So, you decided to go on a diet. What’s next?

Published on September 21, 2020 by Cori Grămescu

A good, no matter how successful diet, needs to start with a detailed plan to track your progress, realistic goals and I will provide some suggestions.

Find a good enough reason to go on a diet

Having some degree of discontent regarding our physical appearance is not complicated to obtain in today’s over-exposed, highly edited and appearance-centered society. It is quite easy to fall in the trap of comparing yourself against social media images, internet-imposed beauty standards and the quick-fixes effortlessly promised by ads.

Unfortunately, the diet culture approach became mainstream as more and more women started calorically and nutritionally restricted meal plans. The term “diet” has changed it initial meaning of “the kinds of food a person, animal or community habitually eats” to “a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”

So, after having decided that you are going on a diet, choose the first definition of the term diet, instead of the second, and start aligning it with your goal. 

Set your goals

Speaking of goals, what is your goal? Define it in a multi-dimensional way, using several KPIs to define your success: 

  • number of kilos – don’t engage in a goal-weight that is less than your height in cm of which you subtract 110)
  • fitness goals – challenge yourself to do a certain workout in a certain amount of time, for example, or to run a race, or do a certain yoga pose that you find challenging at the present moment)
  • lifestyle goals – the way we live is way more important than the way we look, so make sure you actively try to improve your sleeping pattern, hydration level, mindfulness activities or authentic, enriching social connections. 
  • dietary changes – actively add to your diet new foods that you haven’t consistently eaten before, new spices and build a preoccupation to cook for yourself healthy but tasty food. 
  • self-image and self-love goals – in order to improve your relationship with your body and to make better food choices you should build a strong emotional foundation. In case you’re wondering, most of us have issues in that area, but with constant self-care and kindness things can improve.

A better way to track progress

So, after defining your goal, here’s a couple of ideas that will help you be more compliant with the dietary requirements necessary to reach your goal. 

  • Calculate between 1 and 2 weeks to lose one kilo of body fat in order to operate a lasting change. The more you rush things, the more aggressive the weight bounce and all the side-effects of yoyo dieting that come along (constipation, rapid weight gain, stretch marks, cellulite, disordered eating habits, low self-esteem) 
  • Make moderate exercise and brisk walking a part of your routine, you only need 30 minutes of exercise per day and 30 minutes of walking. Keep it pleasantly challenging and practice mindfulness breathing while you’re doing it 
  • Buy the healthy foods you need for your diet for the upcoming week and try to cook it 2 days in advance, so that whenever you feel hungry you have a healthy option at hand. 
  • Make a list of restaurants that you like and look for meals that are similar to your diet. Even if they will probably have more calories than your weight loss diet, it’s a compromise that you will learn to do, as it’s more efficient to have some degree of flexibility that enables better dietary compliance over time. This way, you will know what to order when you go out with friends or loved ones
  • Limit shopping for sweets or snacks that trigger you into over-eating them. If you are living alone it’s best to clear your cabinets and donate the foods that trigger you. Plan a family reunion in which you explain your dear ones that you need their support and plan for a day a week in which you all go out and enjoy your favorite treats, instead of having them handy in the house. Get them onboard your process and openly discuss boundaries and support system. 
  • BE PATIENT, learn to enjoy the change and the challenges you overcome and give yourself credit for every new milestone you reach in the process. Take pictures of yourself, write yourself a congratulations card, offer yourself a facial or a massage as a gift for accomplishing your intermediate goal and give yourself credit for every step of the way, you are really the one making it happen!

In the end, keep in mind that a good diet has to be followed by a good weight maintenance plan.

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