Almost everyone tries dieting at least a few times in their life.
Maybe you’re successful and you lose weight, but then you gain it all back again. Or maybe you just tried for a few days and didn’t see any results. Maybe you even spent a lot of money on diet supplements or coaching.
If it didn’t work, then now what?
First, you need to understand why it did not work. If you’re just dieting for a short time, with the goal of losing five or 10 pounds, then that can work. But if you need to lose 20 or 30 or 50 pounds, then you need more than just to change what you eat, because ultimately you won’t be able to stick to that. Instead, you need a strategy to support you changing your lifestyle. This is the subject for a different article! But for now, let’s say you want to do a short-term diet, but it’s not working the way you want — what are you doing wrong, or what’s missing?
Probably, you do not have a structured plan, and you are not tracking your progress.
You need an eating plan so that you know you are eating enough vegetables, protein and fruits. I suggest you make a list of what you’ll need to eat the following week. Let’s say you’re starting your diet on a Monday. In that case, on the Friday before you start, make your shopping list and then go shopping for all the ingredients that you’ll need. Remember why you are doing this — you want to be healthy, and it’s your choice to go on this diet.
Your focus should be on nutrient dense food, not on how many calories you are consuming. Yes, of course calories do matter, but if you push too hard too soon then it’s likely that you’ll fail on your diet, and sooner or later, you’ll give up and eat more.
So instead, focus on nourishing your body with a variety of food sources such as different colored vegetables, fruits, and different sources of lean protein.
The key is that you do your shopping and prepare your meals beforehand, so that when you need to eat, everything is ready.
The second most important thing is to track your weight every day. Yes, every day. This will help you to understand whether you are following an eating plan that is correct for you, or whether you need to adjust your diet. Write down your weight somewhere that you can easily see it — maybe a piece of paper on your fridge. Remember that it’s just a number, but it will help you to understand how close you are to reaching your health goals.
Ask for support from your family and your friends. Tell them how important it is for you, and they will help you with your progress.
Remember, without a map you will probably get lost. But with a well-designed map — or plan — you will gain your health back and you will lose weight. And this success will mean much more than just losing weight, it will give you confidence, a feeling of accomplishment, and it’s an important step towards creating a new healthy you with healthy eating habits.
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or (808) 276-6892