Operation Skinny Jeans: IIFYM and why I don't think it would work for me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

IIFYM and why I don't think it would work for me.

There are a lot of popular schools of eating thought out there, and in my honest opinion if you are doing anything to eat better or be healthier, that is FINE by me!

But there has been a ton of buzz about IIFYM, and I have done extensive research on it (I considered it a while back) so I thought I would share my perspective for people who maybe didn't think of it this way.

As you know, I am a Weight Watchers drop out. I know (not personally) thousands of people who succeed with Weight Watchers. After doing it FOUR different times, pre and post the points plus shift, I decided that it wasn't the plan for me. Here's why. I am a disordered eater. I don't look at foods the same way normal minded people do. Food isn't fuel to me (I am getting there, but it wasn't during my time with WW) and so I didn't SEE WW as a way to fuel my body. I saw it as a way to justify my BED by fitting my binges within my points- which I was pretty successful at doing. 37 points in Girl Scout cookies is a pretty successful binge. And since I would be "out of points" I could justify the other side of my cycle, starving myself. Weight Watchers played directly into my eating disorder's hands, and all for just $40 a month! How convenient!

What does that have to do with IIFYM? Well- IIFYM is the EXACT same plan as WW. Yep. Your mind is blowing right now. It's ok.

IIFYM is all about eating a certain proportion of fat, carbs, protein and fiber. Guess what WW points are based on? Fat, carbs, protein and fiber. The only difference is they aren't calculated into "points", you count the actual macronutrients. But I would be willing to bet your macros and points were PRETTY darn close.

So good news for people with normal brains- I just saved you $40 a month. But for people like me- and people like a LOT of people on the internet, IIFYM is just another vehicle for your disordered eating. I can eat pop tarts! It fits my macros! I can eat ice cream and girl scout cookies and binge, IIFYM Y'ALL!

I am not saying everyone has this problem, but when I see people look at it this way, I know how that feels. I have WORKED that system. It. doesn't. work.

Can you lose weight and live healthy and STILL eat ice cream? YES. But not every day, and not until you want to puke. It may seem like a magical little system because it is hard as hell to find a diet that encourages you to eat pop tarts, but unless you know how to use it correctly, and eat your macros of GOOD HEALHY FOOD, you aren't going to get anywhere.

I am not there yet. Actually I don't know that's true. Maybe I could follow IIFYM and succeed. But I know how I work and I know that it would feed right into my disordered eating hands.

But again. I LOVE that we even get to have this discussion because it means that people are TRYING to be healthier. And I am all for that. I just want to save that person who thinks like I do from the heartache of another failed diet because her brain twists things like this around. And there are a lot more people like me out there than I knew. Seriously, google IIFYM Poptarts. Its redic.

Find something that works for you. Eat portion controlled proportion balanced meals. Eat more vegetables, I can almost guarantee you aren't eating enough of them. And pay attention to your macros, eating enough protein and carbs, fat and fiber is IMPORTANT. But realize that just because it fits your macros, doesn't mean you SHOULD eat it or that it WILL help you lose weight.

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  1. I think the key here is 'find what works for you'. And thank you for pointing that out. I think since everybody is different, and every BODY is different...diets work differently. WW, IIFYM, Adkins, South Beach, glycemic index, blood typing, cabbage soup...whatever...it's all in finding what works for you, what works for your body, what you are comfortable/successful with. Diets aren't one size fits all.

  2. I've tried the various methods and realized for me that IIFYM made me more obsessive than ever about every little macronutrient. I spent more time deciphering what I could eat than actually enjoying what little food I allowed myself. The only thing I've learned is to listen to my body, not just physically but mentally as well because jacking up my already skewed relationship with food to make it fit macros isn't going to help me in the long run become a healthier woman. Do what works for you.

  3. Can you explain to me how IIFYM is the "exact" same as Weight Watchers? In my experience, the two are pretty radically different...

    1. Crap you are a no reply commenter which means I can't email you. Hopefully you see this!

      They are formulated the same way. You count macros in both programs. One literally, the other in the form of points which are calculated using macros.

      I am curious how they are different...

