Do you want to know the perfect diet?
Unfortunately, there is no universal perfect diet.
What there is however, is a perfect diet for you, and creating this is what will make achieving your health and fitness goals so much easier.
Whilst it’s easy to assign yourself the perfect protein goal and meal frequency with a list of foods you should and shouldn’t be eating, if you can’t adhere to the plan, it’s far from perfect.
Creating the perfect diet is less about macronutrients and calories and more about whether the plan meets your psychological, physiological and social needs.
Of course, success on any plan requires discipline and consistency, but making a diet as easy as possible to follow tends to boil down to these five things:
- It must fit your lifestyle
- It must taste good
- It must keep you satiated
- You have to know your goal
- You need to be held accountable to the goal
1. It Must Fit Your Lifestyle
This may just be the single most important factor in creating the ultimate diet for you.
One of the first things we’ll always ask new clients about in the initial consultation is in regards to their lifestyle.
- Are they a marketing director who needs to entertain clients 3-4 nights a week?
- Are they an investment banker who may need to work till 2am in the morning?
- Are they a working mother of three with very little time to prepare and eat food in the day?
- Are they on a career break with plenty of time to do anything we ask of them?
These are the sort of questions we need to ask that will essentially determine the type of diet that will best suit the client.
Everyone’s lifestyle is different. The aim of creating a perfect diet for yourself is to make the diet fit around your life.
Trying to do the reverse will only lead to frustration, boredom, and the dreaded rebound.
Sustainable, quality long-term results are about finding the diet which best fits your lifestyle.
Let’s go through a few examples.
Our marketing director. Client entertaining is part of the job, so telling him to skip this and eat at home is not going to happen. Instead, something as simple as eating lighter during the day, and allocating a greater calorie intake to the evening would work well.
Our investment banker. If we know she’ll be working till 2am every night, asking her to cook her food every evening will be a huge task. A better option will be to encourage the client to batch cook on a Sunday, and failing this, educating her on the right choices to make if picking food up on the go near work.
Our mother of three. Someone who’s very strapped for time during the day probably won’t want to eat 4 to 6 times a day. For this client, sticking to 3 very simple, easy to make meals will be most sustainable method going forward.
These are just a few examples, but the take-home message is before starting any diet, you have to take a look at your lifestyle first.
2. It Must Taste Good
There’s a reason why healthy recipe cookbooks and blogs like UP In The Kitchen are so popular.
Let’s face it, pizza and pasta will always taste better than a chicken salad.
But what if we could make our chicken taste just as good? Eating well would become a lot easier!
Learning how to cook is a hugely underrated fat loss tip. You can only eat dry chicken breast and lettuce so many times before you crack, so if you haven’t already, check our recipes out and your next chicken breast could be a little less boring.
The greatest added benefit to being able to cook well is it won’t only be you who reaps the rewards. Everyone you live with, family and friends will all be more inclined to eat well if it tastes good.
3. It Must Keep You Satisfied
There comes a point in any body transformation where you will experience hunger and cravings.
However, if you’re ravenous from the beginning, all the time, you may not last long.
In the long run, the diet which will maintain your ideal physique is the one that will keep you satiated throughout the day.
To do this, a few things come into play. A focus on nutrient dense foods (especially veggies), protein intake and an optimal meal frequency are required.
The former two should come as no surprise and is a crucial part of any sensible diet. The latter though has more individual variation.
Generally speaking, a meal frequency of between three and six meals works best. Where you fall on that spectrum depends on your lifestyle and how many meals are required to keep you full. For some, they may need to eat every 2-3 hours to feel their best, whilst others prefer to stretch it to 4-5 hours.
4. You Have To Know Your Goal
The perfect diet for you will be driven by the goal you have created for yourself.
This applies to both in the short and long term.
In the short term, diet goals will generally revolve around improving body composition. As documented in our popular article, 5 reasons you’re not losing fat, not having a proper goal is one of the reasons why people fail to lose body fat.
In the long run, our client’s goals tend to shift to getting stronger and building muscle, whilst optimising productivity in both their personal and professional lives.
The perfect diet set-up should be the same for both short and long-term goals. We want those short-term body composition targets to last forever, so it’s essential we find the optimal diet early on.
How do you set your goal?
A great method to set a goal is to follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time) principle. Just saying you want to ‘lose some body fat’ is a recipe for a wayward diet and zero progress.
For our marketing director earlier, a good goal would be:
‘I want to lose 15 pounds (specific) of body fat in 15 weeks (measureable, achievable, time) so I can look great on holiday! (relevant)’
Whilst we may be able to get more body fat off in the period of 15 weeks, one of the important parts of the SMART principle is ‘achievable’.
When we look at our marketing director’s lifestyle, aiming for more may be tough and create unnecessary pressure on him.
The lifestyle will drive the goal, and the goal will drive the diet.
They’re interlinked, which is why arguing about protein, fats and carbohydrates, and whether diet X is better than diet Y is futile.
The absolute first question we ask anyone is ‘what would you to achieve when working with us?’
A perfect diet can never be the same for two people, as no one lives the same lifestyle with the same goal.
5. You Need To Be Held Accountable To The Goal
Once you’ve determined your lifestyle, set your goal and created the perfect diet for yourself, you now need to be held accountable to it.
The reason our clients do so well at Ultimate Performance is our obsession with doing anything and everything it takes to help deliver the client’s goal.
Accountability is rarely spoken about, but without it, the perfect diet won’t always be sustainable.
Hiring a trainer is one way, but the easiest and often the best method is to tell all your family and friends what you’re trying to achieve.
Creating the perfect diet for you goes a lot deeper than calculating the optimal macronutrients and calories.
The number one driving factor is lifestyle. Once you know what you can fit into your life, you set your goal, create accountability and then work on making the calories you are eating as tasteful and satiating as possible.
That’s how to create the perfect diet.