From time to time, you may need to change your nutrition plan.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up or build muscle, starting any new diet can be hard, so don’t be afraid to switch things up along the way to move towards your goal faster. Let’s take a look at when and how you should make changes in your nutrition programme for the better…
The diet may be too strict.
Struggling to lose weight? Your plan may be too strict. If you’re finding it difficult to stick to the diet and it feels completely unsustainable, it’s time to make some changes. Following the plan is critical to your progress, so pinpoint the foods you can’t stick to and swap them out for something more realistic.
- Revisit your nutrition template and run through meal by meal, from breakfast to bedtime snacks, to identify what foods you may be struggling with.
- For example, if you’ve planned smoked salmon for breakfast and can’t stick to it, swap it for another source of protein that’s more realistic.
- Pinpoint specific meals and timings on your plan that feel unattainable. For example, you may skip breakfast completely due to lack of time, so make changes to include options that are faster and easier to prep to fit in with your lifestyle.
- You may be losing too much weight, so adjust your plan and increase your calories to give yourself more room to drop down in future.
- Changing your style of plan is also a good option if you’re seeing little to no results. For example, you may be following the 7 day carb cycle but need to switch to carb backloading to see progress.
- Always remember, it’s worth giving certain foods a go a few times before you make the decision to go in and change your plan.
The plan may be too easy.
Are you cruising through your nutrition programme weekly without any problems? The plan may be too easy for you. If you can stick to the diet exactly as it’s written, review your template and improve your options to get the best results.
- Make the plan stricter to suit your goal. For example, if you’re following the 7 day carb cycle with ease, switch to a lower carb plan or switch out high carb days and replace them for low carb days.
- Eliminate cheat meals. You may find you don’t need to indulge on a Friday or Saturday, so remove this from your programme and eat a planned meal as you would throughout the week.
- Improve the quality of food you’re consuming. For example, swap packs of pre-cooked chicken at lunch for an organic chicken breast you’ve cooked at home.
You’ve hit a plateau.
Following your plan perfectly but no longer seeing progress? You may have hit a plateau. Try changing your diet style and tailor it more strictly to suit your goal. Keep in mind that weight loss results are not linear, so expect to fluctuate through the weeks and not feel disheartened by the scales going up and down regularly. It’s also important to stick to your plan for a couple of weeks to ensure you’ve hit a plateau.
- Increase your activity. Stick to the same plan but add in an extra day of training or boost your NEAT by walking 12k steps instead of 10k steps each day to give you an additional calorie burn.
- Decrease your calories. Stick to the same plan but eat less of it to get through the plateau and start seeing results again.
- Change the style of your diet. For example, switch from the 7 day carb cycle to carb backloading.
You’re bored of the plan.
If you’ve been following the plan for a number of weeks (4 or more) and feel fed up with certain foods on repeat, it might be time to make a few changes. Getting bored after just 1 or 2 weeks? Stick with your diet a little bit longer to see progress before you start to switch foods out.
- Revisit your template and change foods that are repeated a number of times a week.
- Factor in new foods for a varied diet.
- If your plan has enough variety day to day, it’s likely you’ll stick to it longer and won’t get bored.
Remember, following a sustainable, consistent diet is much better than following a strict diet you can’t stick to. It’s ok to adjust your diet to suit your lifestyle throughout the year. For example, you may follow a stricter plan with a holiday or big event coming up, or switch to a longer term goal if you’re on a nutrition programme purely for your general health and wellbeing.