When most people hear the word diet, they think of deprivation. They envision a diet plan they must follow to help them to either lose weight or control a health issue. But let’s face it — when something isn’t easy to follow, we don’t stick with it. And most of us really don’t like restrictions.
When it comes to diets, most people go on and off them continuously, losing and gaining weight in the typical yo-yo fashion. Unfortunately, this up-and-down weight loss/gain can lead to an unhealthful heavier body. Repetitive diet cycles can also lead to emotional stress as well. After all, every time someone loses and gains weight, it can reduce confidence and can lead to negative self-feelings. If you want better results, keep in mind that it’s easier to stay with something long term if it fits into your lifestyle.
So how does someone get started? First let’s take a hard look at the word DIET and break away from the mindset that a diet is a restriction. Rework how you think about it: instead of looking at a diet as something to deprive you, instead look at it as finding a healthy eating plan. The key is to isolate your personal needs and find something that works for you.
Make sure you review these steps before you lock yourself into any diet.
Step 1: Which Diet Plan is the Best Fit for You?
Here are some things to consider:
- Try to avoid plans that promise overnight results. If things worked that fast, everyone would know about it already.
- Don’t select diets that exclude too many foods; they will be hard to live with.
- If you restrict yourself too much, you may be missing needed nutrients. Instead, select a plan that provides a balance of many healthful foods.
- Is the diet you’re looking at from a reputable source? If it isn’t, then move on to a different plan. It is important that you make sure a diet plan is established with proven results. Don’t put too much stock into something that makes big promises with no track record.
When selecting a diet plan, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this plan fit my lifestyle? For example, if you don’t cook, a plan that requires a lot of food preparation isn’t for you.
- If you run around a lot, does the plan provide options you can put together and pick up when you are out?
- Does the plan include foods you like?
- Does the plan provide foods that will work easily for your whole family?
- Is the plan something that you can financially afford?
- Does this plan take into account any existing health problems you have? Make sure you consult with your doctor.
Step 2: Are You Ready to Change?
We all have things that we want to do, but are you ready to do them now? Be honest with yourself. You may say you want to start a new healthy diet plan, but are you ready — really and truly ready — to start it? If you can’t make too much of a commitment just yet, start with some small, simple changes first. Those might include drinking more water, including more healthful snacks or planning things out a day ahead to have healthier choices available. Try to include more veggies and fruits every day and to move your body more. Remember: pick things that work for you.
Step 3: What Are Your Roadblocks and Solutions?
It’s helpful to identify any roadblocks ahead of time and figure out how you’ll deal with them. Consider these:
- Have a support team in place. Getting started is the hardest part, so it’s always better if you have support. A registered dietitian can help customize something that works for you. Make sure your diet plan has steps to help you to overcome resistance. Do you have supportive, helpful people in your life or saboteurs? You need to spend more time with those who will support you and limit time with those others.
- Evaluate your environment. Are there indulgent things in the house that are difficult for you to avoid? You may need to change what items you keep around or at least move them out of sight to reduce the temptations around you. Make a list of things that have been problems for you in the past. When you identify previous difficulties, you can try to avoid them going forward.
- If you fall backwards, just start again. Everyone has setbacks — the most important thing is to get back on plan. Make it easier to live on your new plan by allowing yourself treats every once in a while. This makes it possible to enjoy life and yet remain successful with your changes.
Remember to find the right diet plan that fits you. There are hundreds of diets out there, and each one promises results. A personal plan that works and leads to good health is always the right choice.