Losing weight often requires advancing successfully through a series of diet phases. Getting ready for the diet, adjusting to the diet, maintaining it, reaching your goal, and maintaining your weight are all different diet phases you often must pass through before achieving your weight loss goals.
The Diet Planning Phase
Going on a diet is a conscious decision and requires planning. In the planning stage, you want to think about how much weight you want to lose and define a realistic time frame for reaching your goal. If you want to lose 20 pounds, for example, you might decide to achieve this goal at a pace of about 2 pounds per week. You then know that you have to allow yourself 10 weeks to reach your goal.
Part of the planning phase is also determining what type of diet makes the most sense for you. At this stage you might also determine what tools and strategies you will use to track your weight loss progress. For example, you might decide to use a food journal to track your daily caloric intake. You might also decide to weigh yourself once a week.
Beginning the Diet
When you’re ready to start your diet, the temptation may be to weigh yourself constantly to track whether or not your diet strategy is working. As diet phases go, the beginning phase can be difficult for some people. This is the phase where you are adjusting to new eating habits. You might have to deal with cravings or feelings of deprivation. During this phase, it’s often less about weighing yourself and more about finding the support that you need to adjust to your new diet plan. Dieting with a friend or planning other activities that take your mind off of food are often useful strategies.
Maintaining the Diet
As you progress weeks into your diet, tracking your weight loss goals means weighing yourself on a regular basis and determining if the diet is working for you. This is a time for assessing whether you are adhering to your intended diet plan and if you are seeing results in the form of losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. Keeping this goal realistic is important for sticking to your diet and reaching your weight loss goal.
Reaching Your