Hooray! You’ve made the decision to change your diet. You’ve done your research and you’ve found the program that works for you. But before you throw yourself headlong into your new regime, take a moment to stop, think and organise yourself.
Why You Need to Organise Yourself before You Start Your Diet
If you jump into any new project before you’re ready, you are more likely to stumble or get frustrated. That can lead to you quitting before you’ve even really begun. You want to set yourself up for greatness and that means planning before you start your diet.
When you start a new diet, you’ll usually focus on the outcomes. And that’s great – it’s important to visualize your end goal. But take a step back. Think about the next few months. What does this diet mean for your life, your work, your social life, and your family? Are you ready to make changes to your eating habits and do you really understand what that means?
Take the South Beach diet, for example. It consists of three phases: a restrictive phase, a weight loss phase, and then a maintenance phase. The restrictive phase can be really tough. You’ll be cutting out foods that you love and eating things that you usually don’t.
But it’s only two weeks! That’s not that long. You can mentally prepare yourself by putting a calendar on your wall with the days marked so that you know exactly when phase one ends. Or set yourself a reminder in your phone – something that pops up each morning and says “great job! Just 5 days to go!” These little cues can help you stay on track when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Sit down and make a list. Remind yourself why you’re starting this diet. Write each positive goal on a post-it note and put them in places where you can see them each day. Remember, you are doing this for you. Be proud of yourself for starting.
And above all, be brave. You can do this.
Prepare Your Home
Prepare your home and kitchen for your new regime. That means clearing out all the junk food – all of it. Biscuits, crisps, cake mix, sweets, chocolate, you name it, it’s gotta go. Depending on your diet, you may also need to get rid of pasta, bread, pot noodles, and any other carb-heavy foods that might be lurking around. That includes all of your microwave meals!
In their place, stock up on lots of veggies. Remember, frozen veg is just as good as fresh, and most diets will let you eat as many vegetables as you like. Fill your freezer with peas, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. If you are tempted to snack, you can have a delicious bowl of steamed veggies.
Prepare Your Friends and Family
You never go on a diet alone. Even if you’re the only one changing your eating habits, your friends and family will be impacted in some way. Food is fundamentally social, and the people around you will need to know about your new regime.
You want your friends and family to support you. Let them know clearly – “I’m starting this new diet. This is what I can and can’t eat. This is how long it will last. Please be considerate.”
Think about your domestic set-up. Do you usually cook the family meals? You might have to ask your partner to take over cooking duties for a few weeks. Or if that’s not possible, let your family know that you’ll be preparing your food and they can add to it if they want.
Do you have any social engagements or birthdays that can’t be missed? Write them in your calendar. Think about how you can work your diet around them. Most diets will let you have the occasional day off. But if you have five birthdays in one month, consider starting your new program after that.
If you have to turn down a dinner invitation, be honest. Say something like, “I’d love to, but I really want to succeed on this diet. Can we reschedule to next week?” Alternatively, you can choose a restaurant that you know will be able to cater to your food needs.
Going on a diet does not mean the end of your social life. But you will have to take control of where and when you eat. This is not the time to be shy! Let people know that this is important to you and ask them to be flexible.
Prepare Your Workplace
Finally, you’ll need to prepare your workplace. Get rid of all the junk food hiding in your desk drawers. Get yourself good lunch boxes so that you can bring in all your meals and snacks from home. Scope out your nearest cafes to see which ones you’ll be able to eat at. And when you can’t have a slice of birthday cake, decline with a smile.
Remember, you are doing this for you. Be brave, be organised, and be successful.