Do you have a few stubborn pounds you’d like to lose? If so, you may be starting a diet in the near future. However, past diet failures may have drained your confidence. If you can relate, the following 5 tips may help you achieve lasting success this time.

5 Tips For Starting a Diet

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If you want to lose weight and keep it off permanently, you must burn more calories than you consume. In order to accomplish this difficult task, most people alter their eating habits. While this is beneficial, merely starting a diet may not help you achieve your long-term weight loss goals. In addition to monitoring your food intake, you should start exercising regularly. Cardiovascular exercise will help you burn fat while strength training will help you create long, lean muscles. Exercising can also help you stick to a new eating plan. After a 90 minute workout at the gym, you probably won’t want to waste your hard work on a donut, a bowl of ice cream, or a plate of French fries.

Keep a Food Journal

Many people simply don’t realize the amount or types of foods they are eating on a regular basis. If you think you are one of these people, you need to keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat each day. This list should include all of your meals, snacks, and drinks. By knowing you will have to write down what you eat, you will probably weigh your decisions more carefully. By looking at the foods you’ve eaten over a period of time, you will also likely start to notice patterns. For instance, when you don’t eat breakfast, you may notice that you consume more calories at lunch and dinner. Or, when you’re stressed at work, you may discover that you load up on refined carbohydrates.

Fill Up with Fiber

When starting a diet, you should always incorporate several healthy sources of fiber into your daily meals. Besides being beneficial to your digestive system, fiber helps you feel full longer. Some good sources of fiber include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains

Avoid Unhealthy Fads

Whenever you turn on your television or surf the internet, you are likely bombarded with advertisements for the latest fad diets. Some of these diets may require you to avoid entire food groups, only drink shakes, or only eat at certain times of the day. While you may initially lose weight by following these types of plans, you might end up feeling hungry and depressed before the end of your first week. Besides being ineffective, some fad diets are downright dangerous. When evaluating a potential diet plan, “skip any programs that promote detoxification pills, laxatives, fasting, or potions, and any that promise weight loss faster than 2-3 pounds per week.”

Plan for Splurges

While trying to stick to your diet, you will inevitably face all sorts of temptations. For instance, you significant other may surprise you with a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Or, you might need to attend several of your best friend’s wedding festivities that include tantalizing treats. Let’s face it; many of the special moments in our lives involve delicious, albeit fattening, foods. This fact doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself at home forever. You simply need to plan for special splurges. If you know you will be consuming a few extra calories at dinner, eat a light breakfast and lunch. Or, log an extra 30 minutes of hard work at the gym.

For many people, starting a diet is a frightening undertaking. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling anxious about a new eating plan, follow the aforementioned 5 tips. Before you know it, you might be enjoying the thrill of victory over those pesky pounds.

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