Your diet will only work if you have the ability to consistently stick to it.
The number one determining factor for your results is going to be your level of adherence to your nutrition plan/diet.
This also happens to be one of the biggest areas you (and just about every dieter) struggles with every time they embark on another diet.
It’s like a cruel joke by the diet gods, the one thing you know is the key to your success is also one of the most difficult for you to navigate as well.
But…this doesn’t mean you can’t change that, and that’s exactly what my goal is with this blog is to help you understand a few strategies to help you to better stick to you nutrition plan.
1. ) Choose A Diet You Actually Enjoy..
I’m blown away by the amount of people I hear from who go on diets they hate that exclude their favorite foods and include foods they don’t like at all.
And they’re surprised when then can’t stick to that diet for more than 30 days.. Willpower will only get you so far ladies and gents!
It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole… it’s just not going got fit!
A perfect example would be a woman who came to me this last year who had success with a ketogenic diet in the past
Truth be told though, she loved carbs and she traveled all the time for work so being keto was a pain in the ass and left her feeling deprived.
She lost some weight on keto, but she gained it all back too.
When We started to work together and created a flexible plan for her to follow she couldn’t believe that she could still have her favorite foods in reasonable portions and lose body fat.
I’ll let you in on a dirty little industry secret, every diet works for fat loss when it puts you in a calorie deficit on a consistent basis.
Follow a diet that caters to your dietary preferences and don’t worry about “the best diet for fat loss” because it doesn’t exist.
2. Engineer A Leaner Food Environment
I still believe that the food environment is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of how successful someone can be with their diet.
The reason your food environment matters isn’t always the conscious decision you make, but instead those subconscious habits that you do.
Ever gotten in your car and driven someplace only to realize you were at your destinations and have zero recollection of how you actually got there ?
That’s how a lot of peoples days go, but with food instead of driving.
We make well over 200 foods related decisions every day and my question to you would be how many of those do you remember making ?
Like most people (myself included) I’m betting you barely remember making these decision about your food choices.
Part of the reason for this is that those other food choices are shaped by your food environment.
You will eat what you have the easiest access to whether it’s calorie dense easy to overeat foods or fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
Willpower is a limited resource, and some days when we’re especially stressed, tired or hungry that willpower piggy bank gets emptied you’ll make poor decisions.
Let’s say you come home after an especially stressful and long day at work. You’re hungry, tired, stressed and don’t want to make any more decisions.
Right there on the countertop in your kitchen there’s a basket with cookies and candy. At this point the likelihood of you dipping into that basket is especially high.
However what if you came home and instead of the cookies and candy basket there was a bowl of fruit with apples, bananas and oranges on that countertop.
Well then your options would be to have a couple pieces of fruit that would tide you over until dinner and keep you much fuller for a fraction of the calories of the candy and cookies.
This is a perfect example of how your food environment can impact the dietary choices you make. .
Where and how prominently you place foods in your environment can have an impact on your consumption of them without us thinking about it twice.
Here’s a few ways to positively alter your food environment:
1.) Keep fruits and veggies in plain sight: Put fruits and vegetable in a basket on the countertop where you’re likely to walk by. Have a vegetable tray or chopped up veggies and fruit in the front of the fridge, or freezer where you’ll see them. Get lots of different colored fruits and veggies to make them enticing. No one ever wrecked their health eating too many colorful vegetables!
2.) Don't Keep Junk Food In The House: A lot of the time the old out of sight out of mind principle helps to deter you from wanting to eat junk food. If you have to go out of your way and take a trip to the store to get junk food that extra effort is likely reduce you doing so. This is especially true if there are certain foods that you feel like you have a hard time controlling intake of.
3.) Use smaller plates and bowls: By using smaller plates and bowls the same portions of food you eat are going to look much bigger. This allows you to trick your brain into thinking you’re eating much more than you actually are. Fat loss is much more of a mental game than a physical one.
4.) Remove Tempting Foods From Plain Sight: By removing many of tempting foods from plain sight it helps to reduce the consumption of them. Put them in cupboard or an entirely different room from the kitchen if you’re going to have them in the house at all and can’t remove them.
5.) Assess Work And Other Food Environments: Position the sweets jar or designated doughnut area as far away as possible at work. Put sweets in a jar that isn’t see through and don’t hover by the snacks you’re trying not to eat. Drive home a different way to avoid fast food restaurants or take a walk during lunch to prevent overeating or unnecessary snacking on junk food. Find ways to make your food environment work for you, not against you.
3.) Manage Your Stress
The one obstacle that derails more folks nutrition and fitness than anything else I hear about is stress.
How people react to stress differs greatly from person to person, and some will crumble in stressful situations, while others keep their composure and even thrive in that state.
Stressors come in many shapes and sizes in our modern world, and when they’re compounded together it amplifies their negative effects.
In an overly stressed state, your dietary decisions will be impacted whether you realize it or not.
You’ll usually crave more of th calorie dense foods thats are rich in sugar, fat and salt and help to blunt the feelings of stress.
The prefrontal cortex is the most evolved part of your brain that allows you to set long term goals and manage your actions to align with those long term goals.
Each time you’ve decided to not eat a tasty food like cookies or ice cream because you had a fat loss or health goal, that was the prefrontal cortex at work.
When your stress response is triggered, the hormone cortisol is released and inhibits the function of your prefrontal cortex.
The reason cortisol does this is in a real life or death situation being impulsive is a survival advantage.
When your life is being threatened your only focus should be acting quickly and managing and escaping immediate life threats.
For our ancestors the stress response used to be reserved for real life or death situations, not taxes and traffic jams.
As a result of the way your stress response evolved your ability to delay gratification and think of long term is not a priority when the stress hormone cortisol is flooding the body and brain.
In essence your brain doesn’t give a shit if you eat a cookie, it cares about you staying alive long enough to pass on your genetics.
This impulsiveness is great for helping you to escape a real life dangerous situation, but not so much when you’re stressed out at work feeling tempted by the free doughnuts in the break room and trying to stick to your diet.
By making these three simple changes I guarantee that you’d not only have better adherence during a phase of fat loss, but that you’d be able to maintain that fat loss instead of constantly going through the yo yo diet cycle… again.