If you’re thinking of adopting a new diet plan, it’s important to give yourself the best possible start. While you may have an idea of what and how much to eat, there’s much more to this journey than food choices.
Before you dive into a healthier lifestyle, it’s best to mentally prepare yourself for the journey so you can push through any bumps in the road. Use these tips now and keep them in mind as you go along.
Think beyond the weight-loss outcome
Many people start a new diet plan because they want to lose weight. This is perfectly acceptable and is a valid reason to eat healthier. But, losing weight is an outcome — not a motivator — and it won’t necessarily keep you going when things get tough.
We often need to “dig deeper” to find our true motivation. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it because you want to have more energy for family or favorite activities? Is it because you want to feel more comfortable in your own body? Perhaps it’s to address a health issue like diabetes or digestive issues that are standing in the way of your enjoyment of life.
Whatever it is, write it down in a place that you’ll see every day. Put a sticky note on your fridge, bathroom mirror, or computer monitor. You could also write it in the front of your food journal. Not keeping a food journal? Here are a few good reasons to start.
Cut yourself some slack
Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Accept from the very beginning that you will have some bad days and slip-ups on your diet plan.
Even with the best plans in place, life sometimes gets in the way. Maybe it’s travel, an emergency, illness, or some other obstacle. Maybe you couldn’t resist a piece of cake at your friend’s wedding. Whatever it is, tell yourself right now that you won’t beat yourself up for it. Rather than viewing these minor mistakes as failure or a reason to give up, see them as learning opportunities. Figure out how and why the mistake happened, and create a plan for avoiding a similar mistake in the future.
Make a plan that’s about your health, not just food
Many people dive into a new diet plan too aggressively and actually harm — rather than help — their health goals.
For instance, don’t adopt an extreme exercise plan that forces you to neglect your sleep. Sleep is an important part of overall health and disease prevention and helps regulate your hunger cues. The last thing you want is to end up even hungrier after a hard workout because you’re exhausted from too much activity and not enough rest. Instead, gradually increase your exercise time and intensity each week. And don’t underestimate the power of sleep in your weight loss efforts.
Keep your overall health in mind when you’re building a healthy diet plan. This should include not only food, but exercise, sleep, stress relief, and mental health.
If you’re ready to begin a healthier lifestyle, we can help. Garcia Weight Loss offers personalized weight loss programs designed to help you look and feel your best. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on July 25, 2018