3 Ways To Stay On Track
by Tiago Vasconcelos, RP Research Editor |
Jun 07, 2019
1] Be Consistent
Many of us start diet programs, but way fewer of us stick to them. In the beginning, you’re all fired up to finally get in shape. But after a couple of weeks, you start to miss your favorite junk food, and hunger sure doesn’t help. This is where most people cave in and undo their progress. The RP Diet is no different, and, like any diet, frequently going off plan will negatively impact your results. For visualization, here is a chart illustrating how just a couple of days can seriously set back an entire week’s worth of progress (think those indulgent weekends)!
At RP, a core tenant of our methodology is to optimize your diet as you go, making it as effective and sustainable as possible. But any plan is only as good as its adherents, and we have yet to think of a way to package and provide self-discipline along with our diets! What we can provide is assure that consistency and adherence will absolutely result in attainment of our goals via any RP Diet products, from our revolutionary new diet app, to our tried-and-true diet templates to our diet coaching plans.
To help our diet app users stay on track, the app displays a meal adherence percentage, designed to help users “take the pulse” of their dieting consistency at any point during their diet. Aiming for about 90% is a good goal: lower consistency spells a greater struggle to meet your goals. What’s more, even if you diet perfectly but only some of the time, going off-track may well mean losing some of the ground you gained during your “good days” (vs just failing to make further progress during the “bad” ones).
Having the kinds of reminders and visual aids baked into our diet app is highly beneficial for consistency and adherence.
2] Maximize Fullness
The reality of dieting is that it typically brings with it that not-so-pleasant sensation of, well, hunger. The good news? That means the diet is actually working! Our bodies have evolved to store reserves of energy as body fat, which our bodies could turn to when caloric intake wanes. When dieting, aka, undergoing calorie reduction, our bodies begin to consume these stored fat energy reserves. Hunger is one of the chief mechanisms our bodies use to tell us to replenish those fat reserves. But, even this primal - and powerful! - mechanism can be consciously tamed, and thereby prevented from sabotaging your diet.
The trick? Eating foods that have as much volume and fiber, but as few calories, as possible. Yes, we’re talking vegetables! While not alone in the high volume / low calorie category, vegetables are definitely its kings. For reference, two Oreo cookies, easily (and typically!) consumed in a matter of seconds, cost you about 100 calories with less than 1g of fiber. Those same 100 calories are the equivalent of two full stalks of broccoli, with 4g of fiber! What does that mean? That the broccoli will keep you fuller a lot longer than those sugary but empty Oreos.
The high volume / low calorie prescription holds for non-veggie foods. For instance, rice is a popular carbohydrate. 300g (cooked) rice has 291 calories and 3g of fiber. If you opted for sweet potatoes instead, the same 300g has 258 calories, and 9g of fiber. This gap is certainly narrower than that between the Oreos and broccoli, but the rice vs sweet potato example illustrates that choosing more voluminous, higher fiber (lower calorie) foods within the same macronutrient category will optimize your fullness and help keep dreaded hunger at bay. It’s also worth noting that these seemingly small caloric differences add up over multiple meals: if you opt for sweet potatoes over rice 3x, that’s 100 fewer calories and an additional 18g of fiber for the same amount of food as you would consume in rice (in weight).
Our diet app strives to make these differences in foods more intuitive, by, for example, separating carbohydrates into 3 categories:
- Veggies (asparagus, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, etc)
- Low-density carbs (most fruits, like apples, blueberries, oranges, etc)
- High-density carbs (bread, pasta, rice, etc)
For protein, aiming for leaner protein sources will likely maximize your satiety, as you can get that extra fat from nuts or avocados, which help us feel more full “for our buck” than fatty meat. For fat, things like olive oil, while quite healthy, are incredibly calorie dense.
For example, for my last meal today, I have 35g of protein, 30g of fat, and 45g of carbs. Here are two completely different meals, but can you guess which is going to leave me a lot fuller?
So whatever you’re eating at your next meal, ask yourself the following: is there any other way I could structure this meal, that would make me more satiated for the same macros?
3] Don’t Compare
We have shared over 3000 successful transformations at @rp_transformations on Instagram. A lot of people get crazy results, but it’s important to remember that everyone is different in our nature, nurture and a multitude of lifestyle and other factors. It’s tempting to compare yourself to someone else that was incredibly successful, but everyone’s story is unique to them.
Then what can you use as a frame of reference for your progress? Yourself! Are you closer to your goals than you were yesterday? If the answer is “yes”, you’ll surely get there.
Focusing on internal goals, like what you’re capable of doing tends to bolster our confidence, stamina and thereby success rate, vs focusing on external ones, like what your body looks like or how a piece of clothing fits you on any given day, which may frustrate, discourage and even cause counterproductive behaviors (like binge-eating with the faulty mindset of “may as well” since you’re still unhappy with your appearance even when staying on track). The productive mindset here is - you guessed it - consistency, positivity, and more consistency!
Lastly, rather than spend time and energy obsessing over how others - or you - may look, which are factors outside of your control, ask yourself if you’re setting yourself up for success with these best practices, which are very much in your control:
- Am I meal prepping my meals in advance?
- Am I stocking my house with healthy foods, and keeping junk food to a minimum?
- Am I going to the gym several times per week?
Our best advice is to set personal goals, and use your tools to achieve them at your pace. If you do that and stay your course, results will come. No, you probably won’t grow longer legs or broader shoulders. But, through consistency and smart choices, you will mold yourself into the fittest you can be, others’ Instagram pictures be damned!