How To Prepare
For A Diet

Contemplating a diet after the holidays? It's not something you should just jump into. Experts believe you're more likely to stick to a plan if you prepare yourself both mentally and physically. What steps should you be taking now to build a positive and successful approach to dieting when the time comes? Read on to find out.

Woman standing on scale

Set a goal

An important part of planning your diet program is to know how much weight and fat you want to lose. The best way to do that? Step on the scales to see how much you weigh and take measurements of your waist, hips, thighs and arms. Record your readings. From there, you can set goals on how much weight and inches you want to shed.

Calculate your body mass index (BMI)

Make a weight loss plan

Once you've set your target weight or have decided the number of inches you want to lose, the next step is to devise a sensible weight loss plan. Look hard at the foods and drinks in your kitchen and the kind of diet you regularly consume. Are you seeing more carbs than veggies? Is your freezer full of red meat instead of lean fish and poultry? Commit to incorporate more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your daily diet and minimize your intake of empty calorie, processed foods.

Make a diet plan with MyPyramid Tracker

See your doctor

Before you start any diet plan, it's important to talk to your doctor first. This is especially important if you have any medical conditions. Your health care provider can help guide you along your weight loss way and make sure the diet plan you have in mind is right for you. You might also consider a few visits with a registered dietician, who can help you design practical menus that will keep you motivated to eat right and lose weight.

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Know your portions

Portion sizes at restaurants and the sizes of packaged foods have exploded over the past few decades. To help you cut calories, it's important to learn proper serving sizes and portions.

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Educate yourself

Do your research to learn as much as you can about proper nutrition and the foods you should be consuming on a daily basis. Further, gain an understanding about calories, the number of calories you should be eating, and how sensibly reducing them can help you lose weight. Purchase a book or use an Internet program that gives the amount of calories in various foods so you get a good idea of the number of calories you consume and where you should cut back. Another tip: Learn how many calories you can shred with physical activity so you can factor calories burned into your diet plan.

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Unlearn bad habits

It takes almost a month to break a bad habit, but only two to three weeks to create a new one, so one of the hardest parts of starting a diet is kicking old habits to the curb. Do you munch on bits and pieces throughout the day? Are you apt to open a bag of chips even after you've had a solid dinner? Do you indulge in a glass of wine every night? All of these habits can add excess calories to your diet and make it difficult to reach your weight loss goals. Start documenting the foods you're eating and the times you eat in a food journal. You'll get a clearer picture of the bad eating habits you need to break and can develop a plan to overcome them.

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