How to Make the IIFYM Diet Work

dietIn a recent episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast, I talked about a new diet trend called IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros.  With the IIFYM diet, you aim to get a certain amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat every day but there are no other rules. You can get your carbohydrates from quinoa or Cap’n Crunch. You can get your protein from tofu or from hot dogs and your fat from olive oil or bacon grease. It’s totally up to you…as long as it fits your macros.

In my podcast, I gave the diet a rather lukewarm review. I mean, how could any reasonable nutritionist get on board with this idea? In practice, however, this diet may ultimately lead some people toward healthier choices, and not away from them as you might expect.

Tracey wrote that following the IIFYM diet helped her lose almost 20 pounds and 8% body fat. But, even more importantly, it has helped her develop a healthier relationship to food and to make healthier choices.

Instead of categorizing foods as “good” and “bad,” the IIFYM approach helped Tracey figure out how to fit those things that she truly loved into her diet without going over her calorie budget. But, despite having carte blanche to eat whatever she wants, she reports eating mostly veggies, fruit, lean meat, and whole grains.


“Because you quickly learn if you only eat junk you will be very hungry. Being hungry is no fun. You  start to see how certain foods actually fill you up and keep you full. But it’s is also nice to be able to fit in treats. This way of eating has truly improved my relationship with food.”

It’s so subversive it’s brilliant!

I can tell you that vegetables, protein, and whole grains will help fill you up for fewer calories until I’m blue in the face. But how much better to experience it first hand! Instead of feeling deprived because of the foods your diet won’t “allow” or the ones you’re “required” to eat, you find your way by trial and error to the choices that make you feel the best.

It may not work that way for everyone, of course. But what a great testimonial to the power of real food to be what truly satisfies!

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