Lessons Learned and Common Mistakes with a Macro/IIFYM Diet

What is an IIFYM or Macro diet? IIFYM stands for "if it fits your macros." Macros, short for macronutrients, include carbohydrates, fat, protein and alcohol and all contain calories. In a macro diet, your meals and snacks are based on how much carbohydrates, fat and protein you need daily to reach your goals. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals we need in smaller amounts ("micro") each day.

Interested in a macro diet? Start by tracking your dietary intake for four to six days to get a baseline. From there you will have a better idea of how much to deduct (for fat and weight loss) or add (for weight/muscle gain). We recommend The Flexible Fat Loss Solution by John Gorman if your goal is fat or weight loss. Tracking may seem like a dunning task but it only takes a few minutes per day to track with a food tracking app like My Macros+ or My Fitness Pal.

My Macros+

My Fitness Pal

Common mistakes on a macro diet include:

  • Eating "burned" calories as in eating the amount of calories the treadmill says you have burned in addition to your daily macros. First, these machine estimates are usually inaccurate. Second, your daily macros will already be higher based on the amount of exercise you do each week.

  • Not tracking the little additions like milk in coffee, ketchup, butter or cooking oil. Be sure to keep these in mind since they all contribute to your macro count.

  • Relying on measuring cups and spoons. The best way to measure is with a digital scale. We recommend this OXO scale from Bed, Bath and Beyond (don't forget your 20% coupon!)

Like any other healthy eating plan, be consistent and have patience! Set goals other than a number on the scale, take measurements and take note of how you feel week to week.