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  • Writer's pictureLewis Graham

How to stay on track with your diet.

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Do you struggle to stay on track with your diet? Do you find yourself not making the progress you want despite trying to eat ‘healthy’? Do you want to learn how to create a diet that you can stick to long term?

Well you’re not alone, on a day to day basis I come across people and clients who struggle with their diet and for many different reasons fail to stay on track and maintain a diet that compliments them and aids them in achieving their goals.

Firstly, let’s look at some of the reasons I see people fail with their diet and struggle to make the progress they want towards achieving their goals.

1. The weekday dieter

This chart shows someone whose maintenance calories is at 2000, they eat well throughout the week. However, when the weekend comes around, they indulge in different things like meals out, having a few too many drinks (yes, liquid calories count) then they often have a kebab and a ‘Maccies’ the morning after. This as you can see means that over the course of a week, you’re not in a calorie deficit which is what is required in order to lose weight.

2. Restrictive, boring diets

These types of diets are usually associated with people that are ‘all or nothing’. Typically, they eat food that is bland and completely cut out all foods that are considered ‘unhealthy’. Chocolate, crisps etc. are completely cut from the diet as they are deemed as bad foods which you can’t eat if you’re trying to lose weight. The main problem with these diets is that they are very hard to stick to for a long time. There is also a tendency, that when you do eat a ‘bad’ food, you feel like you’ve ‘messed up’ or ruined your progress and you binge on all those foods that you’ve cut out of your diet.

3. Juice diets, detox teas etc

It’s nearly 2020 I shouldn’t have to even go over this, but here we are. Before you say ‘I lost 10lbs on a juice diet’ let me just say ‘of course you did’ you were probably consuming 1000 calories or less a day. Firstly, that’s not sustainable, secondly when you start eating real food again you going to pile all that weight back on again with interest. Don’t buy into these ridiculous weight loss shakes and teas, you’re wasting your time if you’re looking for real results.

4. The ‘healthy’ eater

This is like the restrictive dieter but slightly different. This is more the person that is happy eating food that is thought of as ‘healthy’ and if you looked at their diet it typically has whole foods with plenty of nutritional value in each meal. However, they don’t take into account the amount of calories that are in each meal and although the foods that are generally ‘good’ they may have a high caloric value which, when you’re looking to lose weight, is not what you want in order to make progress.

5.Eating back calories burned

We’ve all done it. We do a workout and our Fitbit tells us we’ve burned 600 calories, so we go and treat ourselves to some cake and biscuits because we’ve ‘earned it’. I know the feeling I’ve done it before, the problem here is that most Fitbits, Apple watches are largely inaccurate when it comes to tracking calories burned through exercise, and most of the time they massively overestimate that. That 600 calories burned according to your watch is more likely to be half that number, which is fine. They key to losing fat is not through burning loads of calories through endless cardio and intense workouts.

Now how do we create a diet that we can stick to?

Step 1:

Know how many calories you need a day, to find this out follow this link:

Step 2:

Create a deficit, I’d say -500 calories per day off your maintenance calories is a good place to start if you’re looking to lose fat. This gives you a -3,500 deficit over a week period. The reason I say week is because you can adjust your calories to help suit your weekends. If you eat slightly less in the week and want to save a few calories for the weekends, then that’s absolutely fine.

Step 3:

TRACKING. It is so important to be aware of the food you’re eating and to develop and good understanding and better relationship with food. Apps like ‘MyFitnessPal’ can help you track the number of calories you’re eating in a day by logging your food you eat, which by the way only takes a few extra seconds to do. Once you start tracking you can see which foods can fit into your calories some days and some days when they won’t. Sometimes you can treat yourself to a few extra biscuits or a slice of cake because it fits your calories, and then there’s no reason for you to feel any guilt and give up on the progress you’ve made.

Step 4:

Prioritise low calorie, nutrient dense foods. Foods like fruit and vegetables, are very low in calories and high in nutrients, these foods you can eat a lot of meaning that you fill yourself up for a small number of calories. Protein is also important, not only will it help to maintain muscle during a deficit but it too, will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Aim to eat 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight each day.

Step 5:

Don’t give up! You can’t fail if you don’t give up, sometimes you may eat a little over your calories, don’t worry about it, just get back on it the next day. Don’t allow yourself to give up and say ‘oh, I’ll start again next week’, sometimes you’re going to be a little bit hungry, its part of losing weight, you wont be starving so get on with it and have a glass of water. It’s not easy, nobody said it would be, but it’s worth it so keep going.

Weight Loss Expectation:

Weight Loss Reality

Many people think that weight loss is linear, when in fact there are many peaks and troughs so don’t get discouraged if the scale isn’t moving the way you want it to. In fact, I wouldn’t bother using the scale anyway. Take a picture in front of a mirror and compare it.

with newer pictures along your weight loss journey, what your number says on the scale means nothing.

Step 6:

EXERCISE AND MOVE MORE. if your dog got overweight what would you do? Feed it less and take it out for a walk more, you wouldn’t over complicate it with them so why overcomplicate when it comes to yourself? You wouldn’t put your dog on a juice diet, the whole idea of it is ridiculous. Prioritise strength training, this helps build and maintain muscle which gives you that lean and more ‘toned’ look. Do things that you enjoy and take the stairs instead of an elevator, these little things add up when we’re looking to lose weight.

Don’t get hung up on how many calories you burn during an exercise, exercise should be there to compliment your diet and make you feel good not because you ‘have to’.

Hope this is helpful for anyone who has struggled with their diet, and if you need any help then feel free to send me an email or drop me a dm on Instagram.

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