Diet – A personal experience and IIFYM

Matt Richardson Personal Training > blog > Uncategorised > Diet – A personal experience and IIFYM

When eating 6 meals a day, one meal can be replaced with a protein shake

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good diet. I trained for 5 years (on and off) without seeing much in the way of results. Within 3 months of diet and training I had dropped over 20% body fat. People always give different ratios, like ‘progress is 60% diet and 40% training’. I’m not going to pretend I know the science behind it, I’d also imagine it differs from person to person. All I know is that diet IS important. If you want results then it is key.

I’m quite unconventional when it comes to healthy eating. For a start, I don’t like water. This was potentially my biggest problem. I also don’t like salad, because I’m not a rabbit. I, therefore, thought that I couldn’t have a healthy diet. It was only when I began researching various dieting techniques and reading up on nutrition that I realised that dieting and healthy eating is down to the individual. There’s no point in using someone else’s diet plan (at least not right away).

Your diet has to be individual to you. If your plan is just a list of foods you don’t like then you’re more likely to deviate from it. Also, if there isn’t enough food included in your plan and you’re starving yourself then you’re more likely to deviate from it. You know what foods you like. You know the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. In the end it’s down to you, there are ways to trick your body but there’s no way to trick your mind. Eat healthy foods that you like. Don’t make ‘diet’ a dirty word.

Keep it simple. The main part of my diet is fish. White fish is fantastic for weight loss because it’s pure protein and has almost 0 fat and carbs (I’ll go into a little more detail later on). Yeah, it’s a little bland, and yeah I’ll usually cook it in something. But the simpler the better. Especially for fast weight loss. Heavily processed foods and pre-made sauces can be real unhealthy. For rapid fat loss, keeping simple meals is much easier, because it’s easier to keep track of exactly what you’re eating. It makes it easier to avoid processed sugars, excess salt and saturated fat. It helps to clean your body out. Drinking water and eating fish, fruit, veg and white meat will make you feel like a different person when you come off processed foods and fizzy drinks.

Eat often. This is a tip I got off an old gym buddy years ago. The concept made sense but I really didn’t believe it at the time. Basically, eat 6 times a day. Every 2 or 3 hours. Just small portions, even if for some of them it’s just a piece of fruit or a protein bar. Keep your body fueled, don’t let yourself get hungry. Keep it healthy, remember that fat loss doesn’t come from starving yourself (or there are better ways to achieve it). On my diet, I was so full all the time, I forced myself to eat to make sure I was giving my body the fuel it needed to repair. I just made it food that wouldn’t store as fat. Eating small portions often fulfills two purposes; firstly, it speeds up your metabolism helping your body to process food quicker, secondly the reduced portion size makes your stomach shrink, making it much more difficult to have a relapse and stuff your face, you’ll feel fuller a lot quicker.

IIFYM. If It Fits Your Macros. This is the concept I used to work out my own diet. I follow a lot of gym pages on social media and IIFYM is a bit of an ongoing joke. It is essentially the same as calorie counting, except you count the macro nutrients in your food. The macro nutrients are Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein. The key for fat loss is to be aware that if you give your body too much fat, it will store extra fat. If you give your body too many carbs, it will store the extra carbs as fat. I’m not saying don’t have any fat or carbs, your body needs them. But if you watch how much fat and carbs you’re putting into yourself, limiting them, then you will lose weight. It’s simple mathematics. The basic concept is: You give yourself a calorific deficit, you will lose weight. It is also the basis of all diets.

Pork Scratchings are great for IIFYM but have unhealthily high salt

You give your body slightly less carbs and fat than it needs and it will burn your stored fat. Again, the values are different for everyone. For me, at 5″11, 87kgs and 28% body fat I lost about 6lbs a week (or more) until I reached under 70kgs. I did this with these ratios: Fat 20-40g, Carbs 120-140g and protein 180-200g. Now, I’m not going to lie, the carbs ratio I used was low but I was after quick results. These ratios use for rapid fat and weight loss but I burnt through some muscle too. Low carbs will make you tired and cranky a lot too. I feel I should add that by cutting carbs really low, I’m talking under 100g a day, you can trick your body into burning all your stored fat quickly. It’s the basis of the Atkins diet, but it’s not a healthy option. I don’t recommend this, but it’s what I did. I did it while training 5 times a week, your body will burn through fat really quickly but it will adjust. You’ll burn off muscle and your body will try to store as much fat as possible, if you deviate from your diet you will lose any progress. I’m not saying it won’t work, you just have to ease your way back into a healthy diet. Cutting carbs is not good for you, it’s not a healthy choice, it’s a short term solution. Carbs are the fuel for your body, it’s important to neither over fuel (because you’ll store it as fat) or under fuel (because you’ll feel terrible).

The beauty of macro counting is that it is completely customisable. You have the values and you just add up the foods that you like to fit your macros. It feels like a bit of a task adding everything up, but it gets real easy after a while. Another reason I said earlier to ‘keep it simple’ is so it’s easier to add up. It’s possible to keep withing your macros without eating particularly healthy, so try to use your head. You will lose weight regardless but do your body a favour and keep the food clean. Fuel your body in the right way, high carb foods before training, protein after. Get your body used to using the food properly, this will help to speed up your metabolism.

Wrap: p 10, c 30, f 8
Low Fat Cheese: p 15, c 0, f 15
Tuna: p 30, c 0, f 0
Total: p 55, c 30, f 23

The last piece of advice I’ll give is to keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water but cut out any sugary drinks, including fruit juice. I often carry a bottle around with me, being able to take a drink all the time is really good for suppressing hunger, it also makes you feel pretty good.

I don’t claim to be an expert, but it worked for me. I’d always recommend you to research the topics discussed further. I believe that everyone’s fitness goals are a personal journey. The diet is a key part and it should be made to fit you. Your lifestyle, your likes and dislikes and your size shape etc.

I hope this helps and feel free to contact me if you require any further information.

(This is a major fitness topic and there will be more to come in the future)

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