According to research conducted at the Boston Medical Center, about 45 million Americans diet every year, but fewer than 15% of those dieters actually stay diligent enough to their weight loss plans to achieve their target weights.
With statistics like this, it makes it difficult to find the motivation to begin a weight loss plan at all. Fortunately, there are ways to make starting a diet both easy and effective.
Plan Your Exact Goals
Before you simply dive into your diet, you need to list out exactly what you hope to accomplish and the reasoning behind it all. When you plan out specific goals for yourself to meet, you have a much higher chance of being a successful dieter as opposed to people whose goals are more vague.
Evaluate the amount of weight you actually want to lose and how you will accomplish that. If you are more obese than overweight, it would behoove you to get help from a professional weight loss center or a personal trainer who will be able to help you healthily and efficiently lose a lot of weight.
If you are looking to lose a more moderate amount of weight, experts like Dr. Brian Jacobson, MD, say that you can do it on your own–provided that you are prepared to really stick with your goals and incorporate both decreased calorie intake and regular exercise.
As you consider your specific dieting goals, it is a good idea to actually document them, whether it be on a piece of paper you will see regularly or on your computer or phone–somewhere where they will be a constant reminder for you.
In that same place, you should keep a list of your reasons for starting this diet: reasons such as wanting to look your best, get into better shape, and/or keep your body at its healthiest. These will serve as motivators to not only get you excited to make these positive changes but also to help get you out of any potential dieting ruts that may come down the road.
One of the hardest parts about starting a diet is when you realize which of your favorite foods that you will have to cut out of your snacks and meals. However, taking such a negative approach to dieting is often what eventually ruins dieting for people!
Think positively and don’t focus on your diet’s restrictions; instead, allow yourself an occasional splurge of your favorite treats. What you must make sure to change are your portion sizes of those treats. Next time you eat a snack–even if it’s healthy–pour it into a small bowl or container rather than eat it straight out of the bag or box.
It’s also a good idea to snack on foods that take a little bit longer to eat, since, according to dietitian Ellie Krieger, your brain takes approximately 20 minutes to process feelings of fullness. Opt for snacks that involve multiple steps, like shelled nuts or edamame that can’t be eaten until you unshell them.
One of the most frustrating things about dieting is when you feel like you are the only one who has to eat healthily or make time to hit the gym.
To counteract this, all you need to do is find a friend who wants to take on some dieting goals of their own! If you and a friend motivate each other to eat healthily, even in restaurants, and to go together to the gym or on a run, it will be much easier to maintain your weight loss goals.
Additionally, it always helps when you have to be accountable to someone else–you don’t want to have to break the news to your diet buddy that you broke down and ate an entire cake, and you don’t want to force him or her to go the gym alone because you opted to sleep in, do you?
Don’t be Afraid to Begin Your Diet!
Even though starting a diet can be intimidating, it definitely does not have to be. Follow these tips and you will find yourself getting down to dieting business in no time.