Diets are usually designed for one or two purposes: Reduce fat cells and/or increase muscle. When you’re starting out on this journey, it’s important to customize a diet that’s just for you. Just like a tool to reach sobriety, a promotion, or anything else planning is an important part of the goal phase.
Every person is different, which means every diet isn’t for everybody. Do you want to solely decrease or increase fat cell size? Are you looking to increase muscle mass? A combination? Determining what you want from your diet will drive your decisions moving forward.
Also, consider that not all calories are created equally. You might want to reduce fat cells in order to make your clothes fit better, or maybe increase muscle because you like the look of swollen triceps in a tank top. That’s great, and a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem, but it’s important to get there safely. Technically, you probably could reduce fat cells on a diet of nothing but 1,000 calories per day of sugar-free chocolates, but at what cost? It’s not sustainable, it’s not healthy, and your body will being revolting when it realizes it’s not getting anywhere near the nutrition it needs.
Ready to get started? Here are six ways to craft a diet that works for your goals:
- Write down a series of goals, both long-term and short-term. A goal might be “lose 50 pounds” but that’s going to take awhile to do in a healthy manner. It will be easy to get caught up in the negativity and give up. You can certainly include that as a goal, as long as it’s reasonable, but also include baby steps to get there. Share your list with your doctor, nutritionist, or other expert and make sure they’re on board. You can also recruit loved ones to be your cheerleaders.
- Get in sync with a nutritionist you trust. If you don’t already have a nutritionist, add one to your health dream team. They can be a great resource and source of support during your diet journey. They can help with meal prep ideas, help navigate you towards healthier alternatives, and educate you on nutrition as it impacts you.
- Write down your grocery list. When you have a list written down, you’re much less likely to shop on a whim. Also, avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Instead, choose a time when it’s not busy and you know exactly where you need to go to pick up everything on your list. Stress can add to the temptation to ditch the list and shop off-course.
- Get the rest of the house on board. If you live with others, it can be tempting to sneak some of “their food” while on your diet journey. Not everyone needs to be on the same plan, in fact that’s likely not a good idea, but there’s no “need” to have sheer junk food in the house. Eating wholesome, healthy, local and organic can be a goal for everyone. Modeling healthy eating is also important for parents.
- Keep a food diary if that works for you. Does the idea of a food diary inspire you? Or does it make you feel like you’ll get a little too obsessive over calorie-counting? This doesn’t work for everyone, but if it resonates with you it can help you visually see what you’re consuming. All those little snacks and bites add up.
- Don’t taste-test if you’re counting calories. Trust yourself and the recipes, especially if you’re cooking for others and it’s not within your diet. This can be too tempting a task for many people—and a great excuse to teach the kids to cook some basics for themselves.
What tools work for you when crafting a diet?