How To Stick To A Diet: Lose Weight And Keep It Off

By JC Deen



how to stick to a diet

Having a hard time sticking to your diet? If you are, you’re not alone.

Dieting sucks but it doesn’t have to feel like an impossible task.

In fact, if you’ve ever asked someone how to stick to a diet, you’ve probably gotten a TON of different answers… something along the lines of:

  • “Cut out all sugar.”
  • “Stop eating after 7pm.”
  • “Go on the Atkins Diet (or Keto, South Beach, Paleo, SlimFast, Dukan, or Alkaline).”
  • “Get on a meal plan.”
  • “Start intermittent fasting”
  • “Eat clean.”

But here’s the rub.. Most all of that advice above is useless without context and some of it is utter nonsense. 

Instead of giving you some vague ideas on how to stick to a diet, I’m going to give you the exact method to stick to ANY diet you want.

And not only that, you’ll understand why most people fail when trying to stick to a diet.

There are 3 things you must do to be able to maintain any diet for weight loss.

Those are:

  1. You must develop a good reason as to WHY you want to stick to a diet.
  2. You’ll need a simple plan that you can stick to.
  3. Structure within your day and week.

And then there is one extra thing that is only optional, but highly recommended… and that’s getting some form of feedback and accountability. We touch on that at the end.

Let’s dive into the exact steps you must take to stick to your diet.

Step 1: Why Do You Want To Stick To A Diet?

This is the question you must answer and it needs to be grounded in reasoning that makes sense to you (not to anyone else). 

The reason it has to make sense to you is because most other people are not going to understand your need or desire to go on a diet. 

And you will come across diet saboteurs along your journey of changing your eating habits to get into better shape. (we cover this in full in the diet saboteurs section so don’t miss it)

For context, when referring to the word ‘diet’ here, it assumes you’re trying to lose weight for health or aesthetic reasons. 

The true definition of diet is simply what you eat on a daily basis, but in this context, it’s all about weight loss.

People start diets all the time for various reasons.

But why are you starting a diet?

It could be to lose weight.

Maybe you want to be healthier.

Or maybe you have an ailment that calls for a major change in dietary choices. It could be allergies or an autoimmune condition.

Whatever the reason, you must determine WHY you’re looking up ‘how to stick to a diet’ on the internet.

Is this reason for wanting to lose weight strong enough to keep you on track? 

If not, rethink why you want to stick to a diet.

A few pointers for choosing your why:

Go beyond the aesthetics. Most people start a diet because they want to lose weight and look better. 

Nothing is wrong with this but chances are… it won’t be a strong enough reason for when things get tough.

Think about your future self. Most of the time, we want to be healthier and feel better about ourselves. 

But without some sort of achievement, it’s hard to feel good about our efforts. 

For instance, if you’ve been trying to eat healthy and lose weight for months but haven’t succeeded, you probably feel down and bad about yourself (but if not, kudos to you!). 

But how would you feel if you were more consistent and made progress with your weight loss goals?

What if you looked back over 4 weeks and you’d lost 5 or 10 pounds? Would you feel good about the progress you’ve made? My hunch and experience working with people tells me yes.

JC’s Expert Advice:

Are the actions of today making your tomorrow self happy? If not, change something.

Drill down to what’s most important. There’s an exercise I use in my much of my work known as the Why Exercise. And it goes like this:

You simply answer the same question over and over until you get to a solid reason as to why you want to lose weight.

Here’s how the exercise works. Pull out a piece of paper, or open a jorunaling app on your phone or computer.

At the top of a page, write down your ‘why’ statement clearly.

Here’s an example:

“I want to lose 20 pounds, see my abs, and be able to take my shirt off at any moment that calls for it.”

After that, right below it, write ‘why’ and then your reason after.

WHY?​: To look more athletic and get rid of my beer belly. Then after that, ask why again.

WHY?​: To be more confident in summer social situations.

Then ask why you want to feel more confident. What will it do for you? What will it mean? Keep asking why until you know all the reasons why you want to change your body and mind over the next year.

