Dietary Compliance

There are enough diet plans, weight loss supplements, and fat loss boot camps around that for many, losing a few pounds isn’t all that hard. For many the challenge is keeping the weight off for good. Sticking with lifestyle choices that are different from the ones you are used to is tough. The principle of adhering to a diet plan for an extended period of time is called ‘Dietary Compliance’ in the nutrition science world, and it is a huge factor in keeping lost weight off after it has been lost.

The main reasons people don’t change their diets are threefold: people like the food they are eating already, they think they are already eating healthily, and they find recommendations too hard to follow. Once you have made the decision to make a change in you diet, the best ways to up your dietary compliance are:

  • Make dieting rules simple. It turns out that encouraging vegetarianism for weight loss is pretty successful in terms of dietary compliance. Part of the reason for this is that a vegetarian diet is pretty simple: don’t eat animals. There is no measuring portions, no reading nutrition labels, just a pretty simple directive not to eat anything that had parents. While going vegetarian might seem extreme, know this: motivated patients had better dietary compliance when they made dramatic diet changes than patients who only made small changes in their eating habits.
  • Educate yourself. Making dietary changes is sometimes made harder by not knowing about the new foods you’re being encouraged to eat. Your shopping and food preparation habits are already in place, but if you learn how to pick out good fruit in the right season and new ways to cook veggies, lean meats, and beans, you are more likely to stick to a diet that includes them.
  • Find support in a group. This doesn’t necessarily mean joining a program like Weight Watchers, although these groups are generally successful weight-loss tools. A ‘group’ can mean your family and friends. If they are supportive in your journey to lose weight and keep it off, you are much more likely to have good dietary compliance. In addition, a family that decides to start eating more vegetables together instead of separately does much better than individuals who strike out on their lonesome to get to better health.
  • Get feedback about your diet. Keeping a food log is the best way to learn about your own specific diet and what you are putting into your body. Computer programs can help in both keeping and analyzing your food logs to let you know how well you are doing in terms of changing your eating habits.
  • Having a follow-through plan. Generally, maintaining a weight requires a less dramatic diet change than losing weight in the first place did. Make sure you have a plan for how your diet will change once you go into ‘maintenance’ mode and how you will stick to that diet just as you stuck with the weight loss diet.
  • Track your progress/compliance. This goes hand in hand with ‘getting feedback,’ but is worth mentioning separately. Weigh-ins, food log reviews, and other forms of journaling all keep you on track, let you know your goal progress and help you set new goals.

Living healthy and losing weight doesn’t stop the moment you reach your target. It takes recommitment to your goals to keep weight off once it is lost. Follow your simple diet rules, learn about the food you’re eating, find support in a group, get personalized diet feedback, follow through with a specific plan, and track your compliance to make healthy changes that last a lifetime.

Some speculate that he is part man, part animal, but the only thing that you need to know is his obsession and dedication to the art of living lean and helping you to achieve your body fat goals.


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