    2. Per the Weight Watchers website, they say the appropriate distribution of calories is:

      Protein: 10-35%
      Fat: 20-35%
      Carbohydrate: 45-65%

      Source: http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=20921

      This means the overwhelming majority of your daily calories are coming from carbohydrates. With IIFYM, the focus is on protein. How much protein your body needs is calculated, THEN the rest is filled in with healthy amounts of fats and carbohydrates. On IIFYM, you are typically eating between .7 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. That's a LOT of protein! If anything, I see I more of a similarity between IIFYM and a lower carb diet. I'm still trying to find an official publication of percentages to quote you, but I follow the program and my numbers for the past week (according to MFP) are as follows:

      Protein: 39%
      Fat: 34%
      Carbohydrates: 27%

      Those are just my personal weekly percentages though, from tracking my macros according to the IIFYM calculator, using adjustments as recommended by others following the program. From my personal experience, WW was about having a set number of points and ONLY spending (eating) those points. This resulted in a mindset of restriction. With IIFYM, my focus is on eating ENOUGH protein and filling the rest of my macros with healthy fats and carbs. It's a very different mindset.

      If you don't like tracking your food, this is probably NOT the program for you. I totally respect that. I just don't think it's fair to say that IIFYM and WW are "exactly" the same.

    3. You are totally right- the formulas are different. But not for everyone. The proportions of Macros is flexible, and while the focus is on higher protein, its the same 4 components that are in the formula, which was my point. My statement was that they are based on the same things, which is true. I am SO SO SO happy IIFYM is working for you. Seriously. Read my first and last sentences. Super happy. Lets throw a party happy.

      I said (and even in the title of the post) why I don't think it would work for ME. Which was my point :D

  4. Yea, I think you definitely have to find what works for you personally. Not all exercise and not all eating styles work for everyone. I know some people that have been really successful with WW and IIFYM and paleo and etc etc etc. Just gotta find what works. It all takes dedication and attention to detail I think. My main "eating lifestyle" (I hate "diet" lol) is clean eating, but I also keep an eye on my macros and calorie total to keep those in check too. They go hand in hand, but when I focus on the macros first I get stressed about trying to balance the numbers. I need more flexibility in my plan.

  5. I've never heard of IIFYM. I'm all about everything in moderation, crank up the exercise and only sweet treats on the weekends! It's harder since my husband loves sweets and we have them basically everyday. Doing better about that though :) I love the Loseit! app, it helps me track what I'm eating by calorie counting. Again, not so good about doing it every day, life is hard with a 4 month old! Your blog is inspiring!

  6. Hi, I'm new here! I love your post! I hate 'diets' like WW. I haven't read much about IIFYM. I'm not into counting calories and carbs and fats and proteins and whatever else there is. I just eat. But, I did recently jump on the Paleo band wagon. Not because I wanted to lose weight though. I was having terribly tummy issues. It hurt when I ate, I stayed bloated 24/7...someone mentioned Paleo to me and jumped on. You know what? It worked. And I eat protein, fat and veggies and lots of fruit. And dark chocolate is permitted...so I eat that too. Lotsa nuts. I hate the idea of counting calories. My Mom started doing My Fitness Pal. She thought she would be fine staying in her calorie count every day, so she would figure out a way to fit a Snicker Bar in for breakfast. I mean really, she thought this was okay. I think we get to obsessed with counting, when we really should be paying attention to what we're eating. I thought of the Snicker Bar thing when you mentioned Pop Tarts. God I miss those things.

  7. I love this post! For me, weight watchers didn't work... I didn't make it a lifestyle and I would have the same problem as you with filling my macros with crap. Thanks for the perspective!

  8. Former WW drop out here!!! I love this post! I too have a problem with disordered eating--which is why I have to stay away from "cheat meals" bc it sends me over the edge into binging!!

  9. It truly is about what works for you! I'm proud of you for recognizing that WW and IIFYM's isn't the right tool for you.


  10. I have tried lots of different diets too
    I was a WW drop out I would go to a meeting then hit up a Krispy Kreme and eat a doughnut because it fit within my points. When WW didn't work I switched to South Beach, Curves diet, I tracked with MFP . I even did Advocare but it made me really sick. I wasted so much money in products that won't working, but now I jumped back on the WW bandwagon and I am doing good. It's a mental thing . I know I can have it if it fits within my points but it's the knowledge of what I have learned from every diet, I can't expect to my body to loss weight and eat horribly regardless if it fits into my points. This time is different. My mindset is different. Plus seeing a nutritionist helps a lot. I do obsess over my numbers, I do plan my meals and points out. I actually think about what I eat instead of just eating then calculating . You have to so what works for you.


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