Define your long-term goals. People adopt different diets or eating styles for a variety of reasons. Your ultimate, long-term goal will help you choose which diet plan is the best for you. Some goals may include:
- Weight Loss
- Managing high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol
- Supporting increased fitness levels
- Becoming more environmentally conscious
- Improving your general health or wellness
Take note of your past dieting experience. If you’ve tried other diets or eating patterns, try to remember how they worked for you, what you liked or didn’t like about them and whether you felt they were a good fit for your lifestyle.
- For example, if you tried following a vegetarian diet, but missed eating meat. Or if you tried a low carb diet, but it made you feel foggy and tired throughout the day. If a diet didn’t work well in the past, you may want to consider other options.
- Sticking to a diet plan takes more than willpower. It truly has to be a plan you can stick with long-term.
Set your dieting budget. Each diet or eating plan may come with a cost. You might need to pay for pre-made foods, protein shakes or vitamin and mineral supplements. But there are also many diets that require little to no extra costs.
- Choose a diet plan that will fit easily within your budget so that you don’t have to discontinue your new eating pattern due to high costs.
- Take advantage of “sign-up offers” or promotional rates when you can. This may help you save a little money on some of the more popular dieting programs.
Design a plan for your lifestyle. Some diet plans require you to prep all your meals and snacks from scratch, some may be completely web and internet-based and others may require in person group or individual meetings. Will these types of activities fit with your current lifestyle? Think about how that may change or need to change for you to be successful on your new dieting plan. If you have to change your lifestyle too drastically, the diet plan may be difficult to stick to long-term.
- Some diet plans require time spent cooking while others do the meal prep for you. If cooking is something you don’t typically enjoy doing, think about a diet plan that involves meal replacements like protein shakes, bars or pre-made meals.
- Make sure to consider your social life as well. If you love going out to eat or going to the occasional happy hour, you’ll want a plan that gives you flexibility to enjoy those activities.
- Also consider things like food allergies or sensitivities and cultural or religious diet restrictions. Many diets are very general and may not account for things like these.
Include regular exercise. Physical activity is an important part to any healthy lifestyle. Plan on including both cardio and strength training exercises each week. These types of physical activity can help boost your weight loss and help you maintain your goal weight long-term.
- In addition, exercise may help improve your mood, improve your sleeping habits, manage high blood pressure or diabetes and improve cardiovascular fitness.
- If you’re new to fitness, try speaking with a personal trainer at your local gym or meeting with an exercise specialist. These professionals will be able to guide you to a fitness program that’s appropriate for you.
- See if there are any group classes for beginners at your local gym. This is a great way to get started and get support from people starting out just like you.
Talk to your doctor. Speak to your doctor about your current health, any medical conditions you may have and what medications you’re currently taking. They may be able to give you insight on what type of diet or eating pattern is the most appropriate for you and your health. They may also advise you on what diets to avoid.
- Many doctors also provide an in-house diet and nutrition program for patients. It generally will include direct follow up with your physician along with regular weight monitoring.
- Doctors can provide you with a referral to a registered dietitian that can educate you and help design your own personalized diet plan.
- In addition, doctors will be able to guide you through medical weight loss. This is where a physician would prescribe a medication to help suppress your appetite, making it easier for you to follow a diet plan. Not all weight loss medications are appropriate for all people. Check with your doctor for more information.