When it comes to attaining your fitness and health goals, very few things matter as much as your diet. Unfortunately, for many years, the majority of diet plans available focused upon severely limited food options and an incredibly rigid approach. As time has passed and fitness methods have evolved to match our daily lives, more people can take advantage of a flexible diet plan that meets their daily needs.
A Flexible Diet Plan
The big question is can you enjoy the foods you want to eat while still not falling off your diet? The answer is a definitive yes!
Your meal plan will not be ruined by using flexible food options because you are going to track your macronutrients. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the three macronutrients or macros, for short. Tracking macros will simplify your diet plan by removing highly restrictive food rules. Instead, by focusing on the amount of protein, carbs, and fat, you will eliminate the guilt of eating your favorite foods or the frustration of not eating when out with friends.
For bodybuilders and fitness competitors, a meal plan built around “clean foods” was considered essential. However, for the majority of us, (and the majority of bodybuilders, too), denying foods that we love meant consuming a bland, limited range of options. You can ditch the rigid, traditional style of nutrition while not derailing your fitness goals by tracking macros.
How do you track your macros?
All foods are made of some combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Imagine a nutrition label on one of your favorite foods. It says 25g total carbohydrate, 15g protein, and 2g fat per serving. Now it’s time for some simple math!
If your diet plan allows you to eat 50g carbs, 27g protein and 16g fat for lunch, then you can include that food in your meal plan for lunch because it fits within your macro totals.
As you can see here, it’s not particularly challenging to total your macros, but it does take time and effort. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you use some food tracking tools. Using a meal plan journal or a diet calculator is beneficial for professionals and novices alike.
There are several benefits to keeping a log of your progress. Tracking your meals and diet plan give a real-time visual representation of your development and will show potential problem areas or improvements. It can help those newer to flexible meal planning with better portion size estimations. Also, using a tracking tool makes it easier to notice if particular foods affect personal well-being or cause a previously unnoticed reaction.
Now you know why it is beneficial, but how do you put the macro tracking process to work for your diet plan? The good news is that it has only become easier to maintain an accurate record without spending an excessive amount of time on meal planning. In the past, fitness and nutrition journaling was limited to physical notebooks and a daily account of all food intake. You would have to spend extra time at the day’s end to calculate the values and consider adjustments to your diet plan.
Computerized tracking improved personal diet planning somewhat, but it was not without limitations, too. Simple spreadsheet programs like Excel or early weight loss calculators allowed users to update their meal plans and view the totals immediately. These tools saved some time, but the user was still limited to whatever they entered as there was not a nutrition database to pull information from. That’s why we recommend that you use an online diet calculator to track your macros and design a meal plan. Online diet calculators have large and accurate nutrition databases. These online tools make the IIFYM lifestyle easy to follow.
For people who want a lean physique without following a rigid and isolating diet plan, the IIFYM meal plan is the way to go!