Not Nearly Enough People Do These 5 Things Before Starting a Diet

It’s no secret that dieting is hard. There’s a reason why an estimated 97% of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within just three years. A weight-loss plan is not something you should jump into the second your pants feel too tight. If you start a diet on a whim, chances are high you’ll bail out on a whim.

To diet successfully and make changes that stick, you’ll need to begin planning and preparing before starting the actual diet. The following changes will help lay the groundwork for your diet and the start of your new lifestyle.

1. Get your stats

Woman stepping onto a bathroom scale before starting a diet

Woman stepping onto a bathroom scale before starting a diet. | iStock.com

Weight loss is much more than a number on the scale. Go ahead and hop on a scale to get your pre-diet weight, but take other physical measurements so you can accurately track your progress. Take a before photo. Buy a measuring tape and measure your neck, shoulders, chest, bicep, waist, hips, and thighs. By tracking your body composition in more than one way, you’ll have a more accurate view of what’s working and not working as you begin your weight-loss plan and any supplemental training.

2. Choose a diet carefully

Organize diet plan

Grocery shop with a diet plan. | iStock.com

Skip over crash weight-loss plans that promise you’ll drop obscene amounts of weight in a short period of time and research options that provide long-term results and are medically backed. In a previous article, we researched some of the best diets, which included the Mayo Clinic Diet and Whole30. Choose a plan that suits your lifestyle or the lifestyle you want to lead. In some cases, like with Weight Watchers, the diet may be an ongoing tool you use to maintain your figure after the initial weight has been lost.

3. Clean house

Woman buying onions

Toss the junk food, then go shopping. | Thinkstock

Before you begin any sort of diet, rid your surroundings of tempting junk food. Go through your car, desk, and every secret stash in your home to get rid of non-diet-friendly foods. Then, head to the store and take your time choosing organic, healthy foods to take the place of the junk you trashed. Throughout your diet, and even for the foreseeable future, work to keep your house clear of foods that leave you feeling guilty and sick.

4. Set goals

Healthy resolutions written on a piece of paper

Write down your goals. | iStock.com

If you’re preparing to go on a diet, your goal is probably a no-brainer: weight loss. However, take time to contemplate the effect of losing some of your excess weight. Will it change the way you think of yourself or the way you act? Imagine the end result and then break your overarching goals into specific short-term goals. These smaller weekly goals will act as stepping stones to keep you on track and motivated when all you want to do is dive head first into a bowl of ice cream.

5. Review portion sizes

Food on a plate

Don’t over do it on the portion sizes. | iStock.com

Far too often people assume that because they’re eating healthy, whole foods, they’ll lose weight. Calories are calories and if you’re stuffing your face with whole-wheat penne, you won’t see the results you want. It’s all about portion control. One serving of dry cereal should be no bigger than your fist and a piece of meat as large as your palm. This portion size chart from the Dairy Council of California makes it easy.