Eat Pizza, Lose Fat. What You Need to Know About the IIFYM Diet

The world of diet is awash in several diets, and it’s secure to say that lots of them hinge on guidelines surrounding what you’ll be able to and might’t eat: nothing post-caveman for the Paleo weight loss program, nothing from an animal for vegans, no fruit or grains on gradual carb, and so forth.

This is why the “If It Fits Your Macros” weight loss program, also called IIFYM, is seen by many as revolutionary. This technique of consuming permits you to eat something from any meals group — as long as it suits your macros. You’ll achieve or drop some weight in the event you’re consuming the correct quantity of energy, and also you’re extra doubtless to achieve muscle and lose fats in the event you’re consuming the proper steadiness of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

A Whole Cheese Pizza
V. Matthiesen/Shutterstock

Editor’s word: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, nevertheless it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. The opinions and articles on this website should not meant to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or therapy of well being issues. It’s at all times a good suggestion to discuss to your physician earlier than starting a brand new health, dietary, and/or complement routine. None of those dietary supplements are meant to deal with or treatment any illness. If you are feeling it’s possible you’ll be poor in a specific nutrient or vitamins, please search out a medical skilled.

That’s IIFYM in a nutshell: maintain your energy and macros in examine, train appropriately, and your weight and physique composition will enhance. Want to make some buttery buffalo rooster? No sweat; watch your portions. Does that coworker’s birthday cake tempt you? Have a slice; simply deduct it out of your day by day calorie allotment.

For many, monitoring energy feels very restrictive. In distinction, for others, IIFYM is an unbelievable breath of recent air after years of “clean food” diets consisting of rooster, broccoli, rice, and completely no pizza ever.

What Is “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM)?

If It Fits Your Macros is a weight loss program that has the consumer observe their macronutrients — protein, carbs, and fat — to guarantee they’re consuming sufficient energy (in particular ratios) to lose, achieve, or preserve weight.

IIFYM promotes dietary freedom, which is a big motive why it’s gained a lot reputation amongst physique and power athletes. As lengthy as you hit your macronutrient goal, you’ll be able to, in idea, eat no matter you need. The thought is that 30 grams of carbs — whether or not from greens, cereal, or pizza — is 30 grams. 

How Does IIFYM Work?

IIFYM works by retaining folks in a calorie vary that fits their objectives after which utilizing this calorie goal to distinguish the quantity every macronutrient contributes to these energy.

The success of IIFYM relies on the concept that weight reduction is primarily a matter of vitality in versus vitality out. If you burn extra energy than you devour, you’ll drop some weight. And in the event you eat extra gasoline than your physique makes use of, you’ll achieve weight.

“At the end of the day, whether you gain or lose weight comes down to calorie balance, and the macronutrients you use to comprise your total daily calories can exert a significant effect on what kind of weight you gain or lose,” says New York-based registered dietitian Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD. “Speaking broadly, athletes typically want to gain as much muscle as they can when they’re trying to bulk, and they want to lose as little muscle as possible when they’re trying to cut.”

Based on this concept, calorie-counting is sufficient to both lose or achieve weight. By counting your macros, nonetheless, you’re in a position to extra exactly give your physique the vitamins and macros it wants to construct muscle or lose fats whereas sustaining muscle. Say you eat 2,000 energy price of Doritos and Swedish Fish all day — you’ll drop some weight on paper, however your physique received’t have the supplies obligatory to carve out the physique you need.

Tracking your meals consumption is significant to long-term dietary success as a result of even if you’re not counting energy, the energy you eat will nonetheless have an effect on your weight over time. (1) Ignoring your checking account doesn’t imply you don’t have cash points, and never paying thoughts to your meals consumption doesn’t imply energy don’t depend. 

The Origins of IIFYM

The seed of the present wave of the IIFYM weight loss program, it’s truthful to say, was planted by Mark Haub, a professor of diet at Kansas State University.

Haub is the man who’s greatest identified for his well-known “Twinkie diet.” He ate a Twinkie each three hours for 2 months, together with corn chips, Oreos, and different processed snacks. He additionally consumed a protein shake and a multivitamin day by day, practices that didn’t make fairly as many headlines. The outcomes? After two months of Twinkies day by day, Haub misplaced 27 kilos and improved his ldl cholesterol and triglyceride ranges to boot.

How can he have improved his physique mass and his coronary heart well being on such a junk weight loss program? Because as a lot as we wish to consider a trim waistline will simply come from eliminating sweet or dairy or crimson meat or the rest, the truth is that for nearly everybody, the solely factor that issues for weight reduction is calorie steadiness. (This assumes you don’t have hormonal issues or different uncommon issues that may intrude with regular metabolism.)

After two months of Twinkies day by day, Haub misplaced 27 kilos and improved his ldl cholesterol and triglyceride ranges to boot.

Haub ate about 1,800 energy a day, and his day by day energy wanted to preserve his weight was 2,600. He, subsequently, misplaced weight, and that’s good in your well being and your coronary heart. That’s all there may be to it. The experiment acquired appreciable media consideration and renewed enthusiasm for versatile weight-reduction plan.

Later, entrepreneur and health fanatic Anthony Collova grew to become well-known for additional popularizing the development, launching an in depth macronutrient calculator at to assist curious dieters begin their very own experiments. People had been efficiently manipulating their physique composition whereas making room for his or her favourite meals.

So What Are Macros?

There are three essential macronutrients — protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Alcohol (aka ethanol) is technically the fourth macronutrient. Each macro performs a particular position in how your physique features and every macro accommodates a specific variety of energy per gram:

  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Alcohol: seven grams

The three essential macros mixed will make up your complete caloric allotment. Once you know the way many energy you want to eat to attain your objectives, you’ll divide up a certain amount of energy to every macro.

There’s no one-size-fits-all ratio. Bodybuilders sometimes comply with a 40-40-20 share cut up of protein, carbs, and fats. If you comply with a keto weight loss program, your ratio could appear to be 30-5-65. Athletes who require a whole lot of exercise gasoline in carbohydrates could eat a cut up that appears like 30-50-20.

Below, you’ll discover a temporary primer on protein, carbs, fat, and the way all three influence your coaching objectives.


Protein helps muscle retention and muscle progress, which is essential as a result of it permits you to proceed burning energy at a price that encourages weight reduction. Eating extra protein helps you to look your greatest and might support in muscle restoration. It’s additionally a satiating macronutrient, which means you get a whole lot of quantity per calorie foundation.

Protein is crucial to devour earlier than and after exercises to encourage muscle restore and progress. Still, analysis additionally means that protein could be consumed all through the day somewhat than having it to maximize the amino acids that protein gives. (2)

When organising your macro targets, it is best to intention for a protein consumption of Zero.7-1 grams per pound of physique weight, relying on how lively you’re. If you’re not very lively, you’ll be able to stick to the decrease finish of the vary, however in the event you’re extremely practical, it is best to use the greater finish of the spectrum.


Carbs are the most effective nutrient for supplying the physique with the vitality it wants to preserve organ perform. (three) Carbs are additionally extraordinarily essential whereas exercising as a result of they’re the physique’s most well-liked gasoline supply and subsequently present the vitality you want to carry out your greatest in coaching and get well after coaching. (four)

When your weight-related progress comes to a halt, you’ll sometimes add or subtract out of your carbohydrate consumption first. Carbs are adjusted earlier than protein and fat as a result of they’re normally overconsumed by most individuals, particularly those that should not monitoring their macros or should not nutrient-conscious.

Carbs are additionally not as satisfying as protein and fat and, subsequently, you’ll be able to normally cut back them with out getting too hungry.

The quantity of carbs it is best to devour per day is normally decided based mostly on the variety of energy which might be remaining out of your day by day calorie goal after you’ve set your protein and fats targets. 


Fats are important in your well being as a result of they’re required for some micronutrients to be absorbed (nutritional vitamins A, D, E, Okay). They could be anti-inflammatory and assist regulate your hormones. (5) Therefore, no less than 20% of complete day by day energy needs to be allotted to fat.

You can eat extra fats in the event you choose, however you’ll have to alter your carbohydrate consumption. If you’re extra lively, you’ll need to have the next share of carbohydrates than fats. If you’re not as lively, you’re most likely okay with the next fats to carb ratio.

Fats are the macronutrients with the highest variety of energy per gram, however they’re additionally the slowest to digest, so they are going to maintain you full for longer intervals. Therefore, consuming the next ratio of fats to carbs may assist forestall you from getting too hungry all through the day, which may assist enhance your adherence to your macronutrient targets.

How to Track Your Macros

Don’t fear in the event you’ve by no means weighed a gram of meals in your life. Here’s a fast rundown of how to observe your macros efficiently.

Determine Your Macros

First, you want to determine what number of energy you need to be consuming per day. It’s not an ideal science, however multiply your physique weight by 11 in the event you’re trying to drop some weight or by 15 in the event you’re trying to achieve weight. From there, you’ll be able to comply with these common pointers to calculate your macros:

  • Set protein at one gram per pound of physique weight.
  • Multiply your physique weight by Zero.30-Zero.35 to discover your fats consumption.
  • Divide the the rest of your energy by 4 to get the variety of carbohydrates it is best to eat. (To discover your energy, multiply your protein by 4 and your fats by 9, add these numbers collectively, and there you might have it.)

If math isn’t your sturdy go well with, then you’ll be able to refer to this calculator under to get a great beginning macro set:

Get the Right Tools

Once you’ve decided your macronutrient targets, you’ll be able to start monitoring them manually or in an app. MyFitnessPal is a well-liked monitoring app with an in depth meals database and is suitable with totally different health trackers. Another choice is Chronometer, which isn’t as suitable with different gadgets however does supply correct meals entries.

Next, you’ll want a meals scale so you’ll be able to weigh out your entire cooked and dry substances. (As a bonus: a meals scale is useful to have in a kitchen even in the event you’re not into health and weight-reduction plan.)

Eyeballing portion sizes with out apply is troublesome. What you assume is 4 ounces of rooster could also be seven — that’s a 100-calorie distinction, which, over time, can derail your weight reduction efforts. A meals scale will guarantee correct consumption, whether or not you’re batch cooking or whipping up a single meal.

You’ll additionally need to snag a body weight scale and a measuring tape. It could sound obsessive, however monitoring your physique weight lets you realize in case your macros are optimum. For instance, in the event you’re dropping greater than a pound every week, your macros are most likely too low. Weighing your self just a few instances per week additionally permits you to establish tendencies in your weight reduction journey — like how a lot your weight fluctuates after a cheat meal and the way rapidly it takes to stage again out.

The measuring tape is important as a result of the quantity in your scale isn’t the solely barometer of success. It’s commonplace for an individual to lose only some kilos over just a few months however for them to lose just a few inches off of their waist — which is an indication you’ve misplaced fats however preserve some muscle mass.

Choose the Right Foods

Apologies upfront, as a result of in the event you’re leaping for pleasure at the thought of consuming no matter you need whereas dropping pounds, put together to sit.

“If you’re going to observe macros since you like the freedom of decisions, it’s essential to understand that it is best to nonetheless select wholesome meals,” says New York-based registered dietitian Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD. “For example, you get a lot more pieces of fruit than candy within the carb allotment.”

Say your macros are 200 grams of protein, 250 grams of carbs, and 60 grams of fats. A slice of cheese pizza accommodates roughly 30 grams of carbs, 12-15 grams of fats, and Eight-10 grams of protein. Those macros aren’t unhealthy for “junk food,” however they’re not totally balanced both. Eat two slices of za and half of your fats is gone for the day.

Common “junk foods” are excessive in energy from carbs and fat, and so consuming them takes up a considerable amount of your day by day caloric allotment whereas offering little to no protein and, frankly, not a lot satiation.

The greatest manner to guarantee long-term macro success is to construct your day by day meal plan round “single-macro foods” or meals that include primarily one macronutrient. By selecting single-macro meals, you’re in a position to combine higher and match totally different meals to create bigger and extra filling protein-dense meals.

For instance, a Big Mac accommodates 540 energy and 30 grams of fats and 45 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein. Instead, you can also make your individual burger utilizing 96% lean beef, low-fat or no-fat cheese, mild mayonnaise, veggies, and a hamburger bun and slash the energy by 30% whereas retaining the protein the identical.

Single-macro meals sometimes refer to what most individuals affiliate with being wholesome meals — rooster, lean beef, potatoes, rice, oatmeal, egg whites, inexperienced leafy greens, and extra. Of course, you don’t want to eat single-macro meals all day day by day, however consuming extra of them will most likely make hitting your macro objectives simpler.

Here are some meals decisions in every macro class that you could contemplate becoming into your consuming plan:


  • Lean Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Cheese (low-fat and zero-fat cheese)
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Egg Whites


  • Fruit
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Starchy greens
  • Popcorn
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits


  • Nuts
  • Coconut
  • Oils
  • Butter
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Dark Chocolate

Plan Your Days

The greatest manner to make sure you hit your macros day after day is to plan out your meals upfront. This manner, you’ll be able to pre-log your macros in your app of selection and never have to give it some thought.

It helps to select meals that you simply like to eat day after day. Every week or so, you’ll be able to change up your meals decisions so that you don’t get bored. As lengthy as the macro profiles keep constant, your meals sources can change.

It additionally helps to attempt your greatest to plan out indulgences. If you realize you’re going out to eat, go away room in your macros for a restaurant meal and perhaps a drink. It helps to search for the restaurant’s menu forward of time and pursue your choices. Another tip for consuming out: Always go away extra room than you assume in your macros. Oftentimes, eating places prepare dinner with oils. So in the event you’re ordering a rooster dish, account for an additional 10 grams of fats or so.

Eating In Moderation On IIFYM

Although your main considerations are staying inside the calorie vary and hitting the macronutrients targets, you also needs to be involved about guaranteeing that the high quality of meals that you simply’re consuming is enough.

Higher high quality meals include micronutrients (nutritional vitamins and minerals) that the physique wants to perform optimally and that assist to cut back the total danger for illness and sickness. (6) Foods which might be extremely processed include little to no micronutrients.

Micronutrients are vitamins that the physique doesn’t produce itself, related to macronutrients, however they’re known as “micronutrients” since you want them in lesser portions than carbs, fat, and protein.

“Your macros are important for reaching these goals, but it’s important to not forget about the ‘micros,’” says Shamayeva. “The more extreme factions of the IIFYM movement love to fill their days with hundreds, if not thousands of calories of junk food that happen to fit their macros. A calorie-controlled diet can make room for treats, but if you go too far in one direction then you can easily find yourself missing out on nutrients that are also important for your goals.”

However, simply since you want micronutrients in smaller portions doesn’t imply they aren’t essential. If you’re not getting sufficient micros, you’ll doubtless really feel sick, bloated, much less energetic, and total simply really feel worse than in the event you had been to embrace them extra recurrently.

That’s not to say that an individual can’t have these much less nutritious meals of their weight loss program, however they need to embrace them much less continuously and in smaller portions whereas prioritizing greater high quality meals most of the time.

A few ways in which you may preserve this steadiness between extra nutrient-dense meals and fewer nutritious meals is to pair them collectively. For instance, if you need to have a donut, you may pair it with fruit to make it a extra nutritious snack.

Or in the event you didn’t need to pair something with the donut, you may prioritize extra nutrient-dense meals in all different meals/snacks for the day so that you simply’re nonetheless getting all the vitamins you want in a day whereas having fun with the donut.

Also, taking additional dietary supplements like a multivitamin and/or greens powder is an effective way to assist fill in the gaps in your weight loss program.

Managing Expectations

Tracking your macronutrients utilizing an IIFYM strategy is a helpful device to make sure that you’re getting sufficient of every nutrient to obtain your objectives, whether or not that be weight reduction, weight achieve, physique recomposition, or improved efficiency.

However, it’s essential to perceive what IIFYM shouldn’t be, and that’s an excuse to eat something and the whole lot simply because you’ll be able to. This weight loss program is a device that, when adopted accurately, can educate followers moderation, the significance of meals selection, and the way to assemble a meal plan that’s doable for the long run.

Person holding cheeseburger

While any meals is technically truthful sport with IIFYM, there are some meals which might be near-impossible to match responsibly into most macro plans. A basket of fish and chips or a restaurant-style rooster parmesan can get shut to (if not typically above) 1,000 energy and over a day’s price of fat. The level of IIFYM is to match smaller indulgences into your day of consuming whereas retaining your complete energy on observe. However, sure events will come up the place that’s not possible — and that’s okay. If you’re at a party and need to eat a double cheeseburger with bacon, do it, however then get again on observe for the subsequent meal. 

The 80/20 strategy to diet, the place the objective is to eat nutrient-dense meals 80% of the time, and fewer nutrient-dense solely 20% of the time, is an efficient guideline to comply with on the IIFYM weight loss program. If you need to get the most out of an IIFYM strategy, then you definately want to be aware of not solely your macronutrient consumption but in addition your micronutrient consumption. If you are feeling like rubbish however you’re hitting your macros, is it actually going to really feel price it?

More Nutrition Content

The IIFYM weight loss program is a dependable and time-tested device that may assist dieters obtain their objectives with extra freedom of selection. It nonetheless requires dedication, planning, and a few sacrifice (any weight loss program does), however for these trying to set up a more healthy way of life — not only a short-term weight loss program — IIFYM is for you. Here are another diet articles from BarBend:


  1. Hill, J. O., Wyatt, H. R., & Peters, J. C. (2012). Energy steadiness and weight problems. Circulation, 126(1), 126–132.
  2. Schoenfeld, B.J., Aragon, A.A. How a lot protein can the physique use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for day by day protein distribution. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 10 (2018).
  3. E Jéquier, Carbohydrates as a supply of vitality, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 59, Issue three, March 1994, Pages 682S–685S, 
  4. Louise M Burke, Bente Kiens & John L Ivy (2004) Carbohydrates and fats for coaching and restoration, Journal of Sports Sciences, 22:1, 15-30, DOI: 10.1080/0264041031000140527
  5. Anvith, Panchumarthy & Sankar, Ravi. (2015). The Comprehensive Review on Fat-Soluble Vitamins. IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy, Volume 5, Issue 11, 12-28.
  6. Shenkin A. Micronutrients in well being and illness. Postgrad Med J. 2006 Sep;82(971):559-67. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2006.047670. PMID: 16954450; PMCID: PMC2585731.

Featured Image: V. Matthiesen/Shutterstock

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