Well.. that’s a giant bucket of OMG! How do you count that??? I count it as DGAF.
The question I received today was
“UGH.. do I have to count macros forever?”
The answer is “Yes and sort of yes and no-ish.”
Let me explain:
Your body counts macros whether you count them or not. If you are fluffy, it is because you are eating in a surplus. If you are drinking that giant margarita you know you are going to feel accountable for that in some manner. That is surplus for sure!!
IIFYM/Macro counting is not a diet. It is simply a way to eat well and achieve your physique goals while enjoying the foods YOU like.. So if you want to achieve your physique goals, yes.. for sure you will have to count them. However..
The progression of macro counting is fantastic. The longer you do it, the more comfortable you may feel with “Intuitive dieting”
Intuitive dieting is basically eating your macros and doing math in your head. Simply understanding that you have a certain amount of Protein, Carbs and Fat and fiber to hit and are able to do that fairly easily.
Example: I had a Quest bar.. that was 25g protein, 27C and 8g F. Iced coffee with it that’s an extra 10g protein… etc. I’m doing math in my head. It starts to actually become a natural thing the longer you do it. This works great when you are traveling. I have found it very easy to eat in airports with intuitive dieting.
This is a good day! High carb days is awesome.
When I get a check in from a client that said “I didn’t track yesterday but I aimed for my protein and hit my calorie goals pretty close” this is awesome. This is someone who understands her goals but can be “flexible” in her food!!
BREAKS ARE GOOD.. SOMETIMES.
I had a client check in and tell me. “I didn’t track at all for the holiday. I was on a float and ate some things, but kept my portions small. I enjoyed the day”
This is a time when you don’t need to track. This is a flexible dieting win! My client was aware, she enjoyed her day and she didn’t stay glued to a tracker. She is back on her normal food right away.
I was very excited to hear her experience over the holiday simply because a dieting break is good for the soul. It’s ok. On that break, she didn’t binge, she didn’t freak out or beat herself up. She woke up and went back to her plan. This is amazing.
Ok.. so I’m just not going to track and guess.. This is could be a struggle with clients who are used to starting and stopping diets.
I’m not advocating this at all. Consistency wins over perfection in the IIFYM game. Working intuitively for long periods of time is for the advanced macro counter.
Honestly, I can’t even fathom not counting for a long period of time. If you reach that level greatness.. Cheers!!
If you are not solid on your macros. If you cannot hit them consistently. If you are prone to binges and see not tracking as an opportunity to eat in a surplus.. you are probably not ready for intuitive dieting. That’s ok. Stick to your journey and use the tools you have to be successful. Never give up but know that the longer you do it, the easier it will become!!
Our Team LOVES Taco Tuesday! Who doesn’t!! IIFYM is bomb because you can make them fit your macros!! Here are a few of our creations! The tacos above are grilled chicken !
Alicia scored this find at Trader Joes! 24g Protein! Holla!
Coach Michelle is on vacation and on prep. Her tacos are on point. That avocado!! Avocados and that wrap have fiber. That’s about 20g fiber right there!
Ashley is about 4 weeks out from her show. This is her masterpiece!
Coach Julia is 7 weeks from her show and this is her taco crunch wrap!
Melissa is 7 weeks from her show. These are her shrimp tacos! I love the lime.
These are mine. I am 13 weeks from stage. Each one of those shells is only 4 carbs.
Jen nailed her macros while eating tacos out! um.. yes please!!
Holy Mama, sometimes you need a taco when you are out. The macros on the Taco Bell Chicken Soft Taco are sweet.
Hack: If you are craving Tacos, front load your tracker with your tacos early in the day and eat around them.
Here’s my 4g Carb Taco shells.
These are in the grocery store or order online. We buy 72 shells at a time!
Warning: These are actual pizzas made by our bikini team in PREP!!
One of the thing that has me completely over the moon is our team’s ability to create amazing food from prep ingredients. They do it quickly and with flair.
There is no reason to eat plain when you are in a cut! Creativity goes a long way and creates a sustainable plan!
The above pizza was made by our girl Ashely who is just 4 weeks out from her show.
Here’s another one she did!
Coach Michelle is 7 weeks out from her show and rocked this masterpiece.
Chicken, sundried tomatoes, onions, FF mozzarella, reduced fat feta and basil on a flat out.
