The guidelines below highlight some of the best ways to stick to your diet. I also included ways to avoid some of the most common fat loss pitfalls; things people typically suffer from.
Tip #1 - Develop and Write Down a Eating PlanUpon first reading this, many people will blow this tip off because it seems like nonsensical information. Don't.
The mental aspect of dieting is the area that causes people to struggle the most. So often society places a value on getting results quick, fast, and immediate. The truth of the matter is there is no single one shortcut that can be taken to lose a significant amount of weight. This is FACT.
When starting your weight loss journey, tell yourself you will (in fact) lose X amount of pounds or reach X% of bodyfat. Next, set a goal weight range you want to reach. From there develop a specific timeline for reaching this goal in X amount of weeks.
Tip #2 - Track Everything You Eat...Everything!
Counting your calories is one of the most neglected parts of dieting. When I ask people how many calories they are consuming they often have no idea, or end up giving me a ballpark figure. Very few people, if any, actually KNOW the amount.
Find out what your calorie maintenance level is and begin your diet with a modest 10% decrease. Invest in a ten dollar food scale and take the extra 5 minutes a day to track your food.
It kills me when people say, "I want to lose weight, but I don't want to count my calories." If you want to lose weight badly enough, you will track what you eat. And tracking what you eat means YES, you include the 10 M&M's you grabbed out of the candy dish - and YES, you include the bagel that your coworkers brought in to celebrate the birth of their 4th baby.
Tracking is simple to do, so man (or woman) up and do it!
Tip #3 - Create a Structured Lifting and Cardio PlanBefore you say anything...NO, cardio is not one hundred percent necessary. However, is it likely you will need to do some form of cardio to become very lean? YES.
Add HIIT cardio slowly into your fitness regimen. Do not go from zero cardio to 2 hours per day on the treadmill. Start with 10-15 minutes of high intensity interval cardio once or twice a week and adjust as needed depending on your weight loss.
When it comes to lifting, stick to your workout routine whether it is high volume or low volume. Don't fall victim to the old false belief of "bro do higher reps when cutting to get more toned." This is an age old fallacy that won't die.
Stick to heavy compound lifting. Your specific weightlifting routine should not change unless your overall strength training programming changes.
Eating meals out of Tupperware containers will eliminate the temptation of falling off your diet.
Tip #4 - Prepare Meals in AdvanceThis step helps eliminate the confusion, worrying and struggles that come with staying on a diet.
Eating meals out of Tupperware containers will eliminate the temptation of falling off your diet. Packing your meals makes it easier to avoid heading to Burger King to demolish a couple of Whoppers and some fries with the boys
When meals are prepared in advance you will also be able to precisely count and track your calories. Performing meal prep 1-2 times per week will not only help you stick to your diet, but it will also help you save money. Who doesn't like saving money?
Tip #5 - Drink Plenty of WaterThis is probably the least talked about component in all of diet and fitness. Not only does water help flush your system of toxins, but it also aides in satiation.
Many times people are misled by their bodies to believe that they are hungry, when in fact they may just be thirsty. Drink 1-2 gallons of water each day, depending on body size (roughly one ounce per pound). You will feel less hungry and your weight will also remain stable throughout the course of your diet.
Often dieters will forget to drink enough water one day. The body will end up retaining extra water the following day due to this inconsistent consumption. It can throws your scale weight off by up to 5 pounds.
By keeping your water intake relatively stable you will get more accurate scale readings.
Tip #6 - Develop Healthier Versions of Your Favorite RecipesLet's face it...you don't want to eat chicken and broccoli every meal of every day. For the vast majority of folks this type of diet is not sustainable. You can always make healthier versions of your favorite foods to fit your macronutrient needs.
Are you craving pizza? Make a healthier pizza using a lower carb crust, low fat mozzarella cheese and chicken instead of calling up Pizza Hut to get a meat lovers deluxe. How about cheeseburgers? Buy some lean ground beef, low-fat cheddar cheese and top with some veggies.
Maybe even some pancakes for breakfast? Make some high protein pancakes with bananas and oats topped with some sugar-free syrup.
The truth is, you can make tons of calorie friendly recipes at home by controlling portion size and ingredients. The options here are literally limitless.
Tip #7 - Surround Yourself With Positive PeopleNow when I say you need to surround yourself with positive people, I am not necessarily saying you must become friends with strictly fitness-minded individuals. However, the people you choose to surround yourself with should include supportive friends and family members.
Let these people know you have specific goals you are trying to reach. These people should not criticize the lifestyle choices you have made, nor should they try to peer pressure you into demolishing Chinese food buffets and inhaling triple Whoppers.
Now, I'm not saying you should alienate yourself from the loved ones in your life, but try to strike a balance. The people that truly care will understand why you choose not to go binge drinking and eating pizza at 2:00am, or why you chose to go to the gym instead of watching a Breaking Bad marathon on Netflix for the 3rd time in the last year.
Final ThoughtsAchieving the body you want does not happen overnight. But if you follow these tips and develop consistent and focused habits you will reach your goals.
Most importantly, focus on positive lifestyle choices that you can stick with. The best diet is the one that works for you, but remember nothing works unless you do!
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