This is important because there will inevitably come days when the training, your diet, less-than-stellar results, impatience, or other life stressors will make you frustrated and tempted to quit.

When you’re hanging by a pinky during those moments, your ‘why’ statement will pull you back from the brink and give you the morale boost you need.

If I’m ever discouraged or distracted from my goals, I always go back and read my old notes. 

They remind me of why I’m pursuing a goal, and I get right back on track afterward.

And now that you know WHY you’re attempting a diet, you should be mindful of the following.

Next up, you need a plan

JC’s Expert Advice:

Don’t underestimate the power of knowing WHY you want to accomplish a goal. Especially if you want to stick to a diet, your ‘why’ statement will prove to be very powerful over time.

Step 2: Develop A Plan To Succeed

When someone thinks about starting a diet, they know they need to do a handful of things:

  • Cut out junk food
  • Stop snacking
  • Stop going out to eat
  • Cook their meals at home
  • Eat more healthy foods more often

And while all of that sounds really nice, none of it matters until you actually put something into place and do it on the regular.

Planning is actually an easy task. 

It’s the execution that matters most. 

Anyone can make a plan, but sticking to it is what gets you results. 

We’ll cover that in a second.

Get Clear And Make A Plan

If you decide to cut out junk food or stop snacking, how will you do this? Will you stop buying it and keep it out of your house? 

Will you stop using the vending machine at work?

Let’s say you eat out all the time and all that greasy, fatty food is keeping you from losing weight. 

How will you change your habits so you don’t eat out as much?

Going out to eat offers many supposed benefits. It’s:

  • Easier and faster than cooking at home.
  • Often tastier than what you might make for yourself.
  • Hassle-free because you don’t have to do dishes.

However, while all of the above is nice, it’s making your weight loss goals nearly impossible. 

So, you’ll need to begin thinking about how you can avoid eating out and what you’ll do instead.

This likely means you’ll need to begin cooking your meals at home with fresh, whole foods. 

We’ll cover this in more detail later, but for now, you must have a plan to cut the habit of eating out all the time and replace those meals with healthy, whole foods.

Step 3: Create Structure And Constraints

All of the above sounds easy, right? Just do something different than you’ve been doing.

Everything is easier on paper than it is in real life.

Real life is messy… it can feel complicated. 

But it can also be really simple if you want.

What you need are structure and constraints.

Think of structure in how you set up your day and your weeks.

Think of constraints as confines in which you operate.

Structure Throughout The Week

When it comes to making a plan, structure is everything.

Think about how your life operates currently… you are likely following some type of routine, whether you’re aware of it or not.

You wake up, do your morning routine, go to work, maybe get a workout in, run errands, and then go back home to wind down. 

Eventually you go to sleep and the cycle repeats.

Now you have to think about what you need to change in order to give you some new structure with your week. 

What needs to change? Are you spending more time doing things that aren’t serving you?

Maybe watching too much Netflix, or spending too much time on social media? 

Next, you’ll need to decide what’s important… you know you want to stick to a diet regularly, so what can you do to make sure that happens?

That probably means you set aside time to cook regularly at home, instead of going out.

It likely means you’ll need to carve out some extra time for yourself to have breakfast, pack a lunch, and make dinner.

At first it may seem like it’s too hard, so you should ideally start small. 

If you never eat a proper breakfast, getting up an hour earlier to make one probably doesn’t sound that great.

Instead, you could make a smoothie with protein powder, fruit, Greek yogurt, and some nuts (or whatever you like). 

The goal is to make this meal not only nutritious and filling, but something so easy you can’t skip.

After that’s become normal, you can start to think about how to eat better for lunch and dinner. 

Constraints To Keep You In Check

Operating under constraints allows you to flourish. 

Most people think they want complete freedom, but without some sort of constraint or deadline, things rarely get done.

Think of it like this…

If you had one task at work to finish and your boss gave you the entire week to complete it, you probably wouldn’t take the first few days of work seriously. 

And as the week came to a close, you’d start to ramp up the work to finish it right before the week ended.

