IIFYM vs. Meal Plans

When looking at starting a new nutrition plan, there are a ton of different options which can be overwhelming. 

 

Do you eat more protein, stick to low-carb, or try keto for you goals? Or do you choose a plan that fits more of a less restrictive eating? 

 

Over the years I have tried different ways of eating. Some that were enjoyable, some not so enjoyable. When it came down to it, I had to learn to eat in a way that I could not only reach my goals - but in a way that I could see myself sticking to more long-term. 
iifym vs meal plans

 

IIFYM VS. MEAL PLANS

What is IIFYM?

IIFYM stands for If It Fits My Macros. Where you track your 3 macronutrients - protein, carbs, and fats without restricting your food choices. 

This is usually less restrictive and the most maintainable for everyone because if it fits your macros for the day, you can eat it. 

However, there is a different side to this. 

Some foods are not going to be as filling or nutrient dense as others so you may still be finding yourself hungry at the end of the day even when eating in a more flexible way if you are also not eating healthy clean foods. 

Some people take this to the extreme and either eat all junk food while following macros or they will have only protein shakes to lose weight...

Your body is like a machine. When you fuel it with healthy food, your body will perform better with more energy, better sleep, and recover faster. 

We are human though and really can't eat 100% healthy ALL of the time. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself every once and awhile. 

 

What are Meal Plans?

A Meal Plan is a type of plan that consists of what type of diet and food you will have and need at meal times so you can buy and plan effectively. Typically, your meal plan will need to be followed without being able to deviate from what your plan consists of. 

This is usually more restrictive as you will have to follow what is on the plan and not make any changes. As all of your meals are accounted for to reach your goals. 

This is great for people who want to be told essentially what to eat every single day to reach their goals. They know as long as they follow it, they will have no issues in making their goals happen.

There are meal plans that can be made where it gives you different options and more flexibility with either different meal options, a food list to swap out foods, or even macros so that if you want something different you still can on your plan. 

 iifym vs meal plans comparison

So how do you choose?

Sometimes it can be hard to choose what the best option is for you when just starting out. You have to consider your own lifestyle, needs, and goals when making this decision. 

I tend to do a combination of both. I follow IIFYM when I am in my off season as a bikini competitor, but follow a meal plan that is more restrictive when I am prepping for a show. 

This is not to say that I don't still meal plan even when following IIFYM though. For my lifestyle, I find it is easier to prep a couple meals for each day that I can have and keeps me more on track, but if I have an event or am hanging out with friends I can swap out meals and pick something that fits my macros for the day - no problem. 

Flexible Dieting Pros:

  • Allows you to eat out socially and has more flexibility in your day-to-day eating
  • Allows you to include a variety of foods and source nutrients from an array of produce
  • Convenient, and able to be followed when travelling, socializing or at work functions

Flexible Dieting Cons:

  • Food preparation is harder if you are planning to eat different things day-to-day
  • You need to commit to measuring and weighing your food
  • It can lead to unhealthy behavior if you aren’t opting for mainly wholefoods in your diet

 

Set Meal Plan Pros:

  • Peace of mind and trust in the program – you simply eat what’s set out for you
  • Helps you understand how a certain meal plan can help you achieve a certain goal
  • Convenient and suits busier lifestyles
  • Food preparation is easier as you are preparing the same meals

Set Meal Plan Cons:

  • Loss of certain micronutrients/nutrients if you eat the same foods consistently
  • Hard to stick to for those who prefer variety in their meals
  • Makes eating out ‘harder’ – unlike flexible dieting, the idea of a set meal plan doesn’t take eating out into consideration

 iifym vs meal plans pros and cons

What's your verdict?

There are great pros and cons to both ways of eating, at the end of the day it comes down to what works best for you.

With Top Knot Strong we offer both ways of eating with our fully customized nutrition plans. Set up a free phone call today to have your coach create a plan just for you! 

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