How to Lose Weight, Starting a Diet: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

how to lose weight, starting a diet

(Flickr/Alan Cleaver)

Starting a diet is more than just deciding that it’s time to lose weight. The first mistake that dieters make is that they figure that all they have to do is eat less bread, potatoes and rice, exercise a little and the pounds will melt off. That won’t work.

They will be part of the 95 percent who fail.

Here’s what you need to know to get started:

1. You Need Realistic Goals

The average person thinks they can easily lose 15-20 pounds in a month. They cannot. Many dieting techniques claim that you will lose up to two pounds per day. They are not correct and you will not succeed.

The reason they make these wild claims is that they know in the first week of a diet, when your body enters into a calorie deficit, you lose a lot of extra water. Water is heavy and can account for as much as five to seven pounds lost in the first week. But that is not sustainable. They leave that part out.

What is reasonable? One pound per week.

2. You Need to Stick With It

If you want to lose 20-50 pounds, at a pound per week, it is going to take a lot of time.

However, it took you a lifetime to gain the extra weight so you cannot expect to reverse that overnight.

Instead, focus on managing your new eating plan for a while. Set a date when you hope to hit your goal weight.

At some point you are going to fall down on your diet. That is okay. Don’t throw in the towel and reach for the cookie jar. Instead, get back to the diet and move your goal date back a week or two.

3. Find a Diet That Makes Sense for You

If you like meat and potatoes, it won’t make any sense to find a diet that eliminates meat and potatoes. You will just give up quickly, go back to your meat and potatoes and regain all of your lost weight.

If you don’t like salads, don’t try a plan that relies on salads. Instead find a plan that permits you to keep eating what you like but teaches you how to eat less of it.

4. Don’t Deprive Yourself (Too Much)

Plans that include giving up some of your favorite, high-calorie comfort food are doomed. Let’s face it: we don’t take kindly to deprivation.

Instead, limit yourself to a smaller amount every day. If you binge on chips, measure out a few ounces in the morning and when that’s gone … you’re done.

If you like ice cream, try limiting yourself to a serving or two per week instead of every day. And of course, measure out a half-cupful and don’t go back for more. You will find that the smaller amount gives more satisfaction because you will enjoy it more.

5. Stay Motivated

The hardest part is to stay motivated. Most diets crash and burn in the second month. The scale isn’t cooperating anymore no matter how disciplined you are.

You have to remember that this isn’t a sprint but a marathon.

If you continue to do the right thing day after day you will succeed.