Understand the challenge

The first thing we need to do is find out where things are going wrong.

Let’s consider the recommendation to decrease portion sizes by 15% as a way of decreasing energy intake.

This works really well for someone who has a consistent nutrition intake with energy intake being a touch high at most meals.

If they cut the portion sizes down, they energy intake will decrease by 15%.

However, this is poor advice for someone who eats well-portioned meals most of the time, but 2-3 meals each week where they overconsume.

If they cut meals by 15%, their previously good meals are now undersized.

This challenges adherence by getting hungrier early than usual, which can bring meals forward and lead to decreased evening snacking.

Paradoxically, this might also increase the consumption at their cheat meals.

Instead, the emphasis should be on maintaining the good meals and looking at ways to eliminate the 2-3 excessive intakes each week.

The best way to work out where you are going off track is to log nutrition intake for seven days to develop a personalised picture of your current regime.

This eliminates the guesswork and clarifies what needs to be worked on.

If during your tracking you have a really good week and there is nothing that needs to be altered, then simply repeat that week - you have designed your own strategy.

If you don’t, you will be able to identify several key areas to focus on in the short-middle term that will impact your energy balance and body composition.

Tom Fitzgerald