In short, THEY ARE TOO RESTRICTIVE – which makes the diet UNSUSTAINABLE!
Most of the time, people give up on a diet due to calories being too low, foods being excluded, only being able to eat at certain times of the day and not having the correct understanding of how dieting works. Diets with these types of restrictions work by creating a calorie deficit within your diet. This deficit of calories is what leads to fat loss, NOT due to any radical constraint. But adhering to these restrictive diets is difficult and is what ultimately leads to falling off the wagon.
So how do you make your diet easier to adhere to? Listed below are some of the ways you can make your diet more sustainable:
1. CREATE A SMALL CALORIE DEFICIT
Often, diets that include meal replacement shakes or juices work by creating a massive calorie deficit by replacing a meal of 500-700 calories, sometimes even 2 meals, with a shake containing 150-200 calories. The result is that you have consumed 1000 calories instead of 2000+. But how long can you really keep that up? The more sustainable approach would be to work out what your maintenance calories (the amount of calories you need per day to stay the same weight) and then create a small 10%-15% deficit. For example, if your maintenance calories are 2000 then a small deficit of 200 would be easier to adhere to, allowing you to consume 1800 calories everyday and still make progress. There are plenty online calculators out there to help but I’ve found tdeecalculator.net is reliable and offers a good starting point for those wanting to work out their own maintenance calories.
2. EAT WHOLEFOODS
Support your diet with nourishing foods that promote health and leave you feeling fuller for longer. Micronutrient packed vegetable and grains will bring fresh energy to your life as well as vitamins and fibre. Protein sources such as meat and fish will satiate you for longer and provide a healthy dose of minerals and fatty acids. Being able to eat more food and avoid hunger makes dieting much easier to stick to.
3. INCLUDE FOODS YOU LOVE
Another way some diets create a huge calorie deficit is by cutting out entire macronutrient such as fats, carbohydrates or alcohol. For the uneducated dieter, they then find themselves at a loss as to what they can eat and resort to meat and veg for every meal. By cutting out the delicious calorie dense foods, the dieter has successfully created a calorie deficit. Like the shakes, this way of eating can only last so long.
You need to enjoy the foods you are eating if you hope to keep the diet up long enough to reach your body fat goals. If you have a sweet tooth, include some chocolate or cake. If you enjoy the comfort of macaroni cheese, then indulge yourself. How sad life would be if we were to take these types of foods out our diets. However, restraint and moderation are necessary to avoid over-indulgence. How do you ensure moderation……
4. MONITOR AND TRACK YOUR CALORIES
The easiest way to ensure you are always sticking to your deficit of calories is to track and count them. This can be the toughest habit to try and keep up. Without the understanding of the importance of calories, most dieters say it is too much of an effort. Some will resist the need to track their food consumption and suggest it is obsessive. I understand that tracking calories can have a detrimental effect for a few individuals but for most they have no problem taking full control of their fat loss in order to reach their goals. I would encourage you NOT to leave anything to chance. I will always recommend using the MyFitnessPal app for all your tracking needs.
There are lots more you can do to make the dieting process easier to stick to. Ideas include exercising, meal prepping, changing your environment, setting small goals and smashing them, introducing a diet break, adjusting your calories around your social life and increasing your knowledge and understanding of how fat loss work.
If you want to know more, these are all things we can teach you in our Nutrition Re:Focus – Fat Loss Made Easy Programme. We can equip you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to achieve your fat loss goals in our unique 8 week diet and exercise programme. Get in touch to find out when our next programme begins. Alternatively, we offer a 1-2-1 consultation that can provide you with the basic knowledge needed to start your own fat loss journey.