Eat clean or count calories? This is an eternal debate among purists who think that calories are far from being all in one diet, but that the quality and origin of the food matter in terms of your body composition. On the other hand there are those who believe that a calorie is the same calorie if you eat broccoli than if you eat donuts after training because in the end they are both carbohydrates, or not? The two are partly right in what they say, and the two methods are acceptable in the pursuit of our physical goals. Although the common method among athletes, athletes and bodybuilders is that of a clean, scrap-free diet, the IIFYM method is catching up in nutrition and sports circles.
At first the IIFYM collides after having always heard the same paraphernalia of, eat well, choose whole foods, eat lean meats, etc … But then, how can we achieve our goals in terms of definition, volume or strength, eating ice cream, donuts and hamburgers? IIFYM works the same or better than any other method, you just have to know how to use it to get those results.
One is used to hearing this phrase in the field of muscle building, but what does it mean? The most general definition is a diet composed of unprocessed, natural and nutrient-dense foods. Then meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc. They are ‘good’ foods. Some take it further and omit dairy products, condiments and some grains. Theoretically, in a diet of this style, calories should not be counted with obsession, since if you eat foods from that list the calorie intake will not be too high and you will lose fat. Regarding the volume phase, all you have to do is prioritize foods with more fat, roots instead of vegetables and increase the intake of all foods on the list in general. This is a widely used method and its results are the order of the day in many people. It is also recommended for beginners as far as the diet is concerned, since you know what you have to eat and you limit yourself to eating it, without measuring or counting.
And then what is IIFYM?
Broadly speaking, IIFYM means that if a food enters your daily requirements for protein, carbohydrates, fat and calories, why do not you eat it? It can vary from lettuce to chocolate and caramel cookies.
Something fundamental in this type of diet is to review the nutritional information of all the foods that you eat to be able to count them throughout the day and also the needs that you present in terms of macro nutrients. This varies depending on your activity, height, weight and purpose. To do this there are calculators on the internet and authors like Harris Benedict or Lyle McDonald to help you. In addition to be able to keep track of what you eat, there are programs and applications for it. In addition you must weigh the food so that you can make equivalences with the macro nutrients that it gives you. This can be expensive for someone who starts since you should plan your daily meal beforehand knowing everything you are going to eat and in what quantities. The problem also comes if you eat away from home because in a common restaurant you will not be able to know any information and you will have to leave calories by eye and choose the food carefully. This is when the idea that this type of diet is for people without discipline crumbles.
- They eat “dirty” food all the time: For someone outside of this approach the IIFYMers only eat scrap. Not so, try to meet daily protein requirements just eating pastries, or not exceed the fat based on pizzas, it is impossible. Junk foods fall into the diet but then you will have to dispense grams of other food and sure that several meals a day will be clean enough to allow that luxury.
- There is no focus on nutritious and healthy food: This brings us back to the previous point. No IIFYMer will consider that micronutrients are not important and getting this from junk food is not possible. We need fruit, vegetables and even supplementation in some cases to get there. The good thing about this type of diet is the way we eat those foods that we need to fulfill our food. While a bodybuilder will boil their vegetables, an IIFYMer will eat them inside a hamburger or with sauce and meat.
- The results are not so good: This is talking to talk because many people have achieved spectacular results with the two types of diet cited in this article. The IIFYM is neither better nor worse, but its effectiveness cannot be discussed.
- It is for people who lack discipline: I think that no reader of this article will believe that weighing each gram of each of your meals every day of the year is for someone without discipline.
- It’s like putting cheap gasoline on a Ferrari: Many use this anthology to supplement their reasons against this type of diet. I’m not an expert on hormones, so I’m not going to discuss which method is better in that sense. But what I will say is that if you are eating well, training and having a healthy lifestyle in general, the negative impact on your hormones, metabolism and health by including some dirty foods in your diet will be negligible.
Is it for me the IIFYM?
Anyone can follow this diet, but it has preferences for some people than for others. If you have a weakness for sweets or fatty foods, or you eat out at home it is often a good approach, although it will require a lot of personal effort on your part.
It is not for you the IIFYM if:
- You speak proudly of your diet of bodybuilder and your discipline eating boiled egg and chicken for 20 weeks.
- You have no willpower to say enough to junk foods.
- You are very new and still do not understand correctly calories and macronutrients
- You cannot plan in advance.
How to set up your diet IIFYM
- Find your ideal macros intake, how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats you should eat per day in addition to how many calories.
- Get used to counting the calories. This becomes simple if you have access to mobile applications or online calculators.
- It includes a minimum intake of fiber also, preferably more than 25 grams.
- Make sure you get to the grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats every day, you can allow a margin of 5 grams up or down in the macronutitientes, but I personally recommend that you adjust calories as much as possible.
- Do not become a fan of junk food always, of course you can include it and there is the fun of this type of diet but also think that you can achieve the same results and improve your health if you do not abuse them and moderate them.
So which one is better?
The best diet is the one with which you feel better personally, that you can perform at ease and that you are not going to abandon, either of the two methods mentioned above are acceptable.
Personally I have been using the IIFYM for about half a year and it’s great for me. I have everything measured and depends on what foods you are amazed at the amount of food you can eat fulfilling your requirements and losing weight. I think you eat more controlling the detail than without control, since you know that everything you eat is perfectly planned within your diet and you can eat it without remorse or scare on the scale.
If you have always been eating clean I invite you to try at least one month the IIFYM and tell us your experience.