What’s interesting is there’s a name for this phenomenon.

It’s called Parkinson’s Law, which states: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

What do constraints look like?

They can be incredibly individual, but here are some examples.

You set aside 60 minutes three times per week for intense exercise.

Within those segments, you go to the gym and get in a workout that is challenging and progressive.

Note: all of my programs easily fall within being able to complete each workout in 60 minutes or less.

How about a constraint for better eating?

Here’s a simple mantra you can set for yourself.

“I eat no junk food within the confines of my own house.”

This way, you’re forced to throw out any unhealthy foods or so-called junk food you’d normally eat.

And since you’re committed to eating better and sticking to your diet, this means you’re cooking and preparing food at home instead of going on.

Now, the only way to get junk food is to go out.

And now, the next constraint you make for yourself is by allowing only one meal outside of the house per week.

See how this works?

These constraints, while they might seem limiting at first, will cause you to make incredible progress in record time.

Avoid Fad Diets At All Costs

You know a fad when you see one… or do you?

Every gas station tabloid promises you can lose 30 pounds this month with a newly-created birthday cake diet.

Don’t believe it? 

Just look at the model on the front page holding her baggy jeans out from her waist with a big, bold quote next to her head reading “I lost 31lbs eating nothing but leftover birthday cake last week!

This has happened over and over with the various low-carb, low-fat approaches we know today. 

Ever heard of the Carnivore diet? 

It’s a form of high protein, zero carb dieting. 

But what’s more is it’s very restrictive. It’s not just any protein source, but typically red meat only. 

Some people even subsist on nothing but beef steaks, salt, and water. No shit.

Look… I understand some people have chosen the Carnivore diet to deal with severe allergies, or digestive issues. And I understand that it’s helped a segment of people. But this should never been seen as a long term solution. 

Instead, it should be seen as a stepping stone to better health and learning about oneself.

/ end rant

And then others espouse the wonders of the Keto Diet… Eat all the protein and fat you want, and still lose weight — all without counting calories, or monitoring your portion sizes.

Yes, to be incredibly clear, I’m calling both the recent Keto craze and the Carnivore diet fads in the broad sense.

Fad diets are cyclical.

There was a time when fat was demonized, and an entire frankenfood industry was born as a result. Want to eat a cookie but on a low-fat diet? 

No problem, you have 10 options of low-fat cookies to choose from. Ignore all the hard-to-digest chemicals and fake ingredients that hold said cookie together.

How To Lose Weight With A Fad Diet:

You jump on the bandwagon, and eat from the list of allowed foods, while restricting all the forbidden foods. 

You keep it up until you either get to your goal weight or lose control altogether and give up.

One will happen, most likely the latter.

If you “succeed” and make it to your goal weight, what then? 

You continue eating in a restrictive manner until you throw in the towel and eat yourself into a coma at the nearest buffet.

Either way, you’re doomed for failure because a fad diet is not sustainable. 

Severely limiting your carbohydrate intake on any diet is not good for your health as some might try to convince you of. 

Need proof? Read my review of The First Diet. We need glucose (carbs) to thrive.

Eating as much cream, and fatty cuts of meat while eliminating carbohydrates will not magically make you lose fat if you’re replacing your carb intake with extra cheese and oil on a daily basis.

Fad diets can make you view particular foods and nutrients as being good and bad, or ‘off-limits.’ 

The polarization creates a mental divide that can be incredibly hard on your relationship with food. 

Feeling bad about eating some of your aunt Sherry’s pumpkin pie because some nincompoop with a white coat on told you sugar is dangerous? 

Great… now you’ve stressed yourself out and made Aunt Sherry feel bad because she hasn’t seen you in two years and now you wont eat her pie.

Stress is bad for you, no matter how you cut it.

The Paleo Fad:

If adopting the Paleo diet forces you to eliminate all dairy, you might be missing out on some of what dairy can offer you, such as the calcium, quality protein and saturated fat (which seems to be good for hormone production, and not the cause of heart disease).

