How do I get started on a diet?

This question pops up all the time in our clinic and I think, given the amount of information out there today (books, morning news, internet, family and friends), people are a little bit overwhelmed. I mean, each one of the sources above is telling them to do something different, eat something different, and change what they are doing.

One of the biggest problems with people and their attempt(s) to loose body fat isn’t so much in what they AREN’T eating, as it is in what the ARE eating.

Whenever someone asks me how they should start a diet or which diet to choose, I ask them to first explain to me what they are eating. Usually the fumble and stumble around to give me something that is sort of concrete and makes sense. This just confirms to me that they have no clue what they are taking in.

They best way (in my opinion at least) to begin a diet is to first understand what you are putting into your body. Start an easy 7 day journal and write down everything you eat and drink through out each day. Then, look at it and see if you notice any patterns or any areas that may need more work. For example, it is common for people to come back and say things like:

“Wow, I don’t eat very many greens at all!”

Or

“I really should be drinking more water.”

Or

“I never realized how much (or little) I eat!”

Before you ever get into the fancy stuff, understand what you are currently doing and begin by making small changes. The goal isn’t to change everything overnight. Instead, the goal is to change a little each week in order to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. Just like changing our posture or gaining strength or putting on muscle mass, these things take time and like anything, if you try and rush the process, the end product typically comes out watered down and doesn’t have much “sticking power.”

Today is Tuesday. Begin your journal today and track it until next Monday…and don’t forget to note the buffalo wings you eat while watching football.

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