This is my SOB on a flat out. I toast my flat out before we bake the pizza.
Jimmy Dean Sausage crumbles, Onions and Louis Rich Turkey Bacon. Sauce Prego light smart red sauce from Walmart.
Our Bikini Team Athlete, Tracy made this gem. Pepperoni Pizza for Dinner! 🍕💪🏻Oh man… Winning! ❤️ 308 Calories / 4.5G Fat / 37 Carbs / 32 G Protein
Tomato Basil flat out Wrap
Fat Free shredded cheese
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes
Melissa did a fun peperoni and sundried tomato version! mmmmmm
Debbie, who is 7 weeks out from her show created this version of the white pizza!
Tips: Pizza is an easy dinner and it has a secret bonus. Flat our or tortilla wraps have fiber.
There are lower carb wraps too. You can create your own toppings from your prep food. You can load veggies if you are into that. You can use full fat or non fat cheese depending on your macros.
You do NOT have to have 12 dry roasted almonds for your fats. You can have other fats!
Cheese has protein. Feta is a great choice too! This is all about you.
Pro-tip: Build your pizza in your tracker in the morning so you can have exactly what you want. Then eat around it for the rest of the day. You can enjoy your evening meal hitting your macros and feeling super smart!
Working with as many clients as I have for the past 35 years, I have noticed certain patterns of sabotage that can destroy physique goals. My goal is to help clients recognize and problem solve.
Problem: All or nothing attitude.
“Well.. I just blew my diet so I may as well eat everything I want then start back tomorrow.”
Does that sound at all like you? So many clients tell me they are either hardcore dieting or propelling into a buffet, face first at warp speed. The “all or nothing attitude” can be created by habitual on again off again diets.
What you should know. Consistency not perfection is how you make progress in your physique goals. No one is perfect and we don’t need to pretend to be.
Solution: What we need is a plan that will allow us to eat things that make us happy so we can follow through on that 7 days a week. Falling off a diet is not a fail. It’s a learning experience. Why did you derail? Was it lack of preparation? Was it a certain food triggered your hunger? Each time you notice a concern, problem solve it. Fix it the same way you would fix a leaky faucet. It’s not personal. If you need to plan ahead more.. do it.
Even when we derail, remember tomorrow’s tracker is empty! We keep trying again and again. Soon you have strung together weeks and months of successes and those blips won’t matter.
Problem: Diet ADHD “I blew my diet so I will just go on the Whole 30, or HGH or Dr. Oz’s new total starvation plan”
You need another style diet like a hole in the head. Switching gears to, yet another diet isn’t the solution when the diet isn’t really the problem at all. Diet fails aren’t really fails. They are learning opportunities. No one is perfect at their diet but we can get better by problem solving.
I call out the Whole 30 because basically you get a whole lot of nothing to eat. Food group elimination seems like the perfect reaction from someone who has just felt that they failed their current plan. It’s super OCD, restrictive and straight up punishment for your screw up!
What you should know: Thinking that one diet works better than another because it is more restrictive is setting you up to fail. Studies show that 80% of restrictive dieters will rebound.
Solution: Consistency wins over perfection. The diet you should do is the one you see yourself doing a year from now. Not half ass doing but for reals. How about, while you are at it, stop punishing yourself with food or lack of!! That would be great.
Problem: Detox Debby “If I do a juice cleanse, detox, detox teas, zero carbs, 24 hour fast, I’ll lose weight so I’ll do that.”
Again, you are switching gears and how has that worked for you in the past. This client is throwing things at the problem to see what sticks.
What you should know: You don’t need a detox diet because you have a liver.
“Your liver detoxifies harmful substances in two steps. The first step uses enzymes and oxygen to burn toxins, especially fatty ones, so they are more water soluble, making them easier for the body to eliminate.”
When you do a juice cleanse, you are still ingesting calories and carbs and well.. macros. These are things should be eating anyway! Juicing removes much of the fiber!
If you take out all the fiber.. why is that a good thing? You could add juicing to your IIFYM plan if you like it but restricting food other than veggies still leaves you with a restricted diet. And where will your protein come from? You still need protein. Remember?
Now.. if you are juicing for weight loss.. remember science. To lose body fat you must be in a caloric deficit. Basically starving on really healthy food is still starving.
