5 Things to Do Before Starting a Diet

Woman with bag full of groceries marking calendar.

Have you ever failed at a diet? If so, you’re not alone. Even people who have successfully lost weight and maintained it have likely failed more than once. Most folks don’t fail at diets because they are weak-willed. They fail because they chose a one that they couldn’t stick to long term. Or because they weren’t truly prepared before starting a diet.

One of the most important parts of setting yourself up for dieting success is planning. So here are five things you should do before starting any diet.

1. Get Yourself Mentally Prepared

Dieting is not easy. It’s not even easy when the food is good and there’s plenty of it. There will come a time when you want to eat something that’s not on your diet plan. There will be days when you’d rather be run over by a herd of elephants than work out at the gym.

To resist these urges, get yourself into a mental space where you are okay with the type and amount of food you will be eating. Come to a place of acceptance of how often you’ll need to exercise and the results you should realistically expect. Consider writing in a journal now and over the course of your diet to chronicle how you’re feeling throughout.

2. Stock Up on the Ingredients You’ll Need

The chances of blowing your diet are greatly increased if you don’t have the foods you’re allowed to eat on hand. If you’ll be making your food from scratch, prepare the food ahead of time and freeze it. You should also keep healthy snacks on hand. Because when you get really hungry, you’re more likely to eat whatever is convenient than cook a meal.

3. Form a Strategy for Challenging Times

Life continuously presents challenging times and situations on a delectable platter. Office parties, holiday festivities, and big family dinners are always difficult to maneuver from a food standpoint. It’ll be difficult to stay on track if you are going to eat out or go to the movie theater. 

There will also be times when you want to skip your workout. So you need a plan in place to motivate yourself into doing the workout anyway. Or into sticking to your food plan and avoiding tempting treats at gatherings. If there is a plan in place, you are more likely to stay on track.

4. Have a Comprehensive Exercise Plan

Weight loss requires more than just eating a healthy diet. You also have to exercise. Here are some questions to determine just how serious you are about getting fit:

  • Do you have an exercise plan in place? 
  • If you’ll be doing workouts at a gym, have you set up your membership? 
  • Have you looked into group exercise classes? 
  • If you just plan to walk for exercise, have you determined where you will walk, how often, and how far? 
  • Have you purchased the exercise equipment you’ll need? 

If your answer to all of these questions is no, it’s time to reevaluate. Do some fitness research, talk to a physical trainer, or join a workout program. Because if you don’t have a plan in place, you probably won’t get enough exercise.

5. Talk to Your Doctor First

This is something all experts say but too few dieters actually do. You must inform your doctor that you are starting a new weight loss or exercise program. Based on your individual health and physical condition, they can determine whether the plan is safe for you. They may even be able to determine whether there’s potential for success based on your blood work. If you are serious about losing weight, see your doctor first.

The Key to Sustainable Weight Loss

Dieting is hard, but you can lose the weight you want to lose. Just as long as you’re prepared for the change in activity levels and diet that you need to make. Being mentally, physically, and fundamentally prepared before you start is the key to weight loss success.

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