Making the decision to lose weight is a huge first step, but, as with any ambitious project, it takes a lot of work. One aspect that is often overlooked is preparation. If you’ve had unsuccessful diets in the past, you might think that there’s simply no point in trying again; however, taking the right approach can make a world of difference. You need to be in an appropriate physical and mental state to go through this process effectively.
With this in mind, you might be wondering how to prepare for a diet. After all, unlike training for a marathon, this isn’t a subject that’s often discussed. Below, we’ve outlined five key steps to guide you towards getting mentally prepared to lose weight. Let’s take a look!
1. Take Stock of Your Lifestyle and Current Eating Habits
Before you can start designing your diet plan, you need to assess your current health, goals, and lifestyle. A dietary strategy for someone with a hectic schedule who mainly eats small snacks is going to look very different from a plan for someone who cooks elaborate meals at home. You should also consider your budget and if you’ll be feeding other members of your household. Taking stock of these details will ensure that your plan makes sense for you.
During this stage, you should also consider any known weaknesses when it comes to unhealthy habits. For example, you might realize that any time you go shopping while hungry, you come home with large amounts of junk food that you wouldn’t purchase otherwise.
2. Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Once you’ve identified your lifestyle and current eating habits, good and bad, you can take the next step and set some weight loss goals. Having objectives is a great way to help you track your progress and stay motivated. However, setting unrealistic goals can be demoralizing and might even make you feel so defeated that you decide to quit.
Focusing solely on the finish line can lead to similar problems. Even if you don’t hit some magic number on a scale within a given timeframe, it doesn’t invalidate all of the time and effort you put in. Setting smaller goals throughout your journey will provide you with something to work toward while still allowing you to recognize all of your achievements.
3. Commit to Your Goals
After you’ve determined what goals make the most sense for you, it’s time to buckle down and make a commitment. First, ask yourself how you plan to achieve these goals and spend some time brainstorming a good strategy. Then, consider the best way to house that plan. If writing things down is helpful, you can take note of your goals and strategy in a weight loss journal. If reminders on your mobile device are better, find a weight loss tracking app, or simply use the built-in reminders function.
4. Make It Fun
Much of what we’ve discussed here sounds like homework. Assessing your lifestyle, coming up with goals, and making a commitment are all crucial to building a successful and realistic weight loss plan. However, having fun is just as important. If you let the process get too stressful, you’ll be so exhausted and burned out that you won’t want to keep going.
There are a variety of ways to add some fun into your weight loss journey. Consider recruiting a friend to join you and challenge each other with a little friendly competition. You can also treat yourself with small rewards for every milestone you reach, like going out to get a relaxing massage at the spa or adding something new to your wardrobe.
5. Hold Yourself Accountable
Finally, don’t forget to keep yourself accountable. Even the most motivated among us can sometimes start to slip. Letting your friends and family be involved in your journey can be extremely helpful in this regard. They can check in with you regularly to make sure you’re still on track, or gently remind you of your goals when you’re together. Alternatively, there are plenty of online communities and support groups formed by people going through the same experience.
Now that you’re ready to start, there’s one more thing you should keep in mind: Safe and long-lasting weight loss takes time. Not only can shocking your system with an extreme dietary change be harmful and make you feel miserable, but it’s also not an effective strategy. Taking your time and focusing on adhering to the realistic weight loss plan you’ve created is a much better way to retrain your body and adjust to new eating habits.
The best part? If you trust the process and take your time, you’ll not only look amazing, but you’ll feel amazing, too!
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