ways to manage your weight if you find calculating your macros a little too tedious.

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