It seems like everyone nowadays is trying to lose weight, tone up, or just finally achieve their goal body. However, we are overwhelmed with friends, family, the media telling us what we should and shouldn’t do, should and shouldn’t eat and for the newbie dieter, it can all feel frustrating and overwhelming.
There are so many different types of diets out there such as vegan, keto, paleo and so many different weight loss products such as shakes, pills and even stomach wraps. So, I want to address this at the start. Only follow I type of diet if you love it and think you will easily adhere to it. For example, if you are vegan for ethical reasons, then there is nothing wrong with eating this way. Don’t go vegan just because you think you might lose more weight. As for the shakes, pills, and wraps. This stuff is useless garbage that you do not need to spend your hard earned money on.
So, where do you start if you are completely new?
First, track what you are already eating for about a week or two. You can write it down if you like or use a food tracking app like My Fitness Pal. I recommend My Fitness Pal because it has a very large food library that makes tracking very easy. During this phase, do your best to not alter your usual habits. The point is not for you to judge yourself but to educate yourself on how much you are currently eating.
This will give you a clear view of what your diet actually looks like will often reveal some glaring areas that are in need of change. For example, maybe you get that fancy drink from Starbucks a few times a week thinking, how bad could it be? But now your eyes have been opened and maybe it’s time to cut back.
This leads to step two. Look over your food log and pick three to five things that you know you could do better. You do not need to be an expert in nutrition to do this. Even if you are completely new to dieting, chances are you know where you are slipping up. Now, pick two things that you can easily change and implement those changes over the next week or two. We will go back to our Starbucks example. One of those changes may be to change your drink order to something less sugar loaded or just cut out the drink from your week entirely. Maybe you’ve noticed that your vegetable intake is quite sad so you decide to add just one extra serving of veggies to your day. Two, simple changes.
Once these two changes having become habit, revisit your food log and pick one or more changes that you could make. Implement them for a week or two. With this method, over time, these small changes will add up to bit changes in the long run. It may not seem like much at first but as you incorporate more good eating habits, you will slowly begin to see changes in your body.
The idea is not to completely change your lifestyle right from the start. That will only set you up for failure, you will end up burning out, being miserable, and just reverting back to your old habits. Slow changes over time will allow you to make changes without feeling like your whole world has been flipped upside down, especially as someone who is new to dieting.
With this method, you will be able to educate yourself about your diet and make sustainable changes that will last in the long run.
Although I am a huge proponent of macro tracking, I do not believe that it is appropriate for the complete diet beginner. Once you become more experienced and are ready to take things to the next level, you can check out my post about how to start flexible dieting, how to calculate your macros, or contact me for personalized macronutrient coaching here.