5 Rules of Dieting

Diet culture constantly pushes quick tips, supplements, and the latest trends that often offer nothing other than a distraction and empty promises. All the information and conflicting options can get overwhelming, and this is why many people seek out diet coaches to help guide them. If you’re not working with a coach, when dieting, you need to remember what’s important, scientifically, and keep it simple- this will guarantee sustainability in the long run. There are a lot of ‘rules’ to successful dieting, but these are our top 5 when it comes to the basics of fat loss. 

Rule #1: Assess your current eating habits

Don’t start a dieting phase blindly. Before you go in full force and make hasty changes, calculate how many calories you are currently consuming and maintaining on. It’s helpful to use a food journal or an app like My Fitness Pal to track everything you put into your mouth. This will give you so much insight into what you’re actually eating every day. Once you have this information, you will know how many calories you need to subtract in order to put yourself in a healthy, safe, and sustainable caloric deficit. 

Rule #2: Aim to lose fat while still consuming the highest number of calories possible

When starting a dieting phase, the instinct is often to cut huge amounts of calories from your diet (because who doesn’t want results as fast as possible?). But slashing a high amount of calories, in the beginning, is neither healthy nor sustainable. It also gives you no wiggle room when you hit the inevitable fat loss plateau. Start your calories as high as you can and then adjust accordingly if your body does not respond to the current deficit.

Rule #3: Don’t overdo it

If your body is responding well, you are seeing changes on the scale or in body composition, then this means that you are heading in the right direction. Don’t continue lowering your intake goal, instead, continue with what your body is responding to. Remember that slow progress is still progress and sustainable, healthy fat loss takes time- try to enjoy the journey of it! 

Rule #4: Consistency is key

In order to accurately tell if the calorie goal is working for your body, you must be consistent over an extended period of time. A 90% consistency over a 2-4 week period without changes on the scale or in body composition may call for adjustments, but you can’t assume your numbers are wrong if the scale fluctuates in the wrong direction after just a few days. Assess on a weekly basis, taking into account your adherence to the plan and then make changes accordingly. 

Rule #5: Stop restricting your favorite foods

If you’re having trouble following your diet, especially if that diet doesn’t allow you to eat some of your favorite foods, consider making some changes that allow you to fit those foods into your calorie/macro goals- or- try making your favorite foods more macro-friendly! Try the 80/20 rule – 80% nutrient-dense foods, 20% fun food. Or try approaching your diet with less of an iron fist. The more you restrict yourself over time, the chances of binge eating or developing an unhealthy relationship with food increases. 

Diet smarter, not harder.