Varying levels of consistency
These studies look at a few strategies which produce differing levels of consistency, and the vast majority of people will use one these strategies for their own weight loss/maintenance goals.
Which is most successful?
In one study [#2] “…results indicated that participants who reported a consistent diet across the week were 1.5 times more likely to maintain their weight within 5 lb over the subsequent year than participants who dieted more strictly on weekdays.“
This also correlates to weight loss along with weight maintenance and is demonstrated in the image below, which shows one of the most common issues we see at HIT35.
For six days of the week, this person is eating 2000KCAL which is the weekly average intake required for them to lose fat (according to their height, weight, gender, activity levels etc.).
On Saturday when they are less strict about their diet, they actually consume 4000KCAL. Think take-aways, pub lunch, ice creams with the kids and a few glasses of wine.
This leads to the weekly average being 286KCAL OVER what the weekly average needs to be to lose fat. If this happens often, it doesn’t matter how consistent they were during the other six days, they still won’t lose fat.