When I started hitting the gym again, 2 years ago, I also started eating healthier and cleaner. And after two months, I came across the words 'clean eating' and 'IIFYM' ( meaning: If it fits your macros). And as you may guess, discussions started again. Some people say that clean eating was healthier, while others say that IIFYM was easier and better for the body.
But what exactly is the definition of clean eating?
I am trying now to keep things as simple and basic as possible. People define 'clean eating' as consuming high nutrient dense food sources that are best used by the body for optimized training, better conditioning and to a toned body in an easy way.
Some of the main foods while eating clean are:
- sweet potatoes
- brown rice
- chicken breast
- turkey breast
- egg whites
- lean ground beef
- healthy oils(olive, canola, flaxseed)
Processed foods, sugar and fat laden are kind of prohibited, because they don't have any high nutrient value and are quite bad for your body. You can compare this with a car, you wouldn't put low octane gas in a sports car because it wouldn't run efficiently, well the same goes with your body.
And What exactly is IIFYM?
IIFYM means ' If it fits your macros' which can be defined as consuming almost any food , high or low nutrients, as long as they fit into your macronutrient or caloric total.
These are some foods that you are ''allowed'' eating :
- low fat yogurt or ice cream
- baked lays
- candy bars
- protein bars
- white breads
- processed foods
These foods would be considered as taboo for the clean eating approach. The main argument proposed by the IIFYM is that you can still meet your macro goals and achieve lower levels of bodyfat even though you include some 'bad foods' in your diet. Another argument is that if you include these kind of foods, your are more likely to resist to cravings than with clean eating.
Clean eating vs IIFYM, which one is best for you?
The problem is that if you are 'clean eating' you may risk to over eat and don't lose the weight or body fat you actually want to, while the IIFYM approach fixes your macro and caloric total-intake which you are not allowed to pass. But the disadvantage of IIFYM is that you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits your macros, meaning that you may lose weight or bodyfat, but then again there's the same problem with the car and the fuel.
That's why I personally think that a good combination of both of them would be best for everyone. You can take the good foods from clean eating and combine them with IIFYM approach. Meaning that you are giving your body the best fuel but still have an eye on your caloric total intake.
I know that the beginning is always hard if you have to calculate your macros and weigh your foods everyday, but time after time this will become a routine and you will get used to it.
But the most important thing is, you are losing the weight and body fat you want and you will definitely feel better again!