If you are doing the low carb/no carb plan, you are going to see the scale move because you are losing water. Carbs draw water into the muscle so once you get off your plan and eat again.. scale will go back up. Did you lose fat.. .. though? It was water. WATER.
If your detox tea makes you pee or poop, you could really start with some dandelion root tea and eat fiber each day! Dandelion tea is at the grocery store and is a natural diuretic. It is in a lot of products with the word “shred” on it. Good info, Yes?
Solution: Stop wasting your hard earned money on magic potions and solutions. You are smart enough to know that these protocols are very temporary. Being honest with yourself , can you see yourself living on this plan for the next full year? What is going to happen when you stop this restriction? Will you find yourself in a binge?
Sustainability wins over perfection.
Problem: I eat great during the week then blow it out of the water on the weekends.
Well.. this is really just about everyone I know and this is a big one! Being “good” during the week is somewhat easy because it’s more routine. The weekends are social or off routine.
Let’s talk about Mary: She’s on a fat loss plan and she’s doing great Monday-Friday because she has a routine. Weekends she finds herself at the ball game, bbq, having a few drinks .. well you get the picture she’s in a surplus of calories from her plan. (Binge)
Monday rolls around and she’s upset because she didn’t lose any weight. She might be heavier on Monday and begins a plan to “really get it together”. This week she tells herself she will not have any sugar, dairy, or carbs. (Restrict) That lasts for a bit until she derails again. (Binge)
Several months pass for her and she’s steadily gaining weight and highly frustrated!
What you need to know:Consistency wins over perfection.
Mary needs to be in a deficit for the the entire 7 days for fat loss. The 5 day a week deficit was great but the weekend put her calories into a surplus for the whole week! Those numbers would be super bulking numbers!! Her body is now set to store not lose fat.
Solutions: Mary is great at her work week and a simple weekend plan would be one thing she could do. Mary could go to her tracker and put the macros in for the food she is going to eat on her date this weekend. She could plan the amounts of food she can eat that will fit her plan and stick to that.
She could also save some carbs from her week and use them for her event on Saturday. She would still need to eat her nutrition/macro goals but she will eat what she likes and be accountable . Since she is consistent with her total calories for the week, she will be remain in a deficit and continue her fat loss.
Problem: End around the plan so you can continue to “do what you want”. Examples:
“I saved all my carbs and fats for the whole week so I could go to Craft Beer Fest 2016.”
“I ate no carbs and fat all week and had 300 g fat so I could eat at the buffet and drink all weekend.”
“I save all my carbs all day long so I can eat what I want on the couch and watch movies.”
What you need to know: These things just chap my hide.So let me start this one by saying, this attitude/behavior is never going to help you ever get the physique you want.
We all need to eat for our health, and we have macro nutrient needs that we must meet daily. Our bodies need macro nutrients, protein, fats and carbs especially if we are training or body building! We must not eliminate them in attempt to save calories for binges!!
Our brains require certain nutrients and we certainly don’t want to mess up our hormones!
Eating on our macros daily is good for our physique but also good for our health. We all need a balanced diet.
Solutions: One thing a person could do is carb cycling. Carb Cycliing is basically taking your carbs for the whole week and eating more on some days and less on others. If you like that idea, that’s fine as long as you are fueling your workouts. Fat cycling is not a thing. We all need our Essential Fatty Acids and fats daily for proper nutrition.
Carb hording is becoming a problem because clients are seeing an opportunity to binge.
This is not an example of problem solving an issue with your physique.
It is way to “cheat” your plan and do what you want.
Saving carbs for your evening movie night, isn’t wrong as long as you are accountable and have met your nutrtional goals for the day. Carb hoarding is a slippery slope.Clients not reaching their protein goals but overeating carbs can also find themselves in a surplus of calories or eating too much discretionary food.
Solution: Make a plan. If you are looking forward to movie night, pick something that fits your macros and put it in your tracker ahead of time. Be consistent throughout the day with your nutritional requirements of fruits, veggies, fiber.
If you are solidly committed to drinking a lot on a fat loss plan, you will be disappointed in your results. Unless your macros are high and you have room for discretionary calories, finding room to fit booze is tough. Frankly, I have yet to find a weight loss plan that allows you lots of booze.Personally I don’t think you should drink while you are cutting . You can read more about alcohol and macro tracking here. if you want to know why I’m such a hard ass on that subject.
These issues are not essentially diet related issues but non commitment.
