Summer’s just around the corner and everyone is harbouring dreams of becoming beach-ready! And they just know they’ll be getting that six-pack because they’ve got it all figured out:
Gym Membership – Check!
Whey Protein – Check!
Pre-, Post- and Intra-workouts – Check!
Now all they have to do is religiously follow a diet and in no time, they’ll look as if they ought to be on the cover of Fitmag!
Hmm, about that diet thingy…
That’s easier said than done! For most people, making a diet chart isn’t too difficult. The really tough part is sticking to that diet.
Sure, you can start eating right. But the challenge is to continue eating right till you’ve achieved your goal (and beyond, if you want to stay in shape). And this is where most people falter.
Diet Adherence: Strategies & Tips
Here are a few things you can do to improve your adherence to the diet:
Define Your Goal
Or, as Steven Covey put it “Begin with the end in mind”.
What do you wish to accomplish by going on a diet? Look at your body now and visualize what kind of body you wish to have.
The clearer your vision, the more likely you are to make efforts to achieve it. That includes sticking to a diet.
Pro Tip: Set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound
People tend to get hung up on certain diets. They hear that Keto gives good results and they make up their mind that Keto is the ONLY diet that’ll work for them.
The problem is: their lifestyle doesn’t permit them to restrict carbs and go high fat.
A diet has a much better chance of working if it fits into your lifestyle.
Pro Tip: Choose a diet that you can follow without losing out on a life. The more drastic the changes you need to make in your life to accommodate a diet, the less likely you are to follow it.
Here’s a Fitmag article that talks about the latest lifestyle diets that are being talked about – Which Diet Should I Follow?
Restrictive Diets Don’t Last
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Fat-free, Meat-free, Soy-free: The list of food items that a lot of diets advocate removing from your plate is long and ever increasing. Unless you have a health condition or religious beliefs that require you to abstain from certain types of food, don’t indiscriminately exclude them from your diet.
Restrictive diets carry the risk of under-nutrition. They also tend to be monotonous and could exacerbate your cravings, making it difficult to adhere to the diet for a sustained period of time.
Pro Tip: This does NOT mean eat everything in moderation! Read up on macros here.
Don’t Overdo The Deficit
In a nutshell, when you reduce your caloric intake and maintain a deficit for a certain period of time, you’re dieting. Some people tend to go overboard with the first part by drastically reducing the amount of food they eat.
Never ever reduce your caloric intake below your BMR. If you do, you run the risk of causing metabolic slowdown or even metabolic impairment.
Pro Tip: Read more about metabolism here.
This is slightly counter-intuitive. Sometimes, you need to go off your diet so that your diet continues to work!
So you’ve been on a diet for weeks and you thought you’d keep on losing fat. But you reach a point when your fat-loss stalls. You’ve hit a Plateau. This is an indication that in the current phase of your diet, you’ve achieved all that you could and it’s time to take a Diet Break aka a planned and short-term break from the diet that you’ve been following.
Not taking a diet break could simply lead to frustration and disappointment as your body has stopped responding to the diet. Diet Breaks help both the mind and the body recalibrate for the next phase of dieting.
Pro Tip: Here’s some more information on Diet Breaks and how to properly use them.
- Food Lists: Make a list of all the food items (names and quantities) that you’re allowed to eat and cook only what’s on your list. Strike off food items as you consume them so that you don’t overeat or eat something that’s not on the list.
- Cook For The Week: Prepare all your meals for the week in advance, put them into separate containers and pop them in the fridge. (No need to freeze them, not even meat). Food lasts for about a week in the fridge. All you have to do is heat the food in the microwave oven when it’s time for your meals.
Dieting needn’t be complicated. Follow these tips for sticking to your diet and getting the body you’ve always wanted.
Author Credits: Jaideep Bhide