Are macronutrients really, their meticulous enumeration and adherence to the key to success, health and well-being? Good looks and well-being are not the same and do not have to go hand in hand. The difference between them is more than the number of macronutrients.
“You can eat whatever you like and still look great!” those words are tempting for everyone who works out, tries to follow the diet and takes care of the appearance of their figure. No wonder that these words are accepted by many people with a slight amount of scepticism. Imagine that you do not have to constantly eat rice and roasted chicken and you can still keep a great shape despite reaching for products such as chocolate or ice cream. This is how the idea for the diet IIFYM was born (If it fits Your Macros). This diet says that if the product fits your macro, you can eat it by fitting in without worrying about your plan. This idea has become a relief for thousands of people training and counting exactly calories every day and for all who have relied on too much restriction in their diet for too long.
The question is: can you really eat what you want, how much do you track the amount of macronutrients?
And even if you can, will it be the optimal solution?
Is everything revolving around numbers?
Calories reign when it comes to body composition. We want to gain weight, we need to eat more and be on a positive calorific balance, we want to lose weight, we need to eat less and keep the caloric deficit. Based on such assumptions, IIFYM was created. A completely simple relationship. If you need 2,500 calories to keep your weight, it’s important that you do not eat more than 2,500 calories. It does not matter how you get these 2,500 calories. People, however, love to go to extremes. IIFYM began to be used as an excuse for cheat meals. It has become an excuse for a lifestyle filled with burgers, fries, ice-cream and biscuits.
What actually is IIFYM?
The classic IIFYM in its original version differs slightly from what it used to be considered. IIFYM assumes that the basis of the diet should be healthy, unprocessed products, rich in nutrients. 80-90% of the daily calories should come from the pool of these unprocessed products. Only 10-20% of the daily requirement is the so-called recreational part of the diet. This means that about 10% of the daily caloric intake can come from any product, but they must be part of our daily macronutrients.
Find the balance
IIFYM proved that “cheating” in the diet from time to time will not ruin all the work we have put into building the figure. The small cheat meal is perfectly fine. And even more than “fine.” This is called a normal life involving meeting friends, drinking beer from time to time, or eating a piece of cake for birthday. Continuing to deny yourself is also not healthy. Especially from the point of view of our psyche.
Life and training are a balance. Balance in how hard you train and how to rigorously follow a diet. Diets that mainly consist of unhealthy food are not healthy, of course. Even if they allow us to keep a well-developed figure. This is an important distinction. To look good and be healthy are not always synonymous.
The right fuel
- Proper, wholemeal diet is not only calories, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They are also micronutrients and vitamins that we need to be healthy.
- Taking care of the right amount of energy and macronutrients will not bring us health benefits if we do not take care of their quality.
- Your diet must consist primarily of healthy and nutritious foods.
- We should mainly go for products with the least amount of processing.
Healthy foods such as salmon, avocado, nuts, eggs, vegetables, fruits and lean meat have a higher nutritional density. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) take part in every function of the body and are necessary for us to stay healthy. Unfortunately, more and more of us have a deficiency of some microelement, which means that the body will not function optimally. Deficiencies usually occur as a result of relying on processed foods and eating too few nutritious foods. Therefore, remember that you need the right fuel. For example, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are not found in junk foods, but are found in nuts and greasy sea fish. These fats help reduce inflammation and improve the functioning of the brain. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.
The quality of food is something that cannot be ignored if you take care of your body. If you throw old newspapers and clothes in the fireplace, it will produce heat, but it will also produce smoke, mess and stink terribly. If you burn wood or coal, it will work much more effectively and will not pollute the environment. Think about your body and food that you eat in the same way. You can count calories and eat junk food, but you will never achieve good results or feel good.
Fast-food, cookies and cakes are not the best source of minerals, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants, so even if their consumption will cover our energy and macronutrients demand, we will end up with health-deficient vitamins and minerals, and expose our organism to unfavourable action of free radicals.
In summary: remember that the appearance does not always go hand in hand with full health. Every diet-related extreme is bad. It’s not good either to paranoidly follow the diet, preferably based mainly on rice and chicken, and it’s also bad to focus only on numbers and the amount of food without taking care of the quality of what we eat.
The diet should be based mainly on unprocessed and nutrient-rich products. So-called recreational products like sweets and fast foods can also find a place in the diet. Everything should be done with good thought. Balance is the key to success.