I don’t care how great an effective dieting plan sounds on paper. It will only be as effective as the consistency in which you follow the plan and how long you do so.
Obviously, a person who eats every one of his scheduled “perfectly-designed” meals each day will do better than the person who misses one or two of those perfect meals each day. The person who, while on the perfectly designed diet and has a great three-month stretch of consistency will do much better than the person who can only manage a good month.
If you are not getting the results you want, it may not be the diet that needs to be improved upon—it may be your follow through abilities.
Cutting Calories to Lose Body Fat
When dieting to lose body fat, it’s important for you gradually reduce the total amount of calories you eat in order to eliminate as much body fat as possible—without sacrificing too much of your hard-earned muscle.
What would I consider a “gradual” reduction? A reduction of 150 to 250 calories a day- each week of your diet- will effectively take care of both objectives in most cases. With that being said, you need to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach you weight loss goals if you want to do so properly.
How Important Is Variety In Your Diet and Exercise to Meet Your Health and Fitness Goals?
Whether you eat the same foods every day or add some variety, it really doesn’t matter too much. Your objectives should be to eat the right amount of calories, allocate the proper amount of nutrients to each meal, schedule your meals evenly throughout the day and most importantly, stick to your plan.
Sticking to a plan is the biggest challenge for many people once they’ve learned the basics of good nutrition. Many people find it easier to adhere to their nutritional programs when they keep it simple and structured Monday through Friday, and add variety on the weekends. Generally this means eating the same foods Monday through Friday and mixing in other healthy foods on Saturday and Sunday.
Many of us need to change the emotional association we have with food in order to reach our goals. Instead of viewing food as an event, a reward, or a form of entertainment, you’ll have more success with your nutritional program if you can view eating as an avenue to a healthy, muscle-building, physique-enhancing process.
In other words, eating should be looked at as a “means to an end” rather than as emotional comfort. Eating the same foods during your work or school days seems to be a logical strategy for a lot of people.
Evaluating Diet Progress
Let the mirror be your guide when evaluating your weight loss progress. When you begin healthier diet and exercise habits, you should be more concerned with the way you look and feel than with the reading on your bathroom scale.
One thing is certain: The bathroom scale is not always a good indicator if you are adding high-quality muscle and/or losing weight. The scale can’t always accurately evaluate the quality of your exercise and diet habits- and their affect on your body composition.
You may mistakenly believe an increase in body weight is an addition of muscle- and it could be mostly extra body fluids and/or body fat. On the other hand, I have witnessed quite a few people who have obviously gained a fair amount of muscle mass and, at the same time, lost a considerable amount of body fat. However, these people were disappointed with their progress because they weren’t losing weight on the scale.
How to Track Fat Loss Using Calipers
I want to assess my fat loss accurately over the course of my training cycle. What do you think is the best way to do this? Should I try using calipers or is there another piece of equipment?
Most of us don’t have access to the most accurate methods of assessing body fat such as DEXA scanning or underwater weighing. As for other methods such as bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), I’ve never been a big fan of this style of evaluation.
Alternatively, the caliper technique can be a useful gauge to assess body fat but its accuracy depends entirely on the technician. For this method, you really need to utilize someone that performs this procedure on a very regular basis. I wouldn’t rely on your average, run-of-the-mill personal trainer or dietitian.
For me, the most truthful (accurate) method is the combination of measuring waist circumference and standing in front of the mirror. It’s also the easiest to employ. Firstly, stand in front of the mirror in your underwear and assess your condition once each week.
On each occasion, place a tape measure around your waist. Make sure the tape is in line with your navel, breath out and take your reading. If you want to be really objective, have someone you trust with you to help you assess your progress and take the measurement for you.