How to Sustain a “Diet”
Sustainability, a key component to achieving any goal and knowing how to sustain a “diet” is crucial for any fitness goal you may have. Whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, body recomposition, you name it. If you can’t stick to it you likely won’t be able to achieve your goal. As Stan Efferding always says, “compliance is the science.” So we now need to understand how to actually achieve this sustainability. Allow me to let you in on a little secret, there are 3 simple steps to help achieve sustainability that I will list below and cover in more detail as the article progresses.
- Enjoying The Process
- Being Realistic
- Take it One Day at a Time
Before I get started I first want to clarify that when I use the word diet, I am not referring to actually “dieting,” especially in a restrictive way. That’s the sad part, people get scared when they hear the word diet, they think it is some super restrictive plan that they will succeed at, but are ultimately doomed for failure in one way or another. That is the first problem with people having an unsustainable diet, they are too restrictive! When I say diet, I mean what your daily nutrition consists of. Yes, there will have to be boundaries and guidelines depending on your goal, however, your daily nutrition or “diet” needs to be something you can stick to. Let’s get into the rest of the article.
Enjoying The Process:
If you don’t have a desire to do something and you are doing it for reasons besides what you want, then you are likely going to have a difficult time putting in the work and therefore succeeding. I’m not saying don’t do something because you don’t want to put in the work, I am saying don’t try to accomplish something you don’t want to do. I really don’t think there are many people who want to be overweight, I am sure they all want to be in good shape. However, many may not want to put in the work to achieve this. That is something that shouldn’t hold you back because although you may not want to put in the work, the end goal is something that practically everyone would want.
In order to enjoy the process, you need to have a reason to do so. Now although your end goal should be the ultimate driver, it isn’t realistic to expect someone to be super restricted and do absolutely whatever needs to be done in order to achieve a goal over a long period of time. Unless your Rocky Balboa, haha. But on a serious note, although it would be ideal if you could follow a perfect diet that would achieve maximal results quickly (which would be super restrictive), I am sure you wouldn’t last long doing so. You would likely cave and end up failing. However, if you had a more diverse diet, with foods you actually enjoy with them still fitting into the parameters of what you need to do to accomplish your goal; it would be much easier to stick with your “diet” and keep your end goal in sight. Ultimately this will help you succeed.
Lastly, I will give some “motivation” to help you achieve your goal because it won’t all go according to plan and be perfect, there will be roadblocks. Whether you are struggling to stay within calorie parameters for fat loss, or just can’t seem to get enough food in for muscle gain. I would suggest taking every road-block and turning it into a challenge, something for you to break through so you can achieve your goal. Find any way you can to turn a negative into a positive, trust me, this is hugely beneficial.
In order to achieve your goal, you need to be realistic in how you are going to go about doing so. If you expect to lose 50 pounds of fat while eating in a caloric surplus or even maintenance calories, you’re going to fail. If you plan on eating in a caloric deficit or at maintenance calories and gain muscle because you don’t want to eat enough food, your likely going to fail as well. You need to be realistic in how you are going to achieve your goal, know what you need to do and figure out how you can do it sustainably.
You also need to be realistic in how long you plan on achieving your goal and maintaining your success. Don’t expect to lose 100 pounds in a month eating 600 calories a day and expect to stay that way when your done, let alone have much muscle. Don’t expect to gain 20 pounds of muscle in 2 months either. Instead, think of how long it will realistically take you to achieve your goal, know the work you will need to put in and don’t expect anything short of that.
Lastly, you need to be realistic and know it isn’t going to be easy. If you are trying to lose weight, you will get hungry. That doesn’t mean you can just go and reach for the cake. I am not saying to intentionally make yourself hungry and starve yourself, that is not the way to do it. If you plan on gaining a bunch of muscle, expect to be putting in a lot of effort at the gym and don’t just say “maybe I’ll skip today,” and make up some non-valid reason as to why you can/should make this decision.
Take it One Day at a Time:
In order to have any success, you need to begin with the end in mind (one of the seven tips for success). Take every day and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and use other strategies I have mentioned to help you. If you do what you’re supposed to do, and take this day by day… eventually you will take it week by week, and month by month, and soon enough a years worth of hard work (maybe more, maybe less) will pay off. But remember, this all started with taking it day by day.
Don’t expect perfection. If you take things day by day and slip up and a cheat meal turns into a cheat day… don’t stress over it, it really won’t affect your progress much. However, you cannot let this turn into a habit, because if you slip up on a day, and do this week by week, then month by month, how do you think this will affect your success at the end of a year? Your success will likely be less then it would be if you did everything quite well (while not expecting perfection) and applied the same principle.
Lastly, you need to have a mindset. One that has your end goal in mind, but recognizes you need to piece together the little things to get there. Similar to the day by day principle but it involves daily decisions. Should you have that piece of cake knowing it is a long weekend and you will be allowing yourself to “cheat” without feeling guilty? Long story short, make conscious decisions.
I hope I was able to illustrate that although important, a sustainable diet is more than just eating foods you like and not depriving yourself. It is all about your mindset and how you approach your goals and knowing what your end goal actually is. A quick reminder to always speak with your doctor for your specific needs!
I look forward to you being able to apply the ideas within this article to your daily life and goals, I know they can be of much help! As always, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will be sure to respond! I will have another article up soon!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.
No truer words have been spoken than what I’ve read in this article. I’ve ALWAYS had trouble sustaining my diet. I would always start, do it for about 2 weeks, 3-4 maximum and then fall off the wagon really quickly. i have never thought about taking it day by day. So many people look at the entire picture and think whoa that’s too much work and it’s going to take such a long time. This is a great way too look at it, I have learnt so much so thanks a lot. Sharing this now!
So glad you found the article helpful! Thank you for sharing, it is much appreciated! Have a great holiday!
Thank you for this informative article on how to sustain a diet. I think we have all struggled to keep up with a diet at some point. Alot of it is our determination and mindset as well as strength of our personal goals. Who we surround ourselves with on daily basis also plays a role. If you around negative people who don’t want to see you succeed, then they can be a detriment to your progress. I’ve had friends like this before.
You are absolutely right about being realistic and developing a plan of action to meet the goals. Many people go into it without really monitoring themselves or their calorie intake. It is a struggle of self discipline and motivation to meet the goal. Some people try to do too much and need to scale back and take it one step at a time or cut back on their calorie intake gradually instead of all at once.
It definitely needs to become a lifestyle choice to keep the weight off and remain healthy after the diet ends. Otherwise, what is the point of a diet if we gain it all back? We must consistently work hard at our health, just like we work hard at our job and providing for our family. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge in this area of sustainable dieting for our fitness journey.
Hey Daniel, no problem! I agree surrounding yourself with positive people is hugely beneficial. But if you do have those negative people, try to turn that negative into a positive and use it as motivation to prove them wrong! Gradually getting into it is a great idea for the things people struggle with and the things that should be done that way. Some things I think need to be done full out from the start if possible such as habits like sleeping and water consumption. You hit the nail on the head with it becoming a lifestyle, a diet only lasts so long, you need to have the mindset and the habits to continue even after the “diet” if you want long lasting results. Thanks for your input!