There are a number of reasons people diet. Some do it for weight loss. Others have a newly diagnosed condition their doctors say needs immediate attention. Many people just don’t feel good, and want to make positive changes before it’s too late.
Whatever your motivation, going on a diet is hard. If you’re afraid your diet will fail (again), here are a few questions to ask yourself to gauge whether or not you’re ready to commit.
1. Do you have a goal in mind? Is it realistic?
The first step to a successful diet is setting a goal. Mayo Clinic suggests setting a goal that’s both attainable and realistic. You wouldn’t want to set a goal to lose 20 pounds in a week, for example, because that’s neither possible nor healthy.
Already at a healthy weight? You don’t have to limit your diet goals to weight loss. You can also aim to exercise more often (at least 150 minutes per week, according to the CDC), eat more vegetables at every meal, or even shoot for something as simple as leaving the grocery store without buying ice cream.
2. Can you hold yourself accountable?
Everyday Health suggests keeping a food diary and tracking your physical activity to stay motivated and make slow but steady progress toward your goals. For many people, daily weighing can also take on a key accountability role when you’re dieting, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Some research suggests people who weigh themselves every day lose and maintain weight more successfully. You’re also more likely to stick to your diet if you’re closely tracking your progress.
3. Have you done your homework?
Align your goals with your specific needs and plan accordingly. If Harvard Health Publications says you need 0.36 grams of protein per pound, figure out how to split 50 grams of protein between meals for optimal weight loss. If you’re trying to eat more vegetables to increase your fiber intake, search for recipes that will help you met the USDA’s recommended 2 1/2 to 3 cups per day.
4. Is your kitchen up to the task?
You don’t need a fancy kitchen, expensive appliances, or trendy gadgets to follow a successful diet. However, some products might save you a ton of time and make dieting easier. Also, make sure you’re prepared to store food properly for later use. Follow Real Simple’s leftover food storage guide to make the most of your healthy food purchases.