Principles of Dieting II: Consistency

Previous entry: Principles of Dieting I: Basics.

In this series’ second entry we explore consistency as a dieting system by contrasting it with counting calories. I believe consistency to be a superior system. Even if you follow another system you will benefit from “adding consistency” to it.

To make it clear: Our plan is to lose fat by taking in fewer calories than your body burns over a longer period of time. For simplicity, let us assume that all calories are equal, be it from fat, carbohydrates or protein.

One of the most popular approaches is counting calories. If you know the caloric amount of each of your meals then, obviously, you will know your overall caloric intake. By referring to available data on energy consumption for exercises or heart rates and daily energy needs based on individual attributes (sex, height, weight, age, …) you can determine your daily calories for weight maintenance. If you know both your caloric intake and usage adjusting your diet will be easy. But who wants to go through all this effort repeatedly? Not us.

I advocate consistency instead. The majority of days I eat the same meals (especially when losing weight). By simply removing a meal or part of it I can easily adjust my daily energy intake to follow my projected progress. If my weight loss goes slower than planned I leave off slightly more in the future. Notice that I neither have to count nor know about calories. I just have to be consistent, measure progress and adjust. In one of the following articles I will share my meals with you! (Spoiler: I am fond of meal replacements like Soylent.)

Relax. You do not have to be as radical as I am. Our intention is not to kill variety but to control variety and to minimize counting effort. After a certain period of time you can, of course, replace your fixed meals with other fixed ones. Even fixing just one of your daily meals will already make your dieting life easier. Another idea is to have a fixed set of options for (most of) your meals. For each option you only need to determine its caloric amount once.

You have learned how consistency makes dieting easier. In the next entry you will learn how to make progress in a smart way.

Next entry: Principles of Dieting III: Making Progress.