1. Stop trying to be perfect.
2. Consistency wins in this game
3. Consider your health as well as your physique
4. Notice concerns and don’t personalize them.
5. Work on solutions one day at a time.
6. Stop doing things that don’t work.
7. Don’t try to end around your plan.
8. Problem solve for success
I know you are working hard. I hope this helps you in your journey.
Oh man.. who doesn’t love TACO’S!
I am 12 weeks out from my show and I am nailing my IIFYM prep. This one has been the most fun yet. Taco prep is going to be my new thing!
Look what I found! LaTiara Low Carb Taco Shells. I got these at my local Schnucks store in the Taco section.They are also available on Amazon and other Low carb sites. Check Google!
Each taco shell has just 4g carbs where as other shells or tortillas are around 18g carbs each.
La Tiara registers a B on MyNetDiary’s food score so that works for me.
It’s a small taco shell but it’s so good.
The macros for two tacos are
2. oz grilled tilapia
25 g light sour cream
20g fat free cheese
2 table spoon of salsa
Total for two tacos
That’s just 118 calories per taco!
Bro prep swaps: If by chance your coach has you on the “no fat ever” bro plan, you could drop down to fat free greek yogurt and only take 4g fat for the whole recipe.
I bought 72 taco shells on my last trip to the store!
Everything in my recipe has an A or B rating and would be considered “healthy”!!
What about doing Shrimp tacos? Yesss! I mixed shrimp with light sour cream, avocado and
filled the shell! mmmmm..
Try grilling Corn on the Cob if you have the carbs!
You could also use those taco shells for some nachos if you do it right!
Pro-tip: create your recipe and load it into your tracker early in the day. Just eat around the recipe so you hit all your macros/fiber/veggies/fruit requirements.
Ok.. let’s talk for a minute about choices. First of all, you are IIFYM, you have them.
Your world does not have to be protein cookies and no fun.I have compared two items.
Lenny and Larry’s Complete Protein Cookie. Serving size is HALF the cookie.
One Taco Bell Soft Chicken Taco
The macros in each are almost the same. The rating is higher on the cookie because of the fiber. Although, in the large scheme of things a B- isn’t horrible.I eat mostly A /B rated food because I’m probably psycho but more because I like to. It’s a slippery slope when I’m all crazy with my food. It’s just my way. I’m in no way advocating getting an eating disorder of only eating A rated food. That’s no good.There are people who eat IIFYM who don’t monitor their food rating because they just hit their macros and fiber numbers. The food rating is my thing!
I also have issue with eating a A rated protein cookie because sometimes I think it’s important to eat some food that looks like food. If I can’t make a chicken taco fit in my day, and choose a half of protein cookie.. what? That seems to defeat the purpose of being flexible. My gut instinct is to choose cookies because I eat like a 4 year old. Sprinkles, and icing is my game!!
The taco would be nice and satisfy my brain and my macros. It has less carbs than the cookie. I really can make it fit. If you don’t want fast food in your life.. I get that too but we have options.
Now. I’m not going to get crazy because the taco is lower rated due to the fiber. It has more protein than the cookie.
You all know in my Bro Preps, I wasn’t allowed any fruit. The common belief is that fruit is full of sugar and “you won’t look right”. I practice IIFYM and I do eat fruit. I measure every bit of it and make it fit.
In the past, I got very sick in my bro preps. My nutrition was off because I had very little variety in my food. In fact, only eating spinach created a lot of health problems for me.
In the last 2 years, I have focused on my health in both prep and off season.
I also follow solid sports nutrition and get at least 35 different foods per week. My food tracker, MyNetDiary keeps a running total of this for you.
This year, I am very much fine tuning my food to not just hit my macros but my micro nutrients as well.
Micronutrients,as opposed to macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat), are comprised of vitamins and minerals which are required in small quantities to ensure normal metabolism, growth and physical well-being.
Simply put from Bodybuilding.com
Athletes should eat between 3-5 servings of fruit and 5-10 servings over veggies! I’ve seen very few clients eating that much! I work toward 300-500g of veggies each day. I can’t imagine how a bro prep would accommodate those numbers, especially for bikini girls starting off at next to no carbs to begin with.
This is something I feel really passionate about. Fine tuning my plan to include the fruits, veggies I need!!
I have incorporated in the Juice Plus Trio.
