Consistency is often the difference between success and failure. Think about it. Saving money requires consistency. Running a marathon requires consistent training and in order to lose weight, you’ve got to be consistent in your food choices. If you struggle with inconsistency in your diet, I’ve got some ideas you can apply to be more consistent in moving toward and finally reaching your weight loss goals.
What is Consistency?
The “American Heritage Dictionary of English Language” defines consistency as:
Reliability or uniformity of successive results or events.
Consistency in weight loss is doing something in a similar way day-by-day that results in pounds and inches dropped over time.
I’ve known a lot of people who lose a little bit of weight and then begin gaining weight again. It’s not because they suddenly lost their ability to lose weight but because they stopped making the choices that initially gave them success.
Consistency in weight loss has five components:
1) Know what lifestyle choices bring results.
2) Accept that progress may be slow at times.
3) Be aware of situations where you make the wrong or less ideal choice.
4) Take steps to bring consistency back to your diet when you begin to falter.
5) Repeat choices that bring good results.
What Causes Inconsistency?
The answer to this question depends on the person. For me, I often became inconsistent in trying to lose weight when I became frustrated with how slowly the pounds came off. Other people lose their focus because of upheaval in their lives, holidays, criticism from other people, social events, or emotional eating.
It’s important to know when you start your diet that life will throw you some curveballs. While they are not always fun, learning to stay consistent with your diet will help you later when you are trying to maintain your loss. After all, life’s inconsistencies vary day to day and year to year.
How Consistent Do You Need to Be?
The people I know who have successfully lost their excess weight and kept it off are those who were more consistent than not. They weren’t perfect but they had an overall consistency that allowed them success.
From personal and anecdotal experience, I know being consistent with your healthy diet at least 80 percent of the time almost always allows you to lose weight. Of course, the more consistent you are and the less you cheat on your diet, the quicker your weight loss will be.
What Are Some Ways to Be More Consistent?
I get that it’s one thing to say, “Be more consistent,” and quite another to apply that principle. To that end, here are 10 ways to be more consistent in your diet.
1. Have a routine for food planning and preparation.
2. Shop for food at regular intervals such as once a week.
3. Track your calories and exercise at least five days a week.
4. Take a few minutes each day to assess how you are doing.
5. Acknowledge the life events that are playing a role in your dieting struggles.
6. Be okay with a few inconsistencies or mess-ups.
7. Be patient with yourself as you develop new routines. It takes time for new habits to stick.
8. If something isn’t working, change it.
9. If you slip back into old eating habits, get back on track as soon as possible.
10. Focus on changing a few behaviors at a time instead of changing everything in your life at once.