With all the different kinds of diets and crazy variety of workout programmes, it’s normal to feel a bit lost and not know where to begin. Changing your diet would be job one, but before even thinking about carbs and gym memberships, you need to do some prep work – set up a foundation and make sure that when you take down those pounds, they stay down. Follow our 5-step pre-diet plan and losing weight will be a piece of cake.
Find your motivation
Just like any other project, getting the body of your dreams needs a bit of planning. As silly as it may sound, keeping a journal goes a long way – it can help you regain your motivation when your will is shaking and follow your progress effectively.
Start by putting down the things you like about your body, and in a column next to it, the things you’d like to change. Try to be as honest with yourself as possible, no one else is going to read this but you. If you’re having trouble finding things you like about yourself, don’t give up – ask someone you trust what they think are your best features. Their answer might surprise you.
On a different page, write down why you want to lose weight and, most importantly, why you haven’t tried or succeeded so far. This will help you put things into perspective, keep you motivated and help you avoid making the same mistakes.
Set a goal
Throwing yourself head first into a weight loss programme aiming to “lose weight”, “slim down”, or “get a thigh gap” won’t get you very far. In order for your resolution to work, it needs specifics and an end-game. Before getting down to it, you need to ask yourself: “what?”, “why?” and “how?”. You’ve already figured out the “why?” part, now let’s cover the “what?” part.
Setting a specific goal is important, because it will help you keep your eye on the prize – which implies that you have to able to actually see the prize. For this part, you will need to draw an axis (or a chart, or a purple dinosaur, or whatever you like) on which you should mark your current weight, your goal weight and 2-3 milestones, depending on how much you plan to lose.
Weight isn’t necessarily key here, though. The idea of weight can seem a bit abstract and can be a meaningless number to some – if that’s the case for you, design your plan around dress sizes or measurements. You can make this easier by using a “prop” – that gorgeous dress or sexy pants you love, which don’t quite fit you anymore, but which you’ve kept packed away somewhere, just in case. Instead of a number of pounds, your goal could be fitting into that item.
Document your journey
This step can be a bit daunting in the beginning, but trust me, it will pay off later. Think of your weight loss project as a transformative journey – and what do you do when you go on such a journey? Take a lot of pictures.
Find a comfortable, well-lit spot (having a mirror in front of you is optional) and start taking your “before” shots: one naked, one in lingerie and one in your favourite item of clothing (you can use your chosen “prop” for this one).
These pictures will be a worth a lot in a couple of months, and for years to come. They will stand witness for all the hard work you put in and remind you how far you’ve come since you embarked on this journey.
Make small adjustments
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were you, so take it easy and give yourself time to adapt. Start by making small changes in your lifestyle, such as:
– park your car further away from your house, or get off the bus one stop earlier and walk home;
– try to ignore the elevator and take the stairs instead;
– eat at your desk instead of in bed or on the couch and after you’ve finished eating, do the dishes right away and make a phone call (to your mother, your boyfriend, your best friend, whomever) – that way you make sure you won’t lay down right after you’ve eaten; plus, the dishes are done and your mum will be happy to hear from you. Win-win-win!
– eat the same things you usually eat, but instead of frying them, steam them or grill them; for breakfast food, invest in a ceramic non-stick pan, so that you won’t be tempted to add extra oil when cooking eggs or pancakes;
– swap your favourite soda for a non-carbonated one, milk chocolate for dark chocolate and sugar for honey.
Make up an adjustment schedule you can comfortably maintain, so that, for instance, once a week you will introduce a new change into your daily routine. Make the transition as seamless as possible for you and your family – also, don’t forget to write down your progress in your journal.
Share your experience
This may be a personal undertaking, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. Be open and honest with those around you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice and support. As cheesy as it may sound, there are many people out there who are going through the same thing you are, and their experience can help you just as much as yours can help them. Go on forums, social media groups, blogs, and see what you can learn from other people’s stories – maybe you’ll discover that you have some useful insights, too.