How Strict Should Your Diet Be?

Did you know that depriving yourself of foods you enjoy could actually be destroying your fat loss efforts in the long run? If you want to lose fat permanently and healthily without going cravings, binges or other diet nightmares, then here”s what you must do instead…

Find a sensible way to work all your favorite foods into your diet, but do it in an amount and frequency that doesn”t sabotage your progress.

This can be done in two ways.

1. The most common method is to have a regular “free meal” (a.k.a. “cheat meal). Within reason, you can eat whatever you like for this one meal.

2. Another method, which I actually prefer, is to work these “treat foods” into your daily calorie allowance, but still ensure that you still get enough protein and healthy fats via your other meals.

It”s important to find a balance.

Too many meals or days off the program and your results are compromised. Too many days in a row eating nothing but “diet food” and you go insane with cravings.

How strict you need to be with your diet program varies from person to person. It depends a lot on how ambitious your goals are and on how responsive your body is to nutrition and exercise.

When making your decision, keep in mind we all have different genetics and body  types, which is something I discuss in great detail in my book, The Flat Abs Formula.

For example, are you a carb-tolerant mesomorph who gains muscle easily and loses fat easily or are you a carb-sensitive endomorph who gains fat easily? Depending on the answer, your diet program may need to be more or less strict than others.

I suggest eating “on-plan” 90% of the time, and enjoying “off-plan” foods 10% of the time.

Whether you adjust your level of compliance above 90% (get more strict) or below 90% (get more lenient), depends how far away or close you are from achieving your goals, and most importantly, on what kind of results you”re getting each week.

If you”re complying 90% of the time, and you”re getting great results, then you don”t have to change a thing, and you may even be able to loosen up your diet a little.

90% compliance means you are following healthy nutritious, fat-burning eating guidelines 9 meals out of 10, or for the majority of your calories each day.

Even for those fitness models and bodybuilders preparing for competitions, 100% compliance is unrealistic and unnecessary. In this situation however, option 2 of working favourite foods into calorie and macronutrient constraints would be the way to go. I use this method myself (rather than the more common “free meal” approach) and I actually include chocolate and other “treat foods” in my diet on a DAILY basis.

As long as I meet my minimum protein and healthy fat requirements, and stay within my calorie allowance, I can do this with absolutely NO set-back to my physique goals! You can learn how to calculate your own minimum requirements and daily calorie allowance in The Flat Abs Formula eBook or if you hate calorie counting, I can do it all for you with a Bespoke Nutrition Plan.

I prefer this approach over the “free meal” approach, because I have seen people use the term “free meal” pretty loosely (basically turning it into a binge), and they can do a lot of damage to their progress if this happens on a regular basis.

Moderation and balance is key. Allow yourself some leeway. Enjoy food. Enjoy life. Have your ice cream, or pizza or whatever makes your stomach happy. It will help, not hurt in the long run. Just be sure to be mindful of your calorie limits, and when you say you are going to comply 90% of the time, then keep your promise to yourself and comply!

Remember: Total deprivation of pleasure foods is a bad idea, because you always tend to crave what you cannot have. That”s a binge waiting to happen. Discover your “healthy balance” and create a diet that”s both sustainable, and suitable for your personal body type.

  • FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
    What do you find the hardest thing about sticking to a diet?
    Do you use one of these “treat” strategies already?
    I”d love to hear your answers in the comments section below!

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