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    Discretionary Calorie Allowance - What does it mean?

    The purpose of this thread is to explain the dietary approach of Discretionary Calorie Allowance (which will now be referred to as DCA). This thread was formally the IIFYM – What does it mean? sticky and has since been edited by the OP with the help of some kind moderators to something more appropriate as to stop any further confusion.

    IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is simply an acronym commonly referring to the notion that no significant impacts on body composition will result if macronutrients are consistent, regardless of food choices. Now, of course diet quality (consuming a predominance of whole and minimally refined foods) is important for long-term health, so don't misconstrue this as a green light to eat whatever junk you want to fulfill your macro targets.

    e.g. 200g protein, 300g carbs and 80g fats will produce the same physique no matter what foods are eaten to achieve those numbers.

    There’s no diet, no beliefs, no fads. If you really need more of an explanation or information, check out the myriad of videos on YouTube or posts on the forums.


    DCA Discretionary Calorie Allowance


    Quick explanation:

    The phrase DCA refers to meeting the individual macronutrient needs relevant to one's goals and then filling the remaining calories with foods of personal preference. Keep in mind that this should not be misconstrued as a dismissal of the importance of meeting micronutrient requirements (this should be a given, but I'll state it here explicitly to prevent any false assumptions).

    Quick example:

    -200lb man at 20% body fat wants to lose weight

    -Maintenance calories: 3000

    -Calories to cut: 2400

    -1.5g protein per lb/LBM: (1.5 * 160) 240g

    -0.45g fat per lb/BW: (200 * 0.45) 90g

    -Calories from fats + protein minimums: (240 * 4) + (90 * 9) = 1770

    -Calories from reaching minimums taken from calories to cut: (2400 - 1770) 630

    -He has 630 kcal left to fill with whatever foods he chooses and still lose weight as a result of remaining in a calorie deficit.

    Why DCA?

    There are many different approaches to getting your macronutrients in. DCA is a preference I personally believe suits people who have a more unpredictable lifestyle and do not always know what they’re going to be eating.

    If you’re the type of person who is invited out to restaurants a lot, or big family dinners, and need to eyeball portion sizes/food choices but still want to achieve in the gym, DCA is a great choice.

    Life is full of little surprises and on those nights where your friend is back in town to visit and wants some drinks, or your wife/parents/grandparents/whatever have just surprised you with your favourite home-cooked meal, DCA means you’ll be on par with your fat/protein minimum intake required for optimal performance in the gym, with the added benefit of a couple hundred spare calories in the tank to sit back and have a good time without freaking out about messing up your progress.

    This is great because you’re less likely to adopt the attitude “Oh well my diet is messed up anyway, might as well go crazy” because you’ve actually caused minimal (if at all) impact on your diet.

    DCA works on the basis that because you’re reaching the fundamental requirement/factor of gaining/losing weight – that being a calorie surplus or deficit depending on your goals – what you do, whatever macros you distribute with those discretionary calories, will have a minimal impact on your overall progress and physique.

    Tips (some are general and do not specifically pertain to DCA):

    -Try to get most of your macros from whole foods. They are high in micronutrients needed to maintain overall health.

    -Tailor your meals to suit your individual preference, tolerance, and goals. For example, some might prefer 6 meals a day while others prefer 3 - both are valid, as long as individual needs are met.

    -Contrary to traditional belief, eating smaller, more frequent meals does not have an inherent metabolic advantage over the same diet consumed via larger, less frequent meals.

    -There is no universal macro or calorie breakdown you should be eating pre and/or post-workout. Total daily micronutrient, macronutrient, and calorie intake relevant to your goal(s) is far more important than specific timing or distribution through the day.

    Useful links:

    http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/arc...y_calories.asp
    http://www.wannabebig.com/diet-and-n...-clean-eating/

    - - - - - - - - - -

    UPDATE

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    Check out this video tutorial:


    The video appears to finish abruptly, that's because it cuts off about 30 seconds for some reason - mainly me wrapping things up - but all the important info is there.

    In this video I do refer to it as IIFYM, because it is outdated, but what I am demonstrating is DCA.

    Best viewing is 480p full screen.

    Last edited by alan aragon; 03-26-2013 at 10:41 PM.
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    Stuck-o-rama... Good job, OP!

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