If you had the perfect fat loss plan, the perfect training plan, perfect nutrition plan, what could possibly stop you achieving your goal?
If you fail to match the perfect plan with execution, how do you expect it to work?
If the plan is perfect on paper, but cannot match with your lifestyle, how do you expect it to work?
Adherence - Strategies:
Our first step is to calculate the calorie intake and macronutrients that will be set-up to create a caloric deficit.
Once we have those numbers, they are set. However, the way in which we arrange these numbers across a plan can help or hinder your adherence to those numbers.
Instead of only looking at the caloric deficit on a day-by-day basis, let’s consider the bigger picture.
That bigger picture could be a week, or a month.
1. Weekly Calorie Distribution:
If you find that you’re generally highly adherent on weekdays, and struggle on weekends, then re-arranging your weekly calories can be a way to stick maintain the deficit, and therefore start losing fat.
For example, if your calories to create a deficit are 2200kcal, that’s 15,400kcal across a week.
You could make weekdays a little more strict (right of pic) with a 2000kcal intake instead of 2200kcal (left of pic). That creates a 1000kcal buffer, to split across the weekend.
2. Calorie Borrowing:
Using the same concept above, calorie borrowing can be a useful strategy for off-plan meals, for example eating out with family/friends. You can plan ahead and estimate the total number of additional calories you’ll consume as a result of the meal, and subtract from the day before/after to ensure weekly targets are still met.
Alternatively, for meals out, you could reduce calorie intake in the morning preceding the meal to allow more calories to be consumed for the meal, while still meeting daily targets.
3. Calorie Target Ranges:
Another way to increase adherence is to utilise ranges rather than strict targets, for example with a 2200kcal target, you could use a +- 100-200kcal range. This will allow for more flexibility and less dietary restraint in your intake.
This can also be coupled with macronutrient ranges, such as +-5-10g. The combination of the calorie ranges and the macronutrient ranges allow for additional flexibility in both intake, and also food choices.
4. Protein + Calorie Tracking:
To allow more freedom with food choices, tracking the big rocks can be a good strategy.
By ensuring protein and calorie targets are met ensures a deficit is being met, and with enough protein to preserve muscle mass and support recovery.
As a result, you have the flexibility to adjust carbs and fats according to your preferences on a daily basis.
5. Preparation + Creating Habits:
Once the plan is set, in terms of training, nutrition targets, etc., the aim is to not only adhere, but to continue to do so repeatedly. Creating habits based on the plan and preparing in advance can ensure continued adherence and progression towards results.
These may consist of routines e.g.
- Morning - wake up time
- First meal timing
- First meal macros
This can also apply for peri-workout or bed time routines.
In addition, having some daily set meals and/or preparing meals in advance can help to keep consistency. The aim of these habits is to remove some of the thought process of dieting and therefore avoid making decisions based on emotion, hunger, convenience or peer pressure, thus creating long-term adherence.
So, while you may have 'the perfect plan' on paper, ticking off the essential boxes, the reality may not sync up.
Your plan should fit INTO your lifestyle, not takeover your lifestyle to ensure results in both the short, and the long-term.