Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Successful Diet Plan

By: Debbie Fontana

Going on a new diet usually ranks about as high as going to the dentist.

You know you need to do it. But you procrastinate because your past experiences have been so unpleasant. Even torturous.

But there's one big difference between going to a dentist and going on a diet. The results from the dentist usually last.

So why don't the results of a diet usually last?

Because you have to eat several times every day. So if the only way to keep the weight off is a diet that seems as torturous as a trip to the dentist, is it any surprise most of us fail repeatedly?

I believe you'll have a greater chance for long-term success if you enjoy your weight loss program.

So here are my top 10 tips for choosing a successful diet plan:

1. You Have to Be Able to Live With Your Diet And Have a Life With It.

This is absolutely the most important tip.

If your diet seems like torture, if the food gives you no pleasure, if you're making yourself and everyone around you miserable, then you'll have trouble losing all the weight you want and keeping it off.

You have to make long-term changes in your eating habits to succeed with weight loss. So whatever you do to lose weight initially should be similar to how you keep it off.

That means you have to eat foods you enjoy. You have to be able to socialize at food-based events. You have to be able to enjoy life.

2. You Should Lose No More Than 2 Pounds a Week.

Sometimes, you may lose a little more at the beginning. But week-to-week, 2 pounds is enough. Anything more is unhealthy.

3. Your Diet Shouldn't Be Extreme in Any Way.

Unless your doctor advises you otherwise, it's unhealthy to eliminate entire food groups. A balanced diet provides vitamins and minerals to keep you strong.

So skip the diets with low-carb, all grapefruit, or whatever the latest fad is. Extreme diets usually don't work. At least not for very long.

4. You Should Have Minimal or No Hunger.

If you're losing only 1 or 2 pounds a week, you shouldn't experience tremendous hunger. Not if you plan your meals and snacks correctly.

5. You Should Have Lots of Food Choices.

There's no reason to restrict the kinds of food you eat week to week. I've never understood plans that say in Week 1, you can only eat these 10 foods. In Week 2, you can add another 5 foods. But if you gain weight, go back to Week 1.

If your diet doesn't work with every food from Day One, it's probably not going to work. Period.

6. You Should Be Able to Enjoy the Holidays.

If your diet doesn't build in holiday eating, you're going to do it anyway. You'll just ruin your diet.

That's why so many people start diets in January - after the holidays. Trouble is, the holidays always roll around later in the year. So you need to have a way to handle them.

7. Your Diet Has to Allow for Moments of Weakness.

Perfect diets are for perfect people. But there are no perfect people. So a perfect diet is destined to fail.

8. You Shouldn't Have to Exercise with the Diet To Lose Weight.

I'm not saying you shouldn't exercise. We all know exercise is healthy and it makes you feel good.

But the benefits of exercise should be a bonus. Not a necessary part of a diet plan.

After all, what if you become unable to exercise for some reason?

Or suppose you stop losing weight on your diet plan and you haven't reached a reasonable target weight. If the only way to start losing again is to exercise more, then the diet's not working.

9. You Should Get All the Information You Need When You Start the Diet.

If someone sells you a diet and you have to go back week after week to get more information, they're just trying to make money off of you. There's no reason why Week 1 should be substantially different from Week 9.

And when you pay your money, you should know what the entire diet system is about. How else can you evaluate if it's going to work for you?

10. You Should Control the Diet.

The diet shouldn't control you. By this, I mean that your diet should meet your needs and wants.

Strict rules just increase your chance of failure.

For example, if you like to snack in the evening, but your diet eliminates eating after 7PM, how are you most likely to fail on your diet?

That's right. By snacking in the evening.

But everyone has different needs and wants. So you have to be able to customize a diet to meet yours. Then you're more likely to succeed.

And of course, before starting any weight loss program, you should see your doctor to make sure your diet is right for you.

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