The Anti-Carb/Sugar Fad 

In the recent years, sugar and carbohydrates are becoming the focus of high-fat or high-protein diet promoters. Think about the Keto and Carnivore diets I mentioned above.

Those who push these diets promote a fear of sugar by claiming that it causes disease, and makes you fatter.

They make you afraid… yes, actually fearful of eating things like rice, potatoes, and even fruit.

This is mostly nonsense because you can find populations all over the world eating high carb diets who have incredible health and low rates of disease. Look at the Okinawan diet for just one example.

Fad diets may seem like a good idea for the short-term, but the long-term implications are undesirable. Fad diets are impossible to follow forever. Your body will always win out over willpower. Humans have evolved over thousands of years, and the body is smarter than your quick-fixes.

Make Whole, Nutritious Foods A Major Part Of Your Diet

This shouldn’t have to be said but I’ll say it.

Junk food and fast food are not acceptable in large amounts when you’re trying to stick to a diet that promotes fat loss or improved health.

Should you treat yourself from time to time? Sure, but don’t give into the idea that only calories matter while nutrients don’t. 

Whole foods can be defined as foods that are close to their natural state and having been minimally processed.

A simple way to understand what whole foods are and aren’t is to use a simple heuristic. 

Ask yourself this one question:

“If I could travel back in time with this food in hand and give it to my ancestors from the early 1900’s, would they recognize it?”

Chances are if they couldn’t, it’s not considered a whole food.

For instance, take a so-called health food such as a protein bar. It’s chock-full of low-quality ingredients, plus a bunch of binders and fillers.

But it’s created to have a high amount of protein and maybe even some fiber… so it’s craftily marketed and sold as a health food.

Anything that is overly processed or found in a box or plastic wrap is highly suspect.

Of course, there are always exceptions, right?

You might buy meat from your butcher that’s been placed in some plastic or paper wrap.

You might buy some rice that’s been packed in a cardboard box or plastic.

But these foods aren’t highly processed like canned meat, or the microwaveable cheese and rice TV Dinner.

You get the point. Whole foods should make up the majority of your diet for two reasons:

  • They are much better for you and full of vitamins and minerals
  • They keep you fuller much longer than overly processed food.

But this isn’t to say you can’t have some cake or soda or hot wings on your diet…

Indulge In Your Favorite Foods On Occasion

If you’re on the internet looking for advice on how to stick to a diet, chances are you know you have to make some serious changes.

Above, I mentioned the importance of shifting your intake to a high intake of whole foods.

But that doesn’t mean you should become a health food Nazi and completely eliminate your favorite foods that you love.

It simply means that you should probably limit them to some extent.

For instance, pizza is amazing, right?

But it’s not ideal to eat it every day because it’s packed with calories and easy to overeat. 

And the more you overeat, the harder it will be to lose weight.

But what if you had pizza once a week or a few times per month?

Could you satisfy your cravings that way?

If you aren’t nodding yes right now, the question above again…

Yes, you’ll be able to maintain your diet while eating some food you enjoy on a consistent basis.

Next up, we need to think a little bit about your health standards.

Have High Standards For Yourself

Eating healthy, whole foods on a regular basis can be seen as a form of self respect.

Do you care about your mind and your body? Then take care of it with food that gives you lots of vitamins and minerals and makes you feel good.

This doesn’t mean you have to eat a bland diet of broccoli, kale, and dry chicken breast all the time. 

It’s quite far from that because a diet with only those foods would keep you from getting the nutrients you need to be healthy and active long term. 

Now let’s think about this for a second…

If you value your health and maintaining a fit body, you should have high standards for what you put into your body.

This doesn’t mean you become the annoying person at work that tells everyone their diet sucks.

It doesn’t mean you’re the obnoxious cousin in your family that brings a Tupperware full of chicken and rice to Christmas dinner.

But it does mean you make smart nutritional choices most of the time and remove the old habits of relying on food that doesn’t make you healthier or more fit.

Do you care about your body and how it feels and functions? 

If so, the high standards for what you eat regularly is non negotiable. 

