Not being prepared for a diet can be a recipe for a failure.
It is not easy to really commit yourself to losing weight. Many people embark on a diet thinking they are ready, but when the time comes, they are not in the mindset to really put in the work to lose weight. If you want to successfully lose weight in a healthy way, you need to be sure that you are truly ready to make the commitment.
If you want to successfully lose weight, make sure you have done these three things before beginning your diet.
1. Mentally Prepare
If losing weight were easy, then no one would be overweight. Unfortunately, for most people it is much easier to gain than to lose. To lose weight you must be in a caloric deficit. This means drastically cutting down on the amount of food that you eat each day. And, if you really want to lose weight, you will need to stick with this lower caloric intake for weeks or even months. Losing weight is a long process. Despite what any diet books try to tell you, change will not happen quickly.
This is why embarking on a diet requires real commitment. You must be in the right frame of mind to make this change, and acknowledge that it will come with its challenges. You need to be honest with yourself and think about if you are really in the right mindset to lose weight. If you are not, it is truthfully better to not even try. Dieting and not losing weight is discouraging, and can put you in the mindset that diets simply “don’t work” for you, which of course is not true. Attempting to diet when you are not truly ready can give you this false belief that it will never work for you and make you hesitant to even try.
Some people are fully ready to commit to losing weight, but decide to hold off on dieting because they are worried that it is not the right time. They believe that certain situations, like travel or a busy time at work, may hinder their weight loss efforts despite their devotion to make change. However, this is not the case. You usually cannot control your situation. If you keep waiting for the “right” time, you may be waiting forever.
If you are ready to fully commit to dieting, there is no reason to wait for the ideal situation, even if that means dieting over holidays or vacation. In fact, it is advantageous to start your diet as soon as possible once you decide that you are ready. The longer you wait to begin a diet, the harder it will be. As we age, our ability to lose weight decreases, while it becomes easier to gain weight. If you feel unhappy with your weight right now, think about how unhappy you will be with it in three or four years. Not only will you have more weight to lose, but it will be more challenging because you will be older.
While you do not have control over your situation, there are some factors you can control. Be sure to tell your friends and family about your diet and how committed you are to losing weight. Oftentimes, people in your life will encourage you to indulge in sweets or other celebratory meals with good intentions, but these things can be set backs when it comes to dieting. Make sure people are aware how important it is for your health to stay on track with your diet. Having the support of the important people in your life, coupled with a strong conviction in your own mindset that you are ready to lose weight, is the best way to start any diet.
Work With Your Doctor
Losing weight is not just about appearance, but about overall health. Thus, it is important to not only have nutritional support, but medical support throughout the weight loss process. Oftentimes, medical problems can contribute to weight gain. As you diet, you should work with your doctor to resolve any problems that may hinder your weight loss efforts, such as inadequate sleep.
You should also involve your physician so that they can monitor any changes to your health as you lose weight. Losing weight in a healthy, scientifically supported way is very likely to improve conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. If you are on medication for one of these conditions, your doctor may need to alter your dosage as you lose weight and your health improves.
Even if you are not living with a chronic health condition, it is always wise to let your doctor know about your diet. Not only is it important from a health perspective, but telling your physician about your diet adds them to your support team. The more people you have on your team throughout the weight loss process, the better.
Set Specific Goals
Almost everyone who starts a diet has a common goal: to lose weight. But to really be able to track your progress, you need to get more specific than that.
It is important to figure out how much weight you really need to lose. A good way to do this is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a calculation based on your height and weight, and is a good indicator body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher the fat. You can calculate your BMI using an online calculator, or doing this simple calculation: measure your height and weight, divide your weight by your height, and divide that number by your height once again. The final number is your BMI. As you lose weight, your BMI will decrease.
As you set your goals, remember that everyone responds to diets differently. Some people will simply never be rail thin, no matter how closely they follow a diet plan. Keep this in mind as you track your weight loss and BMI. Rather than focusing on a specific numerical goal for BMI or weight, set a goal for a percentage of body weight you would like to lose. Research shows that losing just 5 to 10 percent of body weight can considerably improve your health. So, set a goal to lose 5 percent, and then once you achieve that, try to reach a 10 percent decrease from your initial weight. Setting goals in steps makes the weight loss process much more manageable.
The best way to stay on top of your goals is to track your progress. Throughout your diet, keep track of your weight, body fat percentage, and body measurements including your waist, hips, thighs, chest, arms, and neck. These numbers may fluctuate, and that is perfectly normal. Pay attention to how the numbers progress every two weeks rather than stressing out over the changes between days. As long as the overall trend of these numbers show improvement, you are on the right track.
Weight loss is a long process. If you are not fully prepared, it is more likely than not that your efforts will be unsuccessful.
But, if you go into it with the right mindset and keep your goals in mind, you will make progress towards your goals. It may take longer than you would like, but with time, dedication, and a support system, you will get there.