Is Dieting for You? 12 Basic Tips You Should Be Doing Before Starting a Diet

In this day and age, we are no stranger to what a diet is. There are a number of diets out there, all preaching to be the best and most effective way to lose weight. All pushing a certain way of living or convincing you there is just one magical way to do it.

Before falling into one of these diet trends, stop and ask yourself why? Why are you doing it? And how far are you willing to go?

A diet shouldn’t be a short-term thing, it shouldn’t be something to get you in shape for an event or occasion, it should be a lifestyle decision. One you make solely on how you feel about your body and what you want to change. Too many people go on diets for the wrong reasons, and therefore too many people fail before results being to take place.

Understand that whatever you do in terms of dieting has to be sustainable in the long run. It has to be something you can see yourself doing for an unknown period of time. Something that doesn’t leave you feeling s#@t or exhausted.

The Past

If you have followed a diet and it didn’t work then ask yourself, why? Was it telling you to cut out certain foods? Was it asking you to cut out all sugar? All carbs? Or just wanting you to survive on salad and shakes? An example being; if your diet requires you to cut out bread or carbs, could you really do that for a prolonged period of time? Could you survive month after month? If so then go ahead and do it, people are different and something that works for one person may not work for the other.

However, most people would struggle to do something along the lines of this. The main reason being they relapse into old ways once the diet is over and re-introduce the foods they cut out, causing your body to react and change body composition. Others simply cannot go about their day to day life in such an intense and demanding diet phase.

A diet is a lifestyle, a decision you make to better your life and feel good. It shouldn’t be unrealistically hard, it should be something that pushes you without causing damage.

Of course, I understand and have stated that there are a number of different diets out there, some great and some not so great. It’s down to you as an individual to find the one that best suits your personal needs. That being said, below is a list of those wanting to diet but don’t know where to start. It’s not a diet plan but more of a few tips you can implement into your daily routine that should help guide you and help when eventually starting a diet.

Tips for Starting a Successful Diet:

Start small and gradually build.

  • Water Intake:

Drink more water. Try and aim for a pint of water as soon as you wake up and with every meal, that’s a good start. Then progress to maybe a gallon or so a day (8 pints). Be consistent.

  • Simple Vs Complex:

Swap out simple carbs for the complex. (white for brown) – Change bread and pasta from white to whole-wheat, include sweet potatoes over white potatoes and so on. This allows you to feel more satisfied and fuller longer, meaning you’re less likely to snack. These alternatives offer more fiber per portion and therefore contribute to helping you digest and process food.

  • Protein:

Include a source of protein in every meal. This not only adds to muscle growth and leanness for those working out but it also again keeps you fuller for longer, meaning you don’t have to pile carbs or fats onto the plate to reach the same level of satisfaction.

  • Alternatives:

Swap basic foods for healthier alternatives. An example being; if you have sugar in hot drinks, change to sweetener, change cooking oil for fry-light, butter for lighter versions, whole milk for semi-skimmed and so on. Most foods now have a healthier or lighter version so try to incorporate that into your everyday use.

  • Portion Size:

Divide your meal portions into 3rds. Allowing 1/3 to be a protein source, 1/3 to be a veg source and the last 1/3 to be a carb source. This will help with satiation and meal balance.

  • Frequency:

Eat regularly. Try not to skip meals and perhaps experiment with having meals often throughout the day to keep you full and less likely to snack or binge.

  • Fruit and Veg:

Eat plenty of fruit and veg, giving you a higher fiber intake which again keeps you fuller for longer as well as helps regular bowel movement.

  • DO NOT BAN ANY FOOD:

Just don’t restrict yourself to never having certain types of foods again. It’s better to incorporate them somehow into your diet then completely restrict them and binge at a later date. If you love chocolate and sweets, just have one or two pieces occasionally or if you like take away, use it as a reward meal at the end of a week of dieting. One meal won’t make you put on weight just like eating a couple of healthy meals won’t make you lose it.

  • Purchasing Habits:

Don’t stock junk food. If you like snacking and find yourself wanting to snack then buy and stock healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, rice cakes, oatcakes and unsalted homemade popcorn.

  • Alcohol:

Cut the alcohol down. Over time a drink here and there can add up to a lot of calories, additional and empty ones that you won’t account for, leaving you constantly in a surplus (over maintenance). Which goes against trying to keep your calories in a deficit (under maintenance) to lose weight.

  • Plan Your Meals:

Wake up and write down what you will be having in each meal for the day, helping you visualise your calorie expenditure. It also helps you stay on track with your diet as you know what and when your next meal is. Eventually, after consistently implementing this it will become second nature and you’ll know what to eat without even thinking about planning it.

  • Workout:

It sounds as if it would be obvious, yet some people still don’t grasp the advantages of fitness and what it can do to help your weight loss journey. Working out has multiple benefits that are spoken about much more in-depth throughout the internet, but the basics are; If you exert yourself physically you use more energy than your body normally would and therefore burn more calories, which if you are on a diet and eating less than maintenance calories (deficit) you will lose weight.

Concluding Advice

As someone who is highly passionate about health and fitness, I have done various diets to both loose and put on weight. All of which work for set periods of time. My one continual success has been to track what I eat and create macros to suit my lifestyle (IIFYM). This form of dieting is popular in the bodybuilding world and has worked for many people. This dieting strategy is for the more advanced dieters that already follow the 12 tips above. It’s for those that want to continue their healthy lifestyle above and beyond their dieting stage.

If you want more on this topic then simply google “If it fits your macros” and read through the pages of advice people give. I’m sure you’ll find some more in-depth information.

It goes without saying that there are a lot more tips that could be included in the list above but these are the main points I feel are a great starting point. As you practice them daily you will get into a routine and habit which will make starting a diet so much easier. Giving you the confidence and motivation to continue to a more advanced level.

Just to clarify I am not a qualified professional and all of the above is just advice.

I hope this has helped.

Stay healthy,

Life Of Sandy

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