One of the things I love about my trio is I can get micros from fruits and veggies I would normally not enjoy eating. I don’t like beets at all! But beets have benefits! Many times in prep I don’t have extra carbs so I may not get my full servings of fruit. The trio will give me the nutrients without the carbs. I have always used a green powder but I actually like this better.
I ordered my trio and this is how it came.
My trio. These are capsules.
I have always taken great supplements so I’m super excited to incorporate these.
Several of my clients have done their prep with the trio and done beautifully. I believe nutrition counts!!
On a side note: Because I purchased the trio, my kid was able to be enrolled in the Children’s Health Study. He gets the gummy versions free. We will fill out a form quarterly with info about his school attendance and how often he has been sick. He loves them.
I drink Starbucks every day. Close to my show, I’ll do 2x a day. That’s my thing. These are the things I love to order when I’m cutting. You can make your own at home too. I have an espresso machine so often I will do my own.
Iced coffee plus 1 scoop vanilla whey in the blender!
I love this. It’s fantastic!
Or Icy Donut (my hubs created this one for me)
Add your own protein powder to this. I use Quest Salted Caramel! It’s amazing.
I don’t know what the macros are for Starbucks protein but I know my own!!
So this week a competitor was on a board talking about how she was going back to her Bro plan because she tried that “iifym thing” and it didn’t work. I asked her what was it that didn’t work and really had no answer. She said she ” just needed to eat clean.”
Some people get overwhelmed by too many choices. I can understand that, especially when you are used to being a strict meal plan kind of girl. It’s all you know, right?
IIFYM is not a diet. You count macro nutrients :Protein, Carbs and Fats.
You must eat at least 20 g of fiber each day.
You must hit your numbers +5/-5 grams daily.
You can eat any way you want but in a fat loss plan, your ratios are 95 percent nutrient dense foods and 5 percent discretionary.
You could eat paleo, diabetic, vegan, bro, whatever you like. You just have to hit those numbers!
This girl was confused. She missed an opportunity to eat well and have choices which is exactly what IIFYM is about. Choices!!
My prep is starting up and we decided that this summer is going to be about the grill.
I want to show you some things we did for my prep.
Protein: I get about 190 g protein per day. Rob grilled bison burgers, Shark Steaks, Cajun shrimp and turkey. So the turkey.. he took a Butterball breast and thawed it. He cut it into steaks and grilled it, 20 min per side. It was insane. There is no added fat in anything here.
I added avocado to my turkey for my fats and fiber and it was amazing.
All our food came from the farmer’s market next door to my studio.
There is no additional fats on these at all. The squash is my favorite. The flavors burst. We used poblanos and yellow peppers. I hate regular green peppers but you could try. The yellow ones are so sweet when you grill them.
Roasted cabbage is very good. We have made that into a salad for lunch tomorrow. With this grilling, Rob really just chopped and grilled. He likes to use seasonings so you can too.
I’m sure you have your own flavors you dig.
You can do it
If you are a person who thinks you have to choose the restricted non scientific BRO plan because IIFYM means all you eat is crap.. I am so sorry that you have misunderstood.
I want you to learn so you can have peace in your plan. If you are happy with ‘clean’ food then by all means, enjoy the food you eat. Dousing things with mustard because you don’t believe you can sub out anything for egg whites is just foolish. It doesn’t make you a better athlete. It doesn’t make you more HAM or beast mode. Here’s what makes you a better athlete. Listening to your body. Eating well for your gains. Choosing things that YOU like for consistency and to not feel restricted.
Remember as athletes we need 300-500g of fruits and veggies per day. All my clients, in fact eat this. That’s about 300 calories and 40g carbs or so. We need 35 different foods per week and we need to focus on our micro nutrients too. Different foods provide micros! Don’t be stuck with the same 6 food items! Investigate!! Let me know if you have questions!!
Prepping not starving is our series of recipes to show competitors, you don’t have to live in a restricted meal plan.
Sleek Bikini Team Coach Michelle created this recipe! “One of my fave dishes I ate during bikini prep inspired by a dish I had @giadadelaurentiis restaurant in Vegas. Good with chicken, shrimp or my fave, scallops!”
187g raw wild caught scallops
7g olive oil
7g Trader Joes parm/Romano blend
26g fresh squeezed lemon juice
12g sun dried tomatoes