Okay, so you have decided that you are going to start dieting soon. Congratulations!!! You reached an important milestone! It looks like
- you see the benefits of eating better and
- more or less ready to give up you favorite junk foods for a while.
Now it’s time for war preparations, girl! Write a strategic plan of attack. Get ammo and other supplies. Find some allies. And see you out there on the battlefield! 🙂
Step 1: Set a realistic and measurable goal
Why? Because a written goal will greatly enhance your chances to succeed. It is a proven fact, there’s no use to argue here.
Here’s a blank for you:
I will have __________________________________________ by ______________[date]
because I want ______________________________________.
- I will have lost 10 pounds by the end of the spring because I want to feel pretty in my summer dresses.
- I will have a waist measurement under 35 inches by six months from now [date] because I want to lower my risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- I will stick to an elimination diet for a month because I want to see my symptoms improve and want to find out which food causes my digestive problems.
Plan to lose weight? Aim to one pound (half a kilogram) weight loss per week maximum. Any more than that is not healthy for us.
Now post your goal around your kitchen!
Step 2: Boost your motivation
Sticking to a healthy, balanced diet for a long time is not easy. If you are doing your diet for long-term health, or intend to lose weight and stay slim, you probably have to stay motivated for months and months.
Gather the pros and cons of the change
It is important to be realistic. Write down a list of both, so you could see clearly how badly you want this change and what might be stopping you. Here’s my list:
Pros of keeping an elimination diet:
- My hands will not hurt
- My skin will look normal again, without the ugly red swollen areas
- My digestion is better
Cons of keeping an elimination diet
- I cannot eat my favorite traditional pies, muffins and home-made breads
- Gluten-free baking is a pain-in-the-@ss
- Difficult to eat outside of the house
Take a good look at your lists. Which one is longer? Ideally, before you start, your pros list should be more significant for you.
See the list of the cons. Can you do anything about them? Find a substitute food or activity, or make the loss somehow more bearable? It can help lower the temptation to stop or cheat later.
Visualize yourself at success
This exercise can be a great motivation boost, so don’t skip it! Imagine how you would be, when you got the results you hoped for!
- How do you look like?
- How do you feel like?
- How does it feel to move, to work out, to dance?
- How’s your confidence level?
- How do you fit in your clothes?
In the worksheet, take a few minutes to write about these things.
Step 3: Prepare to start your diet
Small steps to support the diet change
- Get rid of unwanted food from your house
- Find new healthy and tasty recipes
- Find and buy alternative ingredients (dairy-free, low-salt, etc.)
- Find healthy workday lunch/dinner alternatives
- Stock up on nutritious snacks
- Buy a bathroom scale, soft measuring tape, etc
- Find an app to help you keep track of your progress
By no means you have to do all these, but I find them helpful for me.
Okay, I guess it is quite subjective. Some people may not want others to know about their diet plans and it’s all right. But the suggestion from professionals is that we should tell friends and family members, and maybe colleagues that we are changing our eating habits, and we are counting on their support and understanding.
Create your plan of action
It doesn’t have to be very long, but it has to address your needs. Think about
- things that previously prevented you from successfully go on with your diet plans
- possible issues outside of you
- possible issues within you, like negative self-talk or strong emotions
and address these in you plan of action.
For example, if you had trouble overeating at night, after a long days starving and stress, can you figure out how to prevent it happening again? Can you keep healthy but filling foods with you during the day? Or put a big lock on the fridge? 😉
Or if your family visits your Mom every weekend and she feeds you like you’re a starving orphan, it is something to include in your action plan.
Set a starting date
You’re almost there! Ready to set the date? Well, ideally, it should give you enough time to prepare but not to be so far away that you lose momentum. If you can, try to avoid major family holidays and vacation times, as it is notoriously difficult to manage a diet during those.
And that’s it. You are all prepared to change your eating habits and fight your way through to a healthier you! 🙂
If you wish, you can print the diet planning worksheet that goes with this article. And as always, if you have any questions, contact me or post a comment!