Beware Of Diet Saboteurs

One thing I want you to know is this… changing your nutritional habits won’t be the only hurdle you deal with. 

When people decide to improve their diet and eat better for health and weight loss, they often get pushback from others.

And sometimes, this resistance is from people they’re very close to. 

It could even be someone you love very much.

A diet saboteur is someone who consciously or unconsciously aims to stifle your efforts to eat better and get healthy.

We are a sum of our habits. Most people don’t like change, especially when it’s abrupt.

For example, if your coworkers bring sweets into the office every week, they will likely be stunned when you refuse to eat the donut you’ve been eating every week for months or years.

And they just might give you some grief over it. 

It can come in many forms, such as…

“No donut for you today? Are you sick? It’s your favorite!”


“Are you going on a diet? You know… Randy tried a diet last week and he failed miserably! You’ll be having that donut with us next week.”

This also happens in the home.

If you live with someone who is used to eating out, or snacking on junk food with you during the day, they’ll notice immediately when you try to stop.

And they might even get upset when you say you’d rather cook something at home instead of going out for another greasy meal at the restaurant down the road.

This is NORMAL to experience.

But beware of how these habits are affecting you.

No one’s opinion of yourself matters more than your own. 

If you’re not happy with where you’re at, then it’s up to you to change.

There are many ways to deal with diet saboteurs… here are a few ways:

  • Communicate openly to them your goals and why you’re trying to change your eating habits. Be upfront and honest about it. They might even want to change their diet with you.
  • Politely refuse their offerings when presented with junk food. Tell them you’re not hungry, or you’re trying to cut back.
  • Confront them about their behavior toward you. Are they giving you a hard time for not accepting the shitty donut they bought from the corner store? Tell them you’re not going to stand for their teasing.
  • Avoid them. This is a last resort kind of option, and almost impossible for many. But if you’ve exhausted all options above, try to avoid them at all costs.

Imagine Yourself In A Year And Then Look At Your Diet

Now that you know what to look out for… I want you to play a mind game for a second.

Imagine yourself a year from now having not changed anything about your diet.

Logically, you know if you don’t make changes to your diet today, you probably won’t look or feel any different a year from now.

If your current eating habits don’t line up with a fitter, healthier body this time next year, it’s time for a change.

Most people don’t think about this stuff.

They think “I know I need to eat better, but I’m overwhelmed right now, so I’ll figure it out eventually.”

And that eventually never happens.

6 months goes by, they’re still eating the same way and haven’t lost a pound.

Do you envision yourself being in your best shape 12 months from now? 

If so, that future self is eating differently than your current self.

Cut Yourself Some Slack Because Dieting Can Be Tough

Dieting doesn’t have to be difficult from a ‘getting things done’ point of view.

But it can be hard on you emotionally.

The process can be trying. 

And it’s especially hard for those of us who are what you might call Type-A where everything has to be perfect.

It’s also tough because you have to develop new skills.

And when you’re developing those new skills, you’re bound to run into some snags along the way.

So remember these three things:

  • You don’t need a perfect diet. You only need to be consistent.
  • Be quick to forgive yourself but quick to get back on track.
  • Remember this is a long term play, not a quick-fix.

A perfect diet doesn’t exist. 

There are thousands of foods you can eat that are healthy for you. 

There is no perfect diet or set of macronutrients.

The only thing that matters when trying to stick to a diet is consistency. 

You don’t have to eat perfectly every day. 

There will be days when you miss the mark, and that leads to the next idea…

Be quick to forgive yourself when you get off track

It’s bound to happen. 

And everyone who’s trying to stick to a diet will eventually fall off the rails. 

How do you get back on track?

You must be quick to forgive yourself for messing up and quick to get back to your plan. 

If you go out for wings and beer tonight, tomorrow you just gotta get back to your regular healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You miss a workout because you worked late? 

You make certain you don’t miss your workout the next day.

It’s as simple as that… One mantra to keep in mind, which will help you stay on track is ‘don’t miss twice.’

This means you are allowed to miss a workout or eat off plan, but don’t let yourself make the same mistake the next day. 

Force yourself to get back on track… your future self will love you for it.

Instead Of Using Willpower, Try To Automate Your Diet

In 2015, I wrote a book called Stay Leaner, Longer. It’s all about how to build habits that will serve you for life. 

This is often overlooked because most people don’t want to think about their boring daily habits. 

They want to think of the big thing they can do to get fit in 30 days, or which food to completely eliminate that will automatically make their fat fly off their bones.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t take real people into account.

Sure, a celebrity can start training twice per day to get ready for a blockbuster role, but in this case, it’s their job to eat better and work out all the time.

They have a chef making their food. 

And they have a dietary counselor giving them full meal plans and rules to follow.

If you’re reading this and you’re not a famous actor landing shirtless, blockbuster roles, listen up.

You need to learn how to harness your habits and make them work for you.

You don’t need a drastic amount of willpower. 

You just need a few habits that you can stick to and build up over time.

I’ve been talking about fitness habits before it was sexy to do so…

Check out these guides:

One of the easiest ways to automate your diet is to follow an approach called Uniform Eating. 

With uniform eating, you’re eating a similar sets of meals on a daily basis… 

Yes, you focus on the same foods, the same meal times, and you let it become an automatic habit.

You might already be in the habit of eating similar foods daily, but they might not be in line with your health and weight loss goals.

For instance, do you regularly snack at work?

Do you notice yourself eating out at the same few restaurants each week?

If so, you’re already in the habit of eating similarly, but it’ll need to change.

I cover a lot of my approach in my video detailing my Boring But Effective Diet strategy: 

JC’s Expert Advice:

Automating your diet can free up a ton of psychological and physical willpower to use elsewhere in your life.

Don’t Rely On Motivation, Build Momentum Instead

Look. If you’re reading this, you probably feel motivated to change your diet. 

After all, you’re reading an article about how to stick to a diet and you’ve gotten to the last section about me going on and on about motivation.

In my book, Stay Leaner, Longer, I cover the topic of motivation and why you shouldn’t want to feel motivated at all times to get things done.

In fact, the people who are most accomplished act in spite of not feeling motivated. 

To take it a step further, some people don’t actively enjoy what they do on a regular basis, but they’re so in a habit of doing it, they no longer need to seek motivation.

This can be a double-edged sword, for sure. 

You obviously don’t want to be stuck doing something you hate as a means to an end because you’ll eventually give up.

But when it comes to exercise, and especially diet-related matters, the payoff in the end is almost always worth the effort.

Even when that effort is not always completely enjoyable. 

I’ve written an entire guide on fitness motivation and why you might not want to seek short bursts of motivation all the time. 

Instead, you should be building up momentum through daily actions and habits.

Get Support And Accountability

Lastly… this is probably the most important part of this whole thing…

When you’re trying to stick to a diet, it’s easy to get discouraged. 

You might find yourself wanting to give up because it feels like you’ll never get into shape.

Or maybe you feel like there’s so much to learn and you’re doomed to be overweight forever.

If that’s you, I totally get it.

In fact, everyone goes through this seemingly impossible phase during the beginning of the learning curve.

But you know what?

Just like the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.

In my private community, The Results Crew, we provide guidance, support, accountability, and feedback to everyone who participates.

The community feel is amazing because we have daily check-ins and progress reports where people can chime in and tell us how things are going.

Regardless of how they’re doing, they check-in to let us know what’s up.

Some days people check-in with:

“Got in 10k steps, did my upper body workout, nailed my macro and calorie totals, and heading to bed to ensure 9 hours of sleep — great day!”

And then some days we get check-ins that aren’t as ideal:

“Woke up late and missed my scheduled morning workout… but I did manage to stick to my nutrition goals all day. Getting to bed earlier tonight so I can make sure I don’t miss tomorrow’s workout.”

But checking in, regardless of whether the day was perfect or a complete dumpster fire, is what keeps people accountable to keep going.

You don’t have to take my word for it… even though we have lots of examples in The Results Crew… let’s look at what the science says.

A Support System Is Essential

Study #1: A review of efficacious technology-based weight-loss interventions: five key components.

In this paper, they analyzed other studies to see what seemed to be the most effective way of helping people lose weight through the use of technology.

From the results portion of the paper:

Among the 21 studies reviewed, we identified the following five components that we consider to be crucial in technology-based weight-loss interventions that are successful in facilitating weight loss: self monitoring, counselor feedback and communication, social support, use of a structured program, and use of an individually tailored program.

The bold emphasis is mine.

What I find interesting here are the 5 components of success are:

  • Self-monitoring (tracking your own progress)
  • Counselor feedback + communication (getting insight and review from an expert)
  • Social support (having others on a similar journey who are there to support you)
  • Structured program (making sure your diet and training is planned out, not left to chance)
  • Individually tailored program (customized and suitable for the individuals needs)

By the way, this is exactly what we do and encourage in The Results Crew

All of these components are a part of our program and we made sure we didn’t overlook any of them because they’re all equally important.

The following conclusion was met:

Short-term results of technologically driven weight-loss interventions using these components have been promising, but long-term results have been mixed. Although more longitudinal studies are needed for interventions implementing these five components, the interface of technology and behavior change is an effective foundation of a successful, short-term weight-loss program and may prove to be the basis of long-term weight loss.

The bold emphasis is mine.

I’m not sure of the exact methods of technology they were using to assess weight loss over time, but here’s what I know from my years of coaching people…

Tracking progress matters. 

Seeing your objective measurements in a spreadsheet, or in a note app on your phone over time will help you see where you’re at and what work needs to be done. 

For instance, if you’re not weighing yourself regularly, how will you know if you’re losing weight?

You won’t. 

So while you might be eating better and changing your diet, without records of your weight loss, or even records of what you eat on a regular basis, how will you ever know what you need to change?

In addition to tracking diet and training, all the other 5 components from above are equally important in making sure you stick to the plan. 

So be mindful of how consistent feedback can help you move forward.

Adherence Is Influenced By The Group

Study #2: Weight loss intervention adherence and factors promoting adherence: a meta-analysis.

In this study, they did a meta-analysis of studies published between January 2004 and August 2015 that reviewed weight loss intervention adherence.

The conclusion from this paper:

A substantial proportion of people do not adhere to weight loss interventions. Programs supervising attendance, offering social support, and focusing on dietary modification have better adherence than interventions not supervising attendance, not offering social support, and focusing exclusively on exercise.

The bold emphasis is mine.

What’s interesting here is this study shows that making sure people show up, supporting them within the group, and placing a big focus on encouraging dietary change is what matters most.

How often have you gone to the internet to find a free program to follow, or even bought a program, but never did anything with it?

Chances are you didn’t follow through because you didn’t have anyone to make sure you were doing the program, and you didn’t know anyone else to follow the program with you.

So you try it out for a few days and then quit or go back to the internet looking for another program to do.

This is why getting accountability and feedback can be so effective. 

You have the feedback from a professional guiding you. You are encouraged to show up every week and report your progress. 

Study #3: The impact of a health professional recommendation on weight loss attempts in overweight and obese British adults: a cross-sectional analysis.

The conclusion from this study:

HP (health professional) advice to lose weight appears to increase motivation to lose weight and weight loss behaviour, but only a minority of overweight or obese adults receive such advice. Better training for HPs in delivering brief weight counseling could offer an opportunity to improve obese patients’ motivation to lose weight.

The bold is mine.

In short, this shows that lots of people trying to lose weight and stick to a diet aren’t getting the advice they need that could truly help them. Most are going it alone. It’s no surprise… lots of people regain their weight and go back to their old habits in time.

But those who succeed mostly have some or all of the following in place:

  • Self-monitoring
  • Counselor feedback + communication 
  • Social support 
  • Structured program 
  • Individually tailored program

Want Help Sticking To Your Diet?

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JC Deen is a nationally published fitness coach and writer from Nashville, TN. Currently living in the blistering Northeast. Follow me on X/Twitter