Look, I know some people might cringe when they hear the word “diet.” And truthfully, I know exactly how you feel. Two years ago, I felt the same exact way when I was trying to shed off my belly. I thought dieting meant I had to starve myself or I would take a drastic turn into eating bland oatmeal and celery sticks.
But the truth is – dieting doesn’t need to be painful. In fact, I’ve found that dieting can be quite simple if you follow a set of guidelines for success. Of course, you’re still going to have to put in the work. Nothing good in life comes without sacrifice, but to make your life easier, I’m going to list here the top 7 lessons I learned from my journey in successful, long-lasting dieting.
Diet Tip #1 – Set a Start Date
Set a date to start your diet. I know this sounds so simple. But for many people, the most difficult thing is to finally take the leap of faith and go for it. Plan and mark a date on your calendar to fully begin your diet without exceptions. You can start trying out some healthy recipes before your starting date if it helps you transition better, but the most important thing is to just set a date for it to happen – otherwise it never will!
Diet Tip #2 – Prepare Your Meal Plan
You should plan your meals for the first week or two before you start the diet. This will make things much easier for you in the beginning. If you are attempting to plan last minute meals, this is more than likely to lead to unhealthy eating choices which will tarnish your diet goals. Choose a selection of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that you can use for the first couple of weeks, and stick to it.
Get rid of all your old food and stock your fridge with healthy options. By keeping unhealthy food in your house, you are only setting yourself up for failure. If you feel bad about wasting food, perhaps donate the food to a local food bank. However, by the end of the second week, your kitchen must be set for your diet.
Diet Tip #3 – Include Moderate Exercise
It is always recommended that you include moderate exercise in your daily routine. Regular exercise promotes weight loss and better overall health. No, you do not need to exercise for hours each day or kill yourself in the gym. However, it is highly encouraged that you start with some simple cardiovascular exercise in the beginning. Try to include 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five days a week. This could include something as simple as walking, jogging, running, swimming, or cycling.
While your diet (assuming it’s legitimate) will help you naturally begin to lose weight, some moderate exercise can increase your chances of success and improve your health. Get creative with the ways that you choose to exercise. Remember, many sports or activities are fun and great for your health.
Diet Tip #4 – Eat Leftovers and Prepare Quick Meals
You should never use time as an excuse to not eat healthy meals. If you have a busy schedule and feel that you do not have the time to prepare healthy meals every day, then make use of your leftovers or plan in advance. Plan meals where you can use leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. For example, with most meat-based dishes, you can use the leftover meat for your next lunch.
Having a selection of different quick and easy recipes will help you stay on track as well. I would recommend that you pick up a cookbook that subscribes to the guidelines of your diet. You can use these recipes as a starting point for eating healthy. This will provide enough variety to help get you started on your diet!
Diet Tip #5 – Do Not Count Calories
Plain and simple – counting calories can make it difficult to stick to your diet and requires too much planning and forethought for you to be successful in making a long-term, sustainable change in lifestyle. Not to mention, after all the effort you go through to count those calories, you probably won’t even feel full. Stick with a solid meal plan with minimal carbs and focus your thoughts on creating healthy meals that are based around high protein and healthy fats.
Diet Tip #6 – Set a Good Example for Your Family
Starting a diet while your family continues to eat normally can make it tough to stay on track. Set a good example for your family. You do not need to force everyone to eat like you, but by filling your kitchen with healthy foods that can be a part of your diet, you are encouraging the rest of your family to eat healthy as well. By providing healthy food options for your family, you are ensuring not only your long-term health but your family’s health as well!
Diet Tip #7 – Track Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress can be a great motivator, but it’s also the only way you’re going to know if you’re hitting your goals or not. When you tally the weight that you have lost for one, two, or three months, you can use your results as proof that you are headed in the right direction. It is recommended that you write down your weigh-ins in a notebook, on your calendar, or in your phone on a weekly basis.
Putting These Diet Tips to Work
So, there you have it! Put these steps into action. If you want to lose weight and improve your health, you need to make changes to your lifestyle. Some of these changes will be easy while others will require willpower. However, if your diet is solid and your desire for change is strong – I know you’ll do great!
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