Dietary Adherence*

Friday, 10 February 2017, By Matt Aston

We are always on the search for the best diet, best exercise regime, or fastest way to lose fat. With every diet known to man shown to have some anecdotal evidence from individuals achieving the results they want, there are just as many individuals not achieving those results, we want to look at why it is that some people can achieve those results.

Dietary adherence is always the hardest aspect of reaching your goal. The physiology is very simple, if you eat less/better and move more, your body drops weight, this is thermodynamics. On the flip side, if you eat more and move less you gain weight. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, just transformed or transferred from one type to another. So when you eat, that energy is stored, unless we use it as fuel. This is very simple, however putting into practice is much harder, and otherwise we would all have the look we want.

With the influx of fad diets promising rapid weight loss with extreme dieting, one would think although we know that these diets are extreme, and unrealistic to adhere to long term - we still convince ourselves that "I'll just do this for the next 4 weeks and lose a quick 5kg". Even with the simplest of diets or ways of eating comes with the difficulty of adhering. So you can imagine that the more extreme a diet, the harder it becomes to adhere to. When the diet is difficult to adhere to, and a mistake is made - is it the diets fault, or our own?

How we go into a new way of eating can ultimately determine whether this will be successful or not. If you set yourself up by removing something that you enjoy out of your diet completely, and resent the new way of eating, you are setting yourself up for long term dietary adherence failure. Sure you may lose a few kilograms in the first week or so, but you are going to crave these eventually. And probably experience cravings tenfold compared to normal. Will you never eat chocolate again? Or hamburgers again? Is this new way of life "it"? Have you figured out "the way"? Probably not. You're only human, and you are going to want those foods more now that you have removed them.

The likelihood of someone who is used to eating what they wish, when they wish, being consistently able to both control the amount they eat but also exclude a large amount of foods, is logically quite low, and a sure way to increase the chances of poor adherence. So, with that in mind, there are no bad foods, or good foods, when someone is initially starting a diet, there is simply under or over eating. Don't make adherence even harder by taking out the things you really like, these can all be slotted into a well written plan; however you then must try your hardest to stick to the portion control that's been set.

Dietary adherence takes practice. Everything we do takes practice. There will be lots of mistakes on the way to changing your lifestyle habits to the extent that adherence then isn't a choice but habitual behaviour. So don't be disheartened when you don't adhere, this then doesn't mean "ah well I can't do this so I'll go back to eating crap all day". It means you just need to keep practising, each day remind yourself of the goal and try your best to tick off that day as close to 100 percent as you can. Some days will be great, some not so much, but if across a week you average more great days than not, your making progress - we assure you.



*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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