Alan Aragon Can Teach You A Lot About Flexible Dieting

There's more to flexible dieting than Pizza and hashtags.


Alan Aragon discussing the background of the phenomenon that If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) has become (video here). The idea of IIFYM is valid to me, in the sense that you can add a few 'non-clean' meals to your nutrition plan, so long as they don't exceed your energy targets. 

However, the majority of my clients are using advanced nutrition protocols such as nutrient timing variations to achieve their goals. This means we need to take a little more time in deciding when a 'non-clean' or 'refeed' meal might be incorporated into their nutrition plan. There is always the option for these foods, but management and execution becomes quite important, as opposed to free consumption.

IIFYM is associated with eating junk foods that your macronutrient target allow. This isn't where the idea came from, but unfortunately it has evolved to this now. I prefer the term 'flexible dieting', popularised by Dr Layne Norton when it comes to incorporating a range of foods that someone might like to eat. IIFYM has morphed into another fad, even though that was never the intention of this protocol. 

Can you lose weight using an IIFYM protocol? Yes. 

Is it the very best option to lose weight and maintain health? Not in my opinion.

The reality is that if macronutrients are the only variable you manipulate from a nutritional perspective, the only way to continue losing weight is to reduce them. Eventually they will get low and none of the junk foods you have been eating will fit your macros. To continue progress, you will need to consume more stereotypical 'clean' foods, because these now fit your macros...

I would rather use some more advanced nutrition protocols that allow you to keep energy intake as elevated for as long as possible. Sure, energy intake will probably drop (not always) at some stage during a Body Recomposition program, however energy restriction is just one of the options we have when it comes to achieving your goals.

So take a smarter approach to your food intake. Eat as much as you can while still meeting your goals.