5 Things to Do When You're Starting a Diet

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Are you starting a diet? At this early stage in the weight loss process, you're probably full of energy and enthusiasm. You’re committed to better eating habits, diet, and a regular program of exercise. You're ready for a change.

During this new and exciting stage, you should take the time to set up an organized program that will give you the results you deserve. There are five things you need to do when you're starting a diet. Use this list and take as much time as you need to complete each task. The success of your program may depend on it.

1. Check in With Your Doctor

Your physician may be able to provide essential information that can help you lose weight more effectively. Make an appointment with your doctor and ask important weight loss questions while you’re there. Take notes and add the information to your diet journal. You can also take this opportunity to ask for weight loss help. You may be able to get a referral to a registered dietitian, a diabetes educator, or a physical therapist. Each of these professionals can work together with you to help you reach your weight loss goals.

2. Set Goals

Of course, your goal is to lose weight. But it’s important to set more specific long and short-term goals for your program. These goals create a pathway for you to follow and help you to build the confidence you need to make it through the tough times when you are dieting. Take 20-30 minutes to think about your long-term wishes for improved health or confidence. Then break that long-term goal into smaller weekly goals that act as stepping stones to keep you on track. 

3. Set up a Diet Journal

Usually, weight loss coaches ask you to keep a food diary while you are dieting. And that's a good habit. But it is also important to know your food habits before you diet. So when you're starting a diet, keep a log of how many calories you eat every day. That number provides a starting point for the entire weight loss program. Then maintain your weight loss journal throughout the dieting process. A well-organized weight loss journal helps many dieters stay on target when challenges arise.

4. Find out How Much to Eat

There are five different methods you can use to figure out how many calories you should eat to lose weight. Once you've completed step #3 above, you can learn to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. You might choose to lose one pound per week or to lose two pounds per week. The number of calories you cut will vary depending on your weight loss goals that you set in step #2.

5. Manage Your Energy Balance

There are three different ways to lose weight. You can cut calories, you can burn more calories with exercise, or you can combine both for faster weight loss. Decide which method works best for your lifestyle and eating style. Then figure out your energy balance and get ready to slim down.

A Word From Verywell

As you move through your weight loss plan, remember that you can come back to any of these steps to make changes. Adjust your goals, check in with your physician or re-evaluate your energy balance if you aren’t getting the results you need.

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