The way to fat loss, weight maintenance, and improved body composition is often as simple as adherence to your diet plan. Building new habits is like learning a new skill. You have to work at it, practice it, and have patience with yourself.
Here are 7 tips to help you stick to the plan
1. Set realistic goals and have a plan to achieve them! This could include meal planning, tracking food, and precise portion control by scale weights. Plan lifestyle goals that will help you achieve your end goal. Consistency is key to achieving the end goal!
2. Eat foods you like! Consuming foods you enjoy plays a huge part in diet adherence. Removing foods you like from your diet is a recipe for failure. Instead, center your meals around foods you enjoy, while limiting the foods that don’t fit your calorie budget or macros at certain times.
Creatively find appropriate substitutes that tick the box not only for taste, but also for your calorie budget. Adding low calorie sweetener to foods and drinks, jello, or chewing gum are all good ways to satisfy a sweet tooth on a low-calorie budget!
3. Eat at regular times! It’s best to eat meals within a 1-2 hour window of your usual set times to avoid hunger, spontaneous snacking, and the disruption of your ingrained meal patterns.
Scheduling regular eating times trains your biorhythm to evoke hunger only at the times you’re accustomed to eating. For example, if you eat breakfast sporadically, you’ll be hungry when you don’t. However, if you never eat breakfast you’ll adjust.
4. Get enough sleep! Sleep restriction increases ghrelin levels, which increases hunger. Sleep regulates everything, including your appetite, and sleep deprivation has no long-term upside. Four nights of shortened sleep (4-7 hours vs 8 hours) can increase your appetite by over 20%. Sleep deprivation can also decrease your metabolism.
5. Build your meals around satiating foods (i.e. fibrous vegetables, egg whites, strawberries, peaches, etc.) to avoid hunger. Your stomach roughly senses total pressure on the gut receptors, not calorie intake, so one of the most effective ways to reduce your hunger is to reduce the average calorie density of your diet.
Foods that decrease your appetite lead to an overall lower daily caloric intake, which promotes improvements in body composition.
6. Establish a healthy relationship with food! This can include responding to hunger cues, enjoying foods that are supportive of health, learning how to meet your non-food needs in more effective ways, and dealing with environmental issues such as social events.
There are no good or bad foods. Some foods are simply more health-promoting than others, which are beneficial to help meet your health goals.
7. Find a trusted professional to assist you! Having a good coach to help with accountability, meal planning, nutrition, macro adjustments, troubleshooting, and motivation will save you tons of time and energy, increase your efficiency, and help ensure you achieve the goals you’ve set!
Dieting for fat loss is not easy, especially when we’ve established life-long negative habits. Yet, like all training, consistently applying proven strategies will yield results!