So you've committed to a diet, with the goal of losing weight. Now what?
In part one of this series, I stated that it doesn't matter what diet you follow and almost any diet will work in the short-term. The particulars of a diet may not be as important as your ability to stick with it. A letter to the Journal of American Medical Association cited research that consistency in adhering to a diet is the most important factor in successful weight loss.
But the problem with any diet is, well, you're on a diet. And the more restrictive the diet, the more likely that you'll eventually crack and binge on the off-limits food. The way to stay on track is through individualization and flexibility.
Create a Diet that Works for You
Tailoring your diet to suit your personal preferences, tastes and lifestyle will increase your chance of success. Initially, you should pick a diet that appeals to you the most and then individualize further. And even though I've mentioned the particulars of a diet don't matter, I'm not a big fan of dietary extremes.
And don't be overly concerned with how often you eat each day. Smaller, more frequent meals or fewer, bigger meals can both lead to weight loss. My advice would be to follow a pattern that is easiest for you to implement into your lifestyle.
Be Flexible with Your Diet
While it may seem contradictory, being flexible with your diet increases the odds of you sticking to it. Being flexible allows you small breaks from the diet to eat food that may not be normally permitted or to eat a few more calories. That being said, don't take this as a green light to stuff your face with junk food.
One particularly useful strategy I use when I'm dropping weight to prepare for a racing season is to include some intermittent fasting. It may or may not work for your situation, but it can be a simple way to reduce how much you're eating each week.
Your enthusiasm will be highest when you first begin a diet, but soon enough that enthusiasm will wane. By customizing the diet and being flexible, you'll be able to adjust your lifestyle for the long run instead of for a few weeks.