The Best Way To Start A Diet Is By NOT Starting One At All!

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!

A Healthy Eating Plan or a Diet?

Too often we want to lose weight NOW. We’re in a hurry and want the weight off, we’re impatient or we realise that we have ran out of time before we need to ‘fit into that dress’.

What do we do? If you are like most people, you start looking around for a crash diet of some sort and then ‘suffer’ for a week or so until we realise that instead of losing body fat, we are starving our bodies of all the goodness it needs to function properly. We get headaches, irritable with our families and work colleagues and then feel good for one event as we ‘managed it’ (lose a few pounds that is). Only to realise that we starved ourselves so much that you now run and eat everything in sight and the vicious circle continues.

Does that sound familiar?

So what can we do to stop it? Actually it’s not as hard as you may at first think. There are differences between a Diet and a Healthy Eating Plan. If you learn the difference between a Diet and a Healthy Eating Plan and then eliminate the fad diets that are out there, then you won’t need to ‘crash diet’ ever again.

A Healthy Eating plan allows you to lose any excess weight you have whilst enjoying your day-to-day eating; far better than hating counting calories or worse still living on 2 or 3 shakes a day. Here we are going to look at what a diet is and what a healthy eating plan is. This should help you to understand the difference between the two and better still steer you away from having to crash diet ever again.


This is the word used not only when you’re slimming (weight loss diet, slimming diet) but doctors or nutritionists could ask you, ‘what is your diet like’? It does not always mean that you’re on a weight-loss program. However, the weight-loss industry have hijacked the word Diet and it is now used in a multi-billion dollar industry aimed at our personal thoughts and anxieties about our weight.

These diets that are sold to us with emotive words and pictures from the ‘diet industry’ are based on restricting our food & drink intakes to lose weight. They can be anything, depending on what the latest fad is, from drinking shakes, eating only soup or restricting our carbohydrates; all are fixated on what we eat rather than what we do with our bodies as well. Therefore a ‘diet’ is not a long term solution for good health. When we return to our old eating habits after a period of restriction we usually gain all the weight (and most times more weight) that we have lost, back again to that vicious circle or dieting.

A Healthy Eating Plan

A healthy eating plan is an all-inclusive program improving your health by refining the quality of the foods you eat. The emphasis in on the improvement of your foods rather than the restraint or exclusion of foods. It educates you on the impact that foods have on your body allowing you to make choices through knowledge for your daily meals. If any foods are restricted or indeed removed from a healthy eating plan then that’s because they have no nutritional value (or are adverse) and therefore your body does not need them. The aim is to eat well with a nutritional program.

Crash/Fad Diet vs a Healthy Eating Plan. How do you tell the difference?

Actually there are a few ways that will help you differentiate between the two. It is always worth doing your homework before you start any change in your eating regime.


You may want quick results, but surely you want long term results? Does the program you’re looking at aim for losing your excess weight slowly over a period of time? A healthy eating plan will aim for long term results; this is much healthier, sustainable and manageable.

If you lose weight too quickly, studies have shown that it not only does your health damage, it also does our self-esteem damage as we feel like failures. And more than 90% of fad dieters put the weight (and more) back on.

Complete attitude to weight loss

A healthy eating program uses a rounded approach to weight loss. This ensures that you implement healthy lifestyle changes for success. This means that your eating program should include things like exercise or meditation to help with your weight- loss, whereas a crash diet usually focuses uniquely on what you eat and drink.

Focus on the journey rather that the arrival

If you’re on a healthy eating plan you should enjoy the journey. Enjoy feeling great and having more energy than your body is used to. A by-product should be the weight loss. Whilst you’re being educated about your food and healthy food choices and actually enjoying what you’re eating, then the arrival at your goal weight will not seem as important anymore.

A diet is usually restrictive and dictates what and when to eat and therefore you can’t wait for it to be over!

Nutritional balance

If you’re on a healthy eating program you will notice that you are encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables. You will always be encouraged to eat a balanced diet.

A crash or fad diet however may restrict you to eating one type of food (such as Cabbage Soup or shakes) or it may even be a diet that eliminates one or more types of food from your life.

No Quick Fixes!

To have all the health benefits of long term weight-loss, a healthy eating program recognizes that (sorry to say) there are no quick fixes for obesity and obesity-related illnesses. Therefore with that in mind, there are no gimmicks to these plans. Obviously you want to do the work for the long-term. A fad or crash diet relies deeply on gimmicks to persuade you that you can shed all the pounds you want fast.

I encourage you to look carefully before you part with yet more money on a fad diet.

For guidance on Healthy Eating versus Traditional Dieting, I strongly recommend you read the excellent review on the Am I Obese website; you can click to it in my Bio section below.