Nutrition For Your Goals – Clean Eating or IIFYM or Both?

If you have a consultation with me you will get a nutrition plan to suit your goals at the time of our consultation. It may be

If you have a consultation with me you will get a nutrition plan to suit your goals at the time of our consultation. It may be a detailed nutrition plan or a matter of getting your macronutrient requirements to accommodate your goal. This doesn’t mean the same plan or macronutrient requirement is what is required months or even years from now. There’s no hard and fast rule for all my clients. It depends on your lifestyle, your goals, your current state of health and your relationship with food.

So, for example, if I suggested you don’t include bread in your nutrition plan does this mean you tell all your friends not to eat bread? Absolutely not. If I suggested, given your current goals, that you do not eat fruit does this mean you tell all your friends not to eat fruit. No, you don’t because this may not be suitable for your friends or conducive to their goals. If I suggest you do not eat gluten does this mean gluten is bad for everyone? No, gluten is not bad for everyone.

Now there are many different reasons it may or may not be beneficial to include certain foods in your diet. Depending on your health and your goals it may be advisable to include or abolish certain foods from your diet.

Yes, I have a Diploma in Nutrition. Do I agree with all I had to study to obtain that certification? No, I do not agree with it all, hell, I don’t even agree with the current food pyramid. That’s my personal opinion based on my own experiences with my nutrition and body composition, with my client’s results, together with all I have studied and all I have learnt. Believe me when I say I have paid top dollar to learn from the best in the world. That’s many seminars, years of guidance from highly respected mentors in this industry and countless courses and I continue to learn. I don’t always agree with everything, however, I take what I have learnt from different sources and I live it, experiment with it and walk the talk so I know what works and what doesn’t.

I meet many different people each week, all with different goals and health issues.

Some would like to gain weight, some would like to gain lean muscle mass, some would like to be more energised, some would like to conceive, some have gluten intolerances of varying degrees, some have illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and thryroid issues. There is no set nutrition plan to serve all these people.

Some people prefer ‘clean eating’, some prefer ‘IIFYM’ (If It Fits Your Macros). There is no right or wrong and it totally depends on what works best for you, your lifestyle and your goals.

The intention of “clean eating” is good getting people to focus on more whole, filling, nutrient-dense foods. The problem is that people take this to wild extremes and can then end up failing. I do believe, however, as some of my clients know, that if you’re knocking on heaven’s door then maybe you do need to be extreme until you are out of the woods.

Another approach you may have heard of is called “If It Fits Your Macros.” This method has some major advantages over “clean eating,” but it also has some drawbacks.

IIFYM is a dietary strategy based on the idea that as long as what you eat fits your macronutrient targets of protein, fat, carbohydrate and fibre then it’s okay to eat it.

Scientifically this method is well supported. Research has consistently shown that altering and optimising macronutrient intake can have a huge effect on your health and body composition regardless of where those calories and macronutrients come from. IIFYM is also simple, flexible, relatively easy to maintain, and objective.

It’s not ideal, however, if you don’t have knowledge of the effects of foods on your health.

The problem is not necessarily with IIFYM, but with the way this concept is often interpreted. When many people hear the term “if-it-fits-your-macros,” they take this literally and lose all common sense. I have seen this happen and I have seen fantastic results undone. I have seen people go from feeling energised and confident whilst clean eating to depressed and lethargic hitting their macronutrient targets with junk food.

Technically, with IIFYM you could live off pizza, protein shakes and fibre supplements and still hit your macros. This is not a great long term strategy for your body composition and especially your health.

There is a problem when someone with no regard to food quality or health, little common sense or nutritional knowledge starts IIFYM and takes it literally.

IIFYM is based on the idea that you maintain an overall nutritious diet with the freedom to experience different flavours, social outings and the occasional treat. Unfortunately, this part is sometimes lost in translation.

I personally like to take a little from Column A and a little from Column B. I follow IIFYM and I eat 90% clean leaving myself a little room for an occasional treat or the freedom to enjoy a meal out with the family all the while making sure I am meeting my macronutrient requirements.

An advantage of IIFYM is when people start tracking their macronutrient intake, they often realise they aren’t eating enough protein and/or fibre — which are far more filling than other foods. The result is they start eating more lean meat, seafood and vegetables.

Tracking your macronutrient intake, even for a little while, is an empowering and educational experience as a lot of my clients are finding out. You learn a lot about food. You learn that 5 Walnuts contains the same amount of fat as a grass fed steak! I’m not even kidding! Of course 5 Walnuts goes nowhere and a grass fed steak is a beautiful meal (unless you’re a vegetarian, then it’s equivalent to 5 scrambled eggs). You finally learn where most of your calories are coming from, where you may need to cut back, or where you might need to eat more. You might learn that you’re eating too much sugar, fats and junk food.

Just remember whatever path you choose there is no quick fix. Forget the expensive cleansing detox diets, packaged, processed delivered foods, shake diets, magic powders, pills and starving yourself. None of these will get you sustainable results and you will pay ridiculous money for something that simply does not work or educate you about nutrition.

You need to choose something you can do for life. You need to be able to go to your local supermarket and shop competitively for your ingredients and produce and you need to have balance whilst achieving your goals and improving your health.

If you need assistance with nutrition you can always contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shereen x

I am not a dietician. My recommendations are made for people who are looking to improve their physiques, live a healthy lifestyle and increase performance. This information does not intend to or attempt to cure, prevent or treat any disease or illness.