If you have been following me for a while now, you would know that I really don’t like the phrase ‘diet plan’, especially when it’s used in relation to weight loss. Because it’s such a bad solution.
It’s a short-term solution that works in favour of people who are giving you the diet plan i.e., it gets you a result.
And after you go off the plan, you are more likely to gain back the weight and then go back to them, most likely for another diet plan.
So you don’t get a permanent resolution for your situation. And you keep going back for the same short-term solution.
That is one reason why I don’t like it.
And the other reason is because it doesn’t empower you as an individual to make your own decisions around food.
If you’re reliant on someone else making decisions for you, how are you ever going to develop the skills to decide what to eat when you go out with friends? When you go on vacation?
How do you develop that skill if you’re not putting in the effort?
I recommend following what I like to call a ‘consistency plan’ instead of trying to stick to a diet plan (which is probably one of the worst solutions when it comes to achieving weight loss that’s permanent).
I’d like to give an analogy here. Imagine you’re trying to prepare for an exam and you go to a teacher for help.
You sign up for their class and instead of teaching you the fundamentals; showing you how to solve problems and different kinds of questions that may be asked and ways to tackle each of them. They give you the question paper for the next exam along with the exact answers.
Now, when you go sit for the exam, will you ace it? Most likely yes, if you’re able to memorise the answers. And are able to replicate and regurgitate them during the exam.
Now imagine this.
Every time there’s an exam, you go to this person and all they do is hand you the question paper with the exact questions that are supposed to come for the exam. And every time, you pass the exam with flying colours, because you already know the answers beforehand.
But what do you do when you no longer have this individual and you still have to keep writing exams?
How do you tackle those questions then?
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This same thing happens when you’re trying to follow a diet plan.
Because instead of learning how to cope with different obstacles that can come up in your day-to-day life. You are relying on someone else to make those decisions for you.
Someone else is going to tell you exactly how much to eat; what quantity of which foods you should be eating. Which by the way is unnecessary and is also unethical.
Unless and until you have a medical condition which requires you to restrict food items, only then a registered dietician is supposed to prescribe a diet plan for you. And for this, your doctor will refer you to them.
But in any other case; for any general health of body composition related goal (fat loss or muscle gain) that you may have. You’re not supposed to follow any kind of prescriptive diet plan.
So what is the alternative here?
The alternative is to understand that losing weight is not rocket science.
It doesn’t require you to cut out foods drastically from your life; to make dramatic changes to the way you eat.
If you have been following my blog or listening to my podcast for a while, you would already know the fundamentals quite well.
Weight loss is all about energy balance. Eating less energy than what your body is expending.
That means reducing portion sizes of your current foods; increasing your protein intake so you maintain muscle while losing weight.
Reducing the amount of energy you’re consuming on a day-to-day basis, increasing your activity levels throughout the day, and performing some kind of resistance training exercise three to four times a week.
That is it.
It’s less about what kind of specific foods that you’re eating. It’s more about how you follow these simple, fundamental principles.
And turn them into habits which you can execute in a consistent manner throughout your life.
Issues only creep up when people have to go out in the weekends to eat, when they have to go on vacation and stressful periods.
How do you maintain these habits even then? These are the challenges that need to be addressed.
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The challenge for most people doesn’t lie in knowing what to eat and what to not eat.
That is pretty straightforward.
The problem lies in making sure that you’re able to maintain your food habits no matter the kind of life circumstance; finding a workout pattern that you can adhere to even during the busiest times.
You may have problems like:
“I’m going back home to stay with my family for a while. How will I deal with my diet during that time?”
“Every week for one or two days, I have to deal with this different kind of environment. How do I maintain my diet and how do I follow my exercise program during that specific time?”
These are the problems that usually come up. And you being able to develop the skills and frameworks to maintain habits even under those circumstances; that’s what you need to learn.
When you sign up for coaching, that is what you should be looking for.
Someone who shows you how you can go about handling different kinds of situations; not someone who slaps on a diet plan, which is in most cases is doing more harm than good.
Because it teaches you a restrictive way of eating it. It doesn’t let you make your own decisions around food.
And more importantly, it doesn’t give you the tools to maintain this lifestyle long-term.
I’m of the firm belief that most adults are aware of the kind of goals they wish to achieve.
And whenever they’re making decisions, they are always thinking of their own best interests.
I don’t think anyone makes decisions which are self-sabotaging, consciously or willingly.
The reason why people are not able to get to their goals is usually because they don’t have the right knowledge. They don’t have the tools in hand which let them get there.
That’s why people resort to things like crash dieting, buying useless (sometimes harmful) supplements, going for gimmicks which don’t let them get sustainable results.
It is not because they don’t want to act in their best interests.
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When a coach, trainer or nutritionist gives you a diet plan, they’re not thinking from that perspective.
“I know what is best for this person. I will give them this diet plan, which I know will get them results.”
“These people can not make food related decisions by themselves. So I will make the decisions for them.”
This is in a way treating adults as kids. And this doesn’t empower you as an individual to make decisions for yourself.
It keeps you dependent on someone for a long period of time, which may be great for business purposes because you stay dependent as long as possible. But it is not beneficial from the perspective of someone looking for a permanent resolution to their weight loss problem.
So what’s a consistency plan?
A consistency plan would be a set of frameworks that you establish for yourself in order to make sure that you’re able to stick to the things that will take you to your goals.
In order to do this, you need to break down the actions that you’ll execute on a day-to-day basis into limited steps.
And you need to find a way to enforce accountability for these actions.
If you have decided a calorie goal for yourself that:
“For the next three months, I’ll eat at 1500 calories.”
There has to be some way to maintain that consistently every single day.
When you’re starting off on a weight-loss journey, three things that you need to do are— set your calorie goal, set your protein goal, set a daily step goal and track these daily for the next three months.
If you can do this for the next three months consistently, you will see progress.
After that, you can add 3 weekly workouts. You can add more things to the process as you build the fundamental habits. But these three are really the key drivers of weight loss progress.
One way to enforce accountability is to form some kind of group among people who are trying to do the same things as you. I have a discord server with an accountability channel. You can make full use of it.
It’s a free channel, but joining it does not guarantee that you will make use of it.
Few people have made use of the free accountability channel so far. But the ones who have done so, are making progress all by themselves without having to rely on anyone else.
You can talk to a friend and tell them about your goals; someone who is invested in your well-being. Ask them to hold you accountable and check-in with them once every day or every week.
Give them a report of your daily actions and tell them how much progress you have made so far.
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The whole basis of the consistency plan relies on you keeping yourself accountable.
This could mean using the help of a community with like-minded peers or finding someone who is invested in your well-being and asking them to hold you accountable.
Once these things are taken care of, you will be able to stay consistent. But it cannot be something that you rely on your willpower for.
You cannot expect this to happen without having some kind of system in place to enforce it.
When you sign up for 1-on-1 coaching, you don’t have to do all of this by yourself.
I’m not saying you have to sign up for coaching because I just told you what needs to be done. But if you feel like this is too much work and that it’d be easier if someone had the accountability systems in place and could keep a check on you on a daily basis. Then during 1-on-1 coaching, I will do that for you.
I know exactly how times a day you need to be checked on to make sure that you are consistent. I’ll make sure that I check your food diary every single day, so that I know you are adhering to your calorie targets and eating how you’re supposed to.
And whenever obstacles come up, I’ll be there to support you and help you make the right decisions.
But if you feel like you can make the most out of this through the free content that I put out. And you have the willpower and the ability to formulate systems for yourself.
Then you don’t need 1-on-1 coaching. And you certainly don’t need a diet plan.
Consistency is key. Everyone will tell you that.
If consistency is key, you need to find a way to enforce it. And for that, you don’t need a diet plan.
You need a consistency plan.
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