Dieting 101: Getting Started, For the Last Time!

dietLet me just start this post series with a statement. I don’t believe in “diets.” Diets do not work because they are too restrictive. Diets are something you start and then stop. Whatever you do when you stop can lead you right back to the place you came from – or worse! If your feelings of deprivation and restriction are large, chances are your “boomerang” back once you lift the restrictions will be huge. How would you like to end that cycle once and for all? If you’re with me, read on. If you’re not, come back when your latest fad diet experience fails you.

Step 1: Reject Dieting for Good

Can you do it? Can you actually say to yourself that years of dieting has not worked for you and it’s time to try something that does? Go ahead. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself instead of deprive yourself.

When you honestly feel “enough is enough” you are almost ready for a different approach. All you have to do is get a piece of paper and a writing utensil. At the top, write some version of these words “I promise myself that I won’t diet anymore,” and then give one to three reasons why you are making yourself that promise. Maybe you can recount past failed attempts or maybe there’s a special person out there for whom you want to be a role model – a daughter, a friend? Once you write it down, sign and date the paper. Congrats, you and dieting are finally divorced!

dieterStep 2: Prepare for Changes

If what you’ve been doing so far has not helped you manage a healthy weight, then there are some changes you could make. You may already know  your trigger points as a reformed “expert dieter.” Before jumping right into the changes you need to make, take some time to think about why now is a good time for you.

The goal of this plan is to make change as easy as possible, but that doesn’t mean every day will be a breeze. So take some time to write down at least three reasons why you feel ready now to work on lifestyle changes, including ones you may have tried to avoid in the past.

For some people, they just can’t seem to create a healthy exercise plan. So perhaps your paper says “Now is a good time for me to make changes because I’ve gained weight recently and I’ve been avoiding exercise. I know exercise is important for health and I think exercise will help me manage my weight.”

Try to come up with three of these kinds of statements. Think about it from a healthy eating/drinking and exercise perspective. There is no right or wrong here. These are your thoughts and ideas. The only way you can do this “wrong” is if your expectations are unrealistic… This is not goal-setting (yet). This is you saying why you want to do this now. It is important because nobody is going to change for you. If now is not a good time to change at least one thing, then maybe you need more time to get ready.

Next up: Setting realistic goals and monitoring progress.

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