When it comes to losing weight, the old adage holds: “a calorie is a calorie.” You could eat nothing but junk food and still lose weight, so long as you are eating fewer calories than your body burns for energy. However, when you’re in a caloric deficit, your body doesn't differentiate between fat and muscle mass, and it will use both as energy sources. If you want to lose weight and maintain lean mass, you have to do more than eat less than your body needs to function. That’s where macros come in.
“If It Fits Your Macros,” or “IIFYM,” is a flexible dieting program developed by Layne Norton. Norton’s system holds that it doesn't matter what foods you eat so long as you’re meeting certain intake goals for three “macros” or macronutrients: fats, protein, and carbohydrates. According to IIFYM proponents and practitioners, the following calorie breakdown is ideal for growing muscles, burning fat, and staying energized: 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat. That said, the IIFYM diet isn't a free pass to eat all the junk food you want. Junk food is full of processed sugars and chemical additives that are bad for your body, macronutrients aside. In general, junk food also lacks many important vitamins and minerals. IIFYM works best when you source most of your macronutrients from healthy, nutrient-dense foods that you actually enjoy. Its flexible framework allows for indulgences, so long as you fit them into your daily macros. You’ll feed your body, feel great, and look great without denying yourself certain pleasures. What dieting system works best for you? Tell us in the comments below.