Preparing for Dieting Success
Get in the ‘zone’
Take the time to prepare with the right mental attitude; it will help you a great deal once you actually start your diet. Spend time thinking about your motivation– do you want to lose weight for a special occasion, or are you concerned about the health implications? Understanding your motivation will be very helpful when things get tough! Know your personality – do you tend to eat on impulse or are you a ‘grazer’? Learn to recognise your ‘trigger points’ for and think about how you can avoid them. It may also help to rehearse problem situations and prepare in advance (e.g. What will I say if my friend offers me chocolate biscuits?). Forewarned is forearmed, so being prepared mentally can save you being caught out unexpectedly.
Make a commitment
Making a firm commitment to losing weight will help you to stay on the straight and narrow when you feel like giving up. Making that commitment public is also a powerful incentive to stick to your diet. Tell your friends and family about your diet, and ask them to help you when your will-power is failing you; after all, true friends give you moral support to reach your goal.
Set specific goals
Be very specific about your weight loss goals! Do you want to lose a specific amount of weight or drop dress sizes? Make sure you also have a sensible timetable for your diet – don’t expect too much too soon or you could get disillusioned. It may help to set ‘milestones’ such as losing a specific amount of weight or reaching a particular dress size. Promise yourself a reward when you reach each milestone, such as a new outfit, or maybe even a small ‘treat’ such as a bar of chocolate (although don’t overdo it!).
Have a clear plan
Maybe you have decided to follow a particular diet, or perhaps you prefer to count calories. Whatever your strategy, make sure you plan carefully so that you have everything you need to get started. Be sure that your diet is healthy, with a good variety of foods, and one that will give you all the nutrients you need. You are more likely to stick to a sensible diet plan, and the weight is more likely to stay off once you have reached your target, if you take things slow and steady. You might want to consider consulting your GP if you have any specific health issues.
Now you are ready to think about what you will be eating. You will increase your chances of success if you plan ahead with your shopping. Start by going through your cupboards and getting rid of anything that might get in the way of you losing weight (e.g. unhealthy snacks), and then make a list of what you will need. If you think you might be tempted when you are in the supermarket, why not shop online? It will save you from being tempted to buy the ‘wrong’ foods and you will then have everything you need to begin your diet. Don’t forget to buy a few extra things such as healthy snacks or ingredients, so you are prepared for unexpected events e.g. having to work late, and having less time to cook.
Use extra help
Think about ways to get extra help in your quest to lose weight. Maybe you would value a weekly meeting to support you? Check out meeting times and the costs involved, or find out about online dieting support. Perhaps you have friends who also want to lose weight, so maybe form your own dieting group? Nowadays there are lots of mobile phone apps which can track your food intake, calories etc. so do some research, and ask around, to find which one might suit you.
Making the decision to start a diet is an important step, but taking time to prepare before you start could make all the difference to your weight-loss success!