Three Ways to Make Dieting Easy—and Even Increase Your Performance
By Matthew Sloan
|author Matthew Sloan|
Any form of dieting can be stressful on the body, the mind, and your emotions, and sometimes the idea of "just push through it" isn't enough. Sometimes we all need some extra motivation or special methods to get us through the day or week. So here are three methods I personally use to make dieting easier, and I think any serious bodybuilder, lifter, or strength athlete can use them to his or her advantage.
The 3 Methods
The first method is to just simply switch up your training. This switch up should be something " fun" or "exciting" to give yourself something to look forward to (because dieting for weeks on end can get repetitive). For example, if you are following my “lean mass-made-simple program” from a few posts back, and are getting bored with the training, then try something new for a day, then get back on the program. So, if you're doing 10x10 at the time and need just a " fun" type of day, then have an “all-out arm assault day” with supersets and tri-sets, and just go for the " pump". Another example would be if you are on a “cutting” regimen and have started to implement some cardio (three days a week or so) and are getting bored of it—or lacking in the motivation for it due to the caloric restrictions—then have some fun with your cardio. Maybe go to your gym's bike class or even something such as a "Zumba" class. Whenever you are dieting (especially while in a caloric deficit), then you have got to keep the training fun and interesting. If you don't, then you will have difficulty sticking with it, and when you aren't consistent with your training, you aren't consistent with the results
The second method is to have a cheat meal! Cheat Meals are a perfect way to give your mind a boost in motivation. There's nothing like the feeling of rewarding yourself with a tasty meal after a strict week of dieting. The way I do cheat meals, while in a deficit, is to consume a cheat meal after every three days of dieting. But this is only because I have acquired a fast metabolism (no I have not always had a fast metabolism) that is the result of proper dieting and training. So if you know that you have a fast metabolism, then you can treat cheat meals the way I do, but if you have always had problems with your weight, and think that you have of a slower metabolism, then I would have a cheat meal after every five days of dieting. (If you dieted strictly Monday through Friday, then have a cheat meal on Saturday.) For your cheat meal, you will want to have a predominately high-carbohydrate meal, because one of the main benefits of these (aside from the mental boost) is the increase in leptin levels in your body—and high carbs is how you increase your leptin. Leptin is one of the key components of burning off fat, and should not be overlooked. When you have a cheat meal, you must not feel guilty about it, otherwise the meal will do more harm than good, because you will be de-motivated (and your mood might just plain suck!).
The final method I use to make dieting easier is to make your food taste good! When the food you are eating is bland and boring, then sticking to your nutritional regimen can prove to be doubly difficult. So when you prepare your tilapia or your chicken breast—two of the mainstays of my personal diet—make sure you season it well. (Tasty fish or chicken is always something to look forward to in my book.)
If you have a problem staying away from the sweets, then go ahead and peruse the internet for some healthy dessert recipes. You can even use artificial sweeteners in your Greek yogurt, or instead of drinking only water, you can drink some flavored zero-calorie drinks (and, no, there are not significant harmful effects of artificial sweeteners). Keeping your food tasteful—not to mention enjoyable—is one of the biggest factors in sticking with a diet, and, ultimately, making it a successful one.
From a nutritional aspect, there are many different methods that you have at your disposable to make things easier. And although there are “easier” ways to reach your goals, there are no shortcuts. So stay consistent, listen to your body, adapt to your needs (and your occasional desires), and keep growing!