How to Get Your Diet off to a Good Start
Beginning a diet to lose weight and improve health is a worthy goal, but it can be a bit overwhelming. There are bound to be challenges whenever you start something new, especially when it involves something you do several times each day like eating and drinking.
Still, as long as you don't try to change everything at once, you can meet your weight loss goals. Read on to learn some secrets of the masters those who have lost weight and, more importantly, kept it off. After all, what good is losing the extra weight if you gain it right back?
1. Follow a Healthy Eating Plan
A healthy eating plan should include foods you enjoy along with plenty of healthy, not-too-processed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, seafood, beans, and nuts. Thanks to their ability to satisfy, these low-calorie foods will actually help you stick to your diet. The most satisfying foods have lots of fibre (like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts) and/or low-fat protein (found in meat, fish, dairy, and soy).
Ideally, you'll slowly wean yourself off favourite foods that are heavily processed and high in fat or calories, and replace them with more nutritious options. At any time during this process, feel free to call us to come up with a new eating plan for you that increases some healthful foods and decreases others. It's best for The Diet Arena members to consult us and create a new plan at the end of the week.
Don't worry if you have allergies or intolerances. Your personalised eating plan may not include all of the recommended food groups, but it will provide adequate nutrients.
2. Take Baby Steps
Change is hard. Making small, gradual changes in your eating patterns is the best way to overhaul your diet. Some experts suggest making just one change each week, to give you time to get used to the new behaviour. Your ultimate goal is to establish new eating habits that can be sustained for a lifetime.
An excellent way to start is to stock your cupboards and refrigerator with healthy foods, and plan to prepare healthier meals at home.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Most people who need to lose weight set lofty goals, dreaming of fitting into clothing sizes that may not be realistic for them. Yet losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve the way you feel, put a zip in your step, and, most importantly, improve your health. Studies show that losing even small amounts of weight can improve overall health and, specifically, lower blood pressure, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Set weight loss goals that are attainable, and keep in mind that the recommended rate of weight loss is only 1-2 pounds per week. Slow and steady wins this race. It takes time to learn new eating habits that will last for the rest of your life.
4. Reward, Don't Punish
To keep motivation high, reward yourself after reaching mini goals. After all, losing 3 kgs or making it to the gym five times in a week deserves a pat on the back. On the other hand, don't be too hard on yourself when you fall off the wagon, everyone does, sooner or later. Anticipate that slip-ups will happen, and when they do, just brush yourself off and get right back on track. Use your slip-up to learn where you are vulnerable, and decide how you will handle the situation the next time without abandoning your diet. Our suggestion is try to do your best 80% of the time, and relax the rules somewhat the other 20% of the time.
5. Get a Buddy
Support is an essential part of a successful weight loss program. Enlist a family member, find a friend to join you in your walks or workouts. These people will become a source of inspiration, support, and encouragement on a regular basis and especially when the going gets tough.
6. Track Your Meals
Successful losers know how important it is to document what and how much they eat. The simple act of writing it down is a powerful tool that can help keep you in control.
7. Add Exercise
Eating healthfully and cutting calories is only half the formula for successful weight loss. Getting regular physical activity is the other portion. Exercise is a powerful tool, helping you burn calories and increase strength, balance, and coordination while reducing stress and improving your overall health.
My advice is to fit in fitness first thing in the morning, to make sure it doesn't get squeezed out of your busy day.
You should be proud that you have made the decision to improve your health. Know that the road ahead will have some bumps, but equipped with a good eating plan, support system, and a positive attitude, you will be successful.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy.