For people trying to lose weight, one thing that discourages them is that they feel as if it is all or nothing. They give forth a good effort and then give up because they cheat on their diet once or they simply don’t want to deprive themselves of their favorite foods forever.
The actuality is that most people don’t have to be 100% strict for long periods of time in order to hit their goals. Assuming you are not competing in a bodybuilding contest, 80-90% compliance will allow you to lose fat and get in better shape. That doesn’t mean do whatever you want, it means just as I said, 80-90% compliance on your diet and exercise program and you will lose weight. Will you lose as much as you could at 100% compliance, NO. But, 100% compliance is not realistic for the vast majority of people.
The thought of giving up your favorite foods and of having to track everything you eat can be a daunting task. Perhaps a more realistic approach is that you will be 90% compliant on your diet. Lets define 90% compliant. Lets say that you eat 5 times in a day. Three meals and two small snacks. That is 35 times per week that you are eating. That would mean that 31-32 meals per week you ate the proper amount just as you are supposed to. 3-4 meals in a week you didn’t. This is totally realistic for anybody to follow and you will be able to get results doing it.
What is 90% compliance in the gym? I would define that as missing maybe 1 workout in a month. You don’t workout nearly as much as you eat, so you can’t afford to miss as much.
Am I advocating slacking off? No, not at all, but the truth is, most people don’t have the discipline or desire necessary to be 100% compliant. It is hard. Much harder than you would imagine. While I recommend shooting for a perfect diet and a perfect record at the gym, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit that, and realize you can still make progress.