It’s your New Year’s Resolution… the holidays are over, you are getting married soon… you just had a baby… heck, it’s just Sunday… sound familiar? These are all events that trigger many of us to say “I need to start dieting to lose weight!” I’m here to tell you that the best way to start a diet is by NOT STARTING A DIET.
“WHAT?! How’s that 10 to 20 pounds gonna come off of me, sister!?” – I hear you yelling. EXACTLY! When we choose to start a diet-we do just THAT-we DIET. We diet without giving any true thought to what we are doing and whether it will work or not. We try the latest fads such as the lemonade diet, the grapefruit diet, the cottage cheese diet, all in a fruitless attempt to lose weight fast. “But I bought the book?!” “I signed up for the meetings – I’m SO READY!”
NOT SO FAST. Starting a diet is not an easy thing for anyone. MOST DIETS FAIL. That’s why there is a “cha-ching” fitness industry out there competing for your hard-earned dollars to help you lose those pounds.At any given time, there are millions of people on a diet. Dieting is such a norm for Americans that we are conditioned by marketing to think its so easy, but then we try and fail over and over again. I’m not saying “Don’t diet”. I’d like to give you some tips to think about and do before you begin your diet. By following this advice, you will be arming yourself with a MUCH greater chance of success in the battle of the bulge.
1. Do you know what it means to diet?
Prepare yourself mentally for starting your diet. Realize you must reduce calorie intake to lose weight. Are you at time in your life where stress levels are low or high? You’ll need to be “at your mental best” to meet the challenges that arise everyday in your life without reaching for food to “deal”. You must be ready to WANT to exercise and eat right. Don’t beat yourself if you aren’t ready YET. Use the time to contemplate HOW you got to this point of needing to lose weight, and WHAT it will take to reduce some stresses that might interfere with your weight loss goals so you can succeed at losing weight.
2. What diet is right for YOU?
All diets are not “one size fits all”. In some cases, a strict diet that cuts out certain food groups may not be a healthy one. You won’t succeed on a plan that goes against WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON. If you love to eat fruit, a diet that lacks in this food group will make you more apt to cheat. It’s hard to stay on any diet if you can’t live with its guidelines daily – especially if they are strict ones. No matter what diet program you decide to follow, make sure it’s one you can comfortably live with for the next 3-6 months.
2. What do you LIKE to eat?
NO-not your weaknesses that have brought you to where you are in the first place, but what do you like? If you can’t live without bread, a diet like the Atkins Diet may not be for you. A diet should help you lose weight, but if you are depriving yourself from the beginning, you are sure to fail.
3. Is your 24 hour day a 25 hour day?
Think about all of the things you have to do for most days of the week. Do you have an “on-the-run” schedule? Can you honestly sign up for a one hour weekly meeting and GO to the one hour weekly meeting? REALLY? It may SOUND great and look like a plan when you’ve written in all in your daily planner… but do all those arrows and re-arranging mean you’ll really even bother to go? Just be honest with yourself here. Maybe you are an independent person with lots to do, or one with a family and lots to take care of. An E-Book or convenient downloaded program might work better for you.
4. Who are you surrounded by?
The people in your life can make a big difference in whether or not you will have a greater chance to succeed. If you go out with the girls once a week for drinks, does your diet allow it (see point one) and will your friends understand if you a) only have one, or b.), you opt-out of going sometimes so you can go the gym or avoid the extra calories? If you are the head of household, do you still have to buy all the potato chips and snacks for the rest of your family? Having discussions with those around you about your goals and getting a sense of what level of support they will be giving you can help you make decisions in your journey. Surprises and/or arguments down the road will only lead YOU to the potato chip bag. How much focus is this diet going to require?
Mentally, going on a diet seems great at first, but constantly thinking about food or following a plan that doesn’t allow you to eat many of the foods you like will require more thinking on your part. Services like Jenny Craig succeed in part because they take a lot of the thinking away by providing ready made meals. This may be better for you if you don’t have a lot of time to plan out meals. I would advise to only use such plans for a “jump-start” if you must. In the long run, you want to be eating well-rounded meals that you can purchase as you would normally if you were not dieting, otherwise, the pounds may creep back on. I’d suggest following a diet that is well-rounded, contains most foods, and also offers an online version so you can get support and “in-an-instant” info and tips. The South Beach Diet provides a full line of books plus an online program so dieters get every advantage when fighting the “battle of the bulge”.
5. Are you ready to “shake your groove thing”?
If you truly want to succeed in losing weight, you must know that any successful plan incorporates activity and exercise. Are you ready to move? Think about what exercises you can and cannot do. What exercises are you WILLING to do, and how often? Do you have physical restrictions… which leads me to question number 6…
6. Last… but not least… Have you consulted a doctor?
Do you NEED to lose weight for health reasons? Are you medically overweight or just want to look a little better? No matter which is your answer, having consulted a doctor in the last 3 months or before you start your diet is very important. Your doctor can help you decide what type of food diet might be geared towards creating a healthier you. He or she can help you to determine the healthy weight for your height as well as the weight range for your health. Your doctor should be your biggest supporter-or your biggest naysayer if you don’t need to lose or are being too unrealistic in your plans. You’ll also get a chance to know your true start weight!
Just taking the time to read over the above questions and answer them honestly will be a HUGE help in turning your weight loss goals into an achievable reality. You’ll be more prepared to meet life’s daily challenges while pursuing a healthier YOU!