Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
Having a hard time sticking to your diet? If you are, you’re not alone.
Dieting sucks because we make it feel like an impossible task. We do things like:
Instead of giving you some vague ideas on how to stick to a diet, I’m going to give you the method to implement a lifestyle change instead so it doesn’t even feel like a diet.
Four areas I’m going to be focusing on are:
Now, let’s dive into the exact steps you need to make to implement a lifestyle change.
Step 1: Make it Enjoyable
Restrictive diets rarely work.
What happens when you tell yourself you can’t have something? You immediately want it! In fact, subconsciously, you probably think and crave more about the food or drink than you usually would have previously.
For anyone starting out a program, I can understand how difficult it could be if you were to have that “all or nothing” mentality and be too restrictive in your diet.
Why? Because most people have never gone a week without having some chocolate or some ice-cream or pizza. Why do you suddenly expect yourself to be able to last 6 weeks or 12 weeks or whatever the duration of your program is without having any of these things?
How can you make more of a sustainable lifestyle change? Allow yourself to strategically have the foods & drinks you enjoy consistently such as carbs, chocolate & cocktails! Will your progress be as quick? Probably not. But will you enjoy the process more? 100%. Which would you prefer?
This is the approach I take with my Online Coaching Clients. It simply involves knowing what your daily and weekly caloric intake is and hitting that calorie target each day or on a broader scale, not going over your weekly budget.
Of the calories we consume, we aim for 80%-90% of them being made up of real, single-ingredient foods. Eating real foods, the majority of the time will keep you fuller for longer, make you feel more energised and help you tone up and build strength more efficiently.
This doesn’t mean you have to eat chicken, broccoli and rice from a lunch box every day! If you do it right, you’ll find a way to cook tasty and nutritious meals which won’t even feel like you’re on a diet! You want to enjoy foods that that are delicious and nutritious yet taste so good that it makes you want to get up in the morning and have it! That’s when you know you’re not following a diet!
If 80-90% of your food comes from nutrient dense sources, the other 10-20% is where the flexibility comes into play and allows you to include some treats or foods you really enjoy. For instance, every week I eat a big pancake stack with a cappuccino or latte! I enjoy eating pizza or having ice-cream (especially as the weather gets warmer!). I like having chocolate.
I can eat and enjoy these foods on a regular basis because I know, in the grand scheme of things, I mostly eat nutrient dense foods which gives me more freedom. I have found this to be a brilliant approach to use to find that balance between reaching your physical fitness goals and satisfying your social life, your cravings and your weekend lifestyle.
A final note on making it enjoyable – don’t use the words “on track” or “off track.” This will allow us to fall into the assumption that following a diet is like a switch – it’s either “on or it’s off.”
Instead see it as a dial – sometimes the dial might be at an 8/10 where you’re eating nutrient dense foods up to 80% of the time as mentioned above. However, some weekends or staycations away, you might need to adjust the dial to a 5/10.
For instance – maybe a slice of pizza turned into a full pizza. Or we’ve all been there when a spoon of ice-cream turned into a full tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a massive bowl of cereal (my favourite!).
But once you make the mindset shift of seeing this as a dial which adjusts rather than a switch that’s either on or off, I have found it gives my clients reassurance that they can enjoy their social lives without shame or guilt and know they’re not “breaking” or “off their diets.”
As a client of mine said:
“I learned not to compound one mistake with another. If you break your diet by one small meal mid-week, the week is not lost. Before on my own, if I tried to eat healthy for a week but broke my diet on a Tuesday, I’d then give up then for that week and say I’ll start again next week. Now the odd blip doesn’t set me back, I just get back on track for the next meal."
Step 2: Create Structure
Once you understand that this must be enjoyable and fit seamlessly into your lifestyle, you now need to create some structure around your nutrition.
Think about how your life operates currently – you are likely following some form of routine whether you’re aware of it or not.
You probably go to bed and get up around the same time Monday – Friday, start work at a certain time, eat lunch around the same time and wind down and finish up at a specific time of day.
Just like you have a structure and routine in your work life, try to build a winning structure that fits into your lifestyle with your nutrition. The key is it must fit into your busy lifestyle and not feel like a chore.
Reflecting on your current eating structure, you must ask yourself - is this structure serving me? Is it moving me towards or away from where I want to go?
If not towards, then you need to make changes to get out of a routine which doesn’t serve you and into one that does.
For instance, what are you going to do when you get home and are absolutely starving and want something to eat instantly? Are you going to reach for the chips or the carrot sticks?
Are you going to have the discipline to spend 30 minutes cooking a meal or are you going to root through the presses and pick the most convenient thing?
That’s why you need to create a structure – a way to set up your days and your week. Some people do like to have something prepared in advance while others opt to cook from scratch.
But creating a structure will allow you to build some habits into your lifestyle that don’t feel like a chore to follow.
This process can start by analysing the foods you normally eat. What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Ideally, if you can ensure that each meals ticks the below boxes (with the exception of veggies for breakfast if this is not something that sounds appealing), you will have a pretty solid structure in place:
Having a structure will allow you to make better decisions consistently.
Step 3: If You Want More Specifics
If you want to get results, don’t want to follow a strict diet yet would like some specifics as to more detailed portion sizes, here are some ways you can implement this:
2. Protein: I always say, when eating in a calorie deficit, you should have two goals in mind:
3.Fibre: Try to have half a plate of veggies in at least two of your meals so you’re getting in enough micro-nutrients.
4. Carbohydrates and Fats: In general, I recommend eating more carbohydrates on training days because you’ll need them more to fuel your training and less on rest days because you’re not as active. Fats would make up the remainder and vice-versa.
Step 4: Get Support and Accountability
You might find yourself wanting to give up because it seems like you’re not making as much progress as you’d like. You might be questioning or doubting your approach. You might even be confused by all the noise on Google Education or Instagram Fitness!
If that’s you, I understand how you feel. In fact, everyone goes through this seemingly impossible phase at some point of their learning curve. But you know what?
Just like the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.
If you become an Insider into my online coaching, all of the guesswork will be taken out of it for you. You will stop doubting yourself and no longer have to make things up as you go along. Instead, you will be given a specific blueprint and structure to follow so you’ll know not only what foods you should be eating, but what also what amount (which most people struggle with).
On top of this, you’ll be given specific, structured workouts which match your current lifestyle and goals and most importantly – guidance, support and accountability.
Having accountability and support is great on the good days. Often people say things like:
“I am definitely feeling a lot more confident in the way i look and it is having a knock-on effect with the way I’m feeling as well which is brilliant. My posture is even after improving since I started the program. I am also receiving compliments from family members, friends and others about how I look which I find so uplifting and positive! When I try on clothes that I haven’t worn in a while or ever but have in the wardrobe, I am really starting to fill out the leg or top which is what one of my main goals is/was at the beginning.”
But having support is equally important on the tough days. The days you feel like quitting. Checking-in regardless of whether the day was “perfect” or not is what keeps people accountable to keep going.
“I find it hard to manage my foods at the weekend” is a common struggle some of my clients have which makes the check-ins even more important so they don’t quit.
If you’d like to become an Insider, your free consultation call today now.
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If you know what to do, why haven’t you done it yet?
This is where having the structure and accountability of a coach comes in. I’ll help you get the results you’ve always desired and make your journey much easier and quicker than doing it on your own.
What’s the purpose of the consultation call?
To deep dive into your health & exercise history, your goals and current struggles and from there decide if we’d be able to work together (note – I am not the right coach for everyone which is why I have consultation calls with potential clients of mine).
If we are a good fit, we can get working on your personalised program so you can finally make the changes you’ve always wanted.
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Adrian McDonnell -
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