Weight-Loss Diets, How Strict Do You Need To Be…
Part 2 of 2 – for part you you can visit the link below.
Click here –> Diet Compliance Part One
Unless you’re a competitor in physique sports like bodybuilding, fitness or figure, or you’re getting ready for some type of transformation challenge or photo shoot, I suggest at least 90% compliance.
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 are getting awesome results, you don’t have to change a thing, and you may be able to loosen up your diet a little. I know some people who are definitely only “on the program” 80% or 85% of the time and they look great.90% compliance means you are following healthy nutritious, fat burning eating guidelines 9 meals out of 10. If you’re eating small frequent meals like the burn the fat program suggests, that’s 5 small meals a day X 7 days a week = 35 meals. 90% compliance means about 31-32 of those meals are spot-on! The other 3 or 4 are for you to enjoy special occasions, reward yourself, and live a little.
If you’re like most people, and you simply want to drop a few pounds, trim a few inches off your waistline and look better in shorts or in a swimsuit for summer, then 100% compliance is unrealistic AND unnecessary. 90% compliance is more realistic as a lifesytle, while being strict enough for most people to get results.
On the other hand, if you had a very ambitious goal like preparing for a figure or fitness competition and you thought you had to reach at least 12 or 13% body fat (which is very low for women), and you knew you would be onstage with judges looking at every inch of your body in a teeny bikini (paying very close attention to whether anything on your butt and thighs was “jiggling”), then you would want to be as strict as possible during the pre contest diet period (100% compliance or very close to it).
Keep in mind also, that this is a competitive situation and every time you “cheat” and your competitors don’t cheat, you decrease your probability of placing high in the contests.
Unless you have a competitive physique goal like this, however, then total deprivation of pleasure foods or cheat meals (100% compliance), is not necessary because you always tend to crave what you cannot have. That’s a binge waiting to happen.
I prefer this 90 or 95% compliance approach over the “entire day of cheating” approach, because I have seen people use the term “cheat day” pretty darn loosely (basically making it the equivalent of BINGE DAY), and they do a lot of damage in terms of setting their progress back.
They end up frantically playing “catch up” for the better half of the following week with punishing extra exercise and dietary deprivation. Slow and steady is better than binge and punish don’t you agree?
Allow yourself some leeway. Enjoy food. Enjoy life. Have your pizza, or chocoloate or your hash browns 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!
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle.â€ Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Menâ€™s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom’s Fat Loss program and a free 3 day min ecourse visit: