Dietary Compliance: The Crucial Ingredient Of Every Diet
There are a lot of different diets out there.
And each year, at least 1 or 2 new ones will inevitably surface.
This year, for instance, the 5:2 Diet was all over the place – and, of course, the gluten-free/paleo trend continues its upward climb of popularity.
But diets often disappear as quickly as they came, with virtually all fad diets eventually becoming relegated to obscurity.
Why does this happen?
Well, I would say that there are 2 main reasons:
1) People really get into the ‘next big thing’. This is how fads start.
2) Each of the diets, in a larger sense, failed to live up to their lofty promises.
Yes, unfortunately, the vast majority of diets fail in the end.
People don’t lose the weight, blame the diet, and go back to their old habits.
“My low fat diet made me fat.”
“Atkins made me feel terrible and I didn’t lose any weight”
“Paleo is stupid – how can they expect me to never eat any bread?”
Yup, there is a lot of frustration out there with pretty much every diet you can imagine.
And, even after all of these years, there still isn’t a perfect diet that is universally loved by all.
Sure, many diets have their advocates, but they all have their dissenters too.
All of that being said, what if I told you that pretty much all diets could work?
That’s right, pretty much every single diet that you’ve ever seen can help you lose fat.
They may not be balanced, they may not be healthy – they may not even be good for building muscle or having a desirable body composition – but they can all work in that limited sense: they can help you lose weight.
Let me explain.
The Forgotten Component Of Dieting
When you decide to go on a new diet, the first thing you’ll typically do is familiarize yourself with the specific rules – the do’s and don’ts that you must follow in order to be successful.
No carbs after 5 pm. You’re only allowed to eat 500 calories 2 days of the week. You can only eat foods our ancestors supposedly ate.
Yes, each diet will have a very specific set of rules – and while some diets are arguably much more restrictive than others, success is always based on an adherence to those rules.
So, underlying all of the hype, the rules, and the jargon, there is a much more important concept that most people fail to properly consider when starting a diet.
And that is dietary compliance.
This is a very simple concept, but in many ways will determine whether or not you are successful with your diet.
Basically, dietary compliance refers to how well you actually stick to your diet, day in and day out.
Do you actually follow the rules, or do you cheat?
Do you keep to it for longer than a few weeks, or is the process so unpalatable that you give it up after a short period and make excuses?
Yes, the bottom line is that practically all weight loss diets can work, since most of them simply offer different paths to the same goal…
The One Thing All Fat Loss Diets Have In Common
You see, every diet designed to help you lose weight sets out to achieve the same thing: to put you at a caloric deficit.
There are many different ways to achieve this, and all diets have their own little set of tricks.
Low fat diets, for instance, were based on the assumption that people would take in fewer calories if they avoided fats, eating primarily carbs and proteins.
Low-carb diets also intend to create the required deficit by having adherents consume fewer calories over all – the difference is that they rely on limiting carbs, instead of fats, to restrict calories overall.
And the 5:2 diet, which I mentioned above, attempts to create that very same deficit by requiring a 2-day fasting period every week, where you are only allowed to eat 500 calories on each of those days.
Again, each of these diets will often produce weight loss if they are properly adhered to.
But none of them will work if they aren’t followed consistently.
In the end, this comes down to the individual personality of each and every dieter.
Can you not imagine a day without bread? Well, low-carb is probably going to suck for you.
Do you have low blood sugar and feel terrible if you haven’t eaten in awhile? You’re bound to fail on a fasting-based approach, like the 5:2 Diet.
The Right Diet For You Is One That You Will Follow
For this reason, when we work with our members, one of the first things we do is learn about their specific food preferences, limitations, and overall lifestyle.
When people love specific foods, any diet that completely restricts them is going to be that much harder to stick to.
Said another way, you will have significantly lower dietary compliance if your diet isn’t enjoyable.
Enjoyable, dieting? Surely you must be joking Chris?
Not at all.
When we create custom meals plan, or put together dieting strategies, compliance is one of the most important factors that we look at.
The best, most optimal diets will fail if you don’t stick to them – and you will get better results from figuring out an eating pattern where you don’t feel deprived.
One that still allows you to enjoy your favorite foods, while getting results at the same time.
A diet that you’ll stick to in the longer-term…and that you gradually allow to become a habit.
A lifestyle change that’ll give you real, lasting results, instead of crash dieting with its constant ups and downs.
So, for the next diet approach that you choose, don’t get too wrapped up in all the gloss and buzzwords.
Instead, look at the diet critically, and ask yourself “can I actually see myself doing this, week after week, until I hit my goal – and will I be miserable doing so?”
If the answer is yes, that particular diet isn’t for you. End of story.
But I guarantee you that there are other approaches that you’re much more in sync with – where your dietary compliance will require considerably less effort.
If you’d like some help figuring out the best dietary approach for you, feel free to check out our online personal training and custom meal plan services.
As part of both of these, we’ll conduct a comprehensive dietary assessment – and then figure out an approach for you that is tailored for your specific goals, personality, food preferences, and lifestyle.