Eating right and getting your body healthy are important life goals. No matter the reason behind your new diet, you’re taking strides to hit these targets, and that’s always a good thing!
You’re smart enough not to get caught on the yo-yo cycle, though, so you want to start your new diet right. The best way to do this is to get your mind focused on all the incredible results that come with being healthy, first!
From there, the rest will be easier. For most people, it’s easier to put on weight than it is to lose it. But when you make healthy changes, you’ll feel the difference in your body even before you see it on a scale.
With these seven tips, you can start your diet the right way and reap the benefits of a healthy life quickly!
1. Set Small Goals
If you’ve tried diets in the past, only to give up when you didn’t see results or they were too hard, you know the dangers you’re facing. You have big, lofty goals, and getting there isn’t an overnight process.
The first key to your success is to block out the long-term target. Instead, set small milestones and get real with what’s possible for you and your lifestyle.
Yes, it’d be great to lose twenty pounds in a week. And maybe your best friend’s cousin’s uncle had this miracle weight loss pill that worked for him. But you are you, not anyone else, and your health goals are based on your needs and abilities. If you try to compare your journey to others’, you will likely get disappointed and lose your way.
Start with small, feasible goals. If exercise is your obstacle, start with ten minutes of activity per day. Make it a goal to add five more minutes, then five more, until you’re at your target.
Jumping straight into healthy eating can be hard if you have bad habits, like soda or sweet tea addictions. Try swapping out one unhealthy food/drink at a time for the first week until your meals are packed with nutrients.
2. Go Shopping the Smart Way
Research has shown that there are a few things you should never, ever do when you’re grocery shopping if you want to lose weight.
The first thing to avoid is hitting the store when you’re hungry. Your body is wired to associate hunger with scarcity. Scientifically, you’re more likely to find the high-calorie food appealing and talk yourself into throwing it in your cart.
You should also never go shopping without a list. Walking into the store with the intention of sticking to only what’s on your list limits the potential of throwing in extras. This is a money and calorie saving tip.
If you notice the grocery store is your danger zone, online shopping could be your next best friend. Many grocery stores offer curbside pickup or delivery. When you have to be specific about what you’re adding to your cart, it gives you a chance to think harder about whether you really want that junk food.
3. Make Time for Meal Planning
When you have a hectic lifestyle, it’s hard to eat healthy. Eating out saves time and stress, but makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
In the United States, restaurant and fast food portions are much bigger than we need. Studies show that the sizes of meals served in dining establishments in the country have risen since the 1970s, alongside the obesity percentages. These portions now exceed federal standards.
By making time once a week to plan your meals ahead for the next few days, you can avoid the lure of eating out. Use your meal planning to create your grocery list and knock it all out in one trip (or one delivery).
It may take some focus to meal plan strategically, but look at all the time, calories, and stress you’ll save the rest of the week!
4. Frequent Snacks; Smaller Portions
Forget everything you’ve been taught about eating three meals a day. Let’s go all the way back to science and how your body works in Nutrition 101 for a minute. It’s an important part of knowledge that can reshape how you see food, which is crucial to your diet’s success.
Your body needs food as its fuel. We feed our babies specifically nutrients in order for them to grow healthy. This requirement doesn’t change just because we are older. What changes is the type of fuel we can choose from.
As our potential meal choices expand, so do the opportunities for junk instead of nutritious foods. We begin to fuel our bodies with sludge instead of vitamins and minerals. And our portion sizes increase because we see our meals as enjoyable instead of necessary.
Just like babies, when you eat frequent small, healthy snacks, your body processes the calories more efficiently. Switch your mindset to eating to live instead of living to eat, and you will be successful!
5. Get Active
The fuel you give your body in terms of food helps it to function. But to burn those calories and keep your muscles from atrophying, you must get active.
Depending on your physical health, this can be a catch-22. You need to be active to get in shape, but you need to get in shape to be active.
The steps you take, literally, do not have to be big. As you set your target milestones, add a little more activity each day, to your tolerance. Try to push yourself just a little farther each day.
When you go to the store, park a good distance from the entrance. If you have the choice to choose stairs or an elevator, take the stairs.
Slowly add more activity to your day until you feel confident enough to hit the gym or some hiking trails.
6. Track Your Progress
As you make these changes, you might not notice a difference on the scale. Your weight is a combination of many factors, and any of these can keep you from “losing” numbers.
There are other ways to track your progress, though. Get a notebook or an app on your phone to record your accomplishments. Measure your success in terms like:
- How much physical activity you did that day
- Using measuring tape to track inches lost
- How successful you were in eating healthily
- The energy you feel
- How loose your clothes fit
Ultimately, these things are so much more important than what your scale says. Don’t give up if you’re not seeing the weight change. The other benefits to your new lifestyle are worth more than a number.
7. Give Yourself Some Grace
There will be days when you slide. You won’t get the physical activity in that you wanted, or something in life will happen to cause you to eat unhealthily.
For many people, those setbacks give them the permission they need to quit altogether. Unless you want to yo-yo your way through diets throughout your life, don’t do this.
Give yourself grace for your setback and then try again the next day. You’ll never succeed if you give up, but any momentum forward is another step towards your goal.
The fact that you’re reading up on starting your diet the right way means you’re already on the path to success! It all begins in your mindset, but these seven keys will help you to keep your eye on your target in slow, steady steps.