No matter how much you try to diet it always seems to end up with you giving up because it’s either too restrictive, too difficult to execute, or life just gets in the way far too often.
Actually, the core reason is usually from not having set out a solid plan for your diet lacking the proper fundamentals that are necessary for success. Here are 3 tips on how to design and execute a diet that you can actually use to accomplish your goals.
1. Plan Out Your Core Meals
Your diet is going to have to consist of high protein, reasonable levels of fat, and usually an allocate of any remaining calories to carbohydrates. In most cases, people will try and search for foods that fit this criteria only after they start feeling hungry; and in most cases, being unable to find a quality meal results in eating the next best option accessible, which is quite often substandard.
The most palatable foods are in general what’s going to be the most marketable, and in most cities, that's what’s going to be most readily available. As a result, by not planning you put yourself in a difficult position to succeed, and being in a hungry state usually leads to making irrational decisions.
Solution: Pre-pack meals or have a list of places in mind of where to grab a bite in advance. An added benefit is better knowledge of macronutrient intake or at least consistency if you are having foods on repetition.
2. Centre Your Diet Around Foods You Enjoy
While most of us will likely enjoy sugary doughnuts or high fat foods like pizza, it’s important to establish that these foods aren’t going to be great for you given the calorie density of the food. That however does not mean your diet has to revolve around the most boring foods that you might absolutely despise - how does boiled brussel sprouts and chicken breast sound?.
The most important aspect in dieting is adherence and sustainability, and as a result it’s important to be able to have meals that you can enjoy while making it fit into your macronutrient budget. Breakfast for example (assuming high protein, moderate fat, low carbs) doesn’t just have to be spinach, and hard boiled eggs. Depending on how you like to allocate meal portions for the day, you can have something you might even look forward to.
Solution: Design your core go-to meals around foods you actually enjoy eating and figure out how you can spice them up in different ways without going overboard on calories.
3. Allow For A Little Flexibility
The most common way we’ve seen people come to a screeching halt in their progress is when they start to hate the meals they are having, usually from being overly strict and not having that element of enjoyment to begin with. Not having flexibility often means repetition, and when things become too repetitive it becomes boring and unbearable.
We previously mentioned having core meals and this means you have 70-80% of your calorie/macronutrient intake for the day accounted for while the remainder allows you to have either another core meal when you’re feeling well behaved or something to hit the spot when you’re getting cravings.
Usually the worst way to deal with a craving is to ignore it as it keeps coming back, and with a greater vengeance everytime it gets suppressed. While we aren’t necessarily advocating snacking on junk foods on the daily, if it can help with sticking to the diet in a longer-term sense, it’s definitely something to utilise more as a tool.
Solution: Have a calorie/macro budget for a spot-hitting snack, or even plan a meal during the week where you can be more carefree. Dieting shouldn’t mean not having a life and avoiding foods we enjoy, and oftentimes having a bit of flexibility improves overall sustainability!