Flexible dieting, or sometimes called IFYM (if it fits your macros), is a way of eating that allows a balance of all foods while maintaining or improving body composition.
The main concept of flexible dieting is that you have a target number of macronutrients that adds to a specific calorie amount. As long as you hit those target numbers you can choose the foods you wish to eat.
It’s important to know that I don’t fill my macros with junk food because I can make it fit. Most of the foods I eat are healthy and a small amount are indulgences.
These are my top 5 reasons why I follow flexible dieting.
1 - I never feel guilty or deprived
The main reason I like flexible dieting is that I never feel deprived. I can almost always figure out a way to fit a specific food into my diet while working toward my body composition goals. If I want to eat sweets or drink a glass of wine, I can and I don’t feel guilty.
2 - I can fit in all foods
This way of eating allows for an 80/20 intake. Most of my meals, 80%, consist of lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. The other 20% allows for less healthy foods as long as I don’t go over my macros and calories for the day.
For instance, every Friday is family night which includes pizza. Friday morning, I plan my meals to fit in pizza. Eating pizza with my family is important to me for a couple of reasons. One, I get to eat pizza, which I enjoy. And two, it is teaching my kids the importance of balancing our food intake. For most of the day, they see me eat lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
We also like to eat out on Saturday. Again, I plan my meals in the morning and make room for a restaurant meal. I can almost always make it fit.
3 - I am in control
This way of eating allows me to be in control of my diet and body composition. It also helps me to be more disciplined not only in the way I eat but also in other areas of my life. The absence of restriction with my food has caused me to become more disciplined with my eating.
"Through discipline comes freedom." - Aristotle
4 - I have more energy
I plan certain macros around the time of day when I need more energy such as my workouts. For example, I eat most of my carbohydrates in the morning and afternoon. This is the time when I workout, and get most of my work done. It is also the time of day when I function the best.
5 - I sleep better
I sleep better because of all the reasons listed above. My diet is balanced in both macronutrients and micronutrients. I don’t eat too much or too little. I am less stressed because I am in control. And, I don’t have any negative feelings toward myself or my food choices.
Even though I enjoy this way of eating and think it would be helpful for many people, it’s not the best for everyone.
My recommendation as always is to experiment and find a way of eating that allows you to function at your best, consist of healthy and enjoyable foods, and you can be consistent with.
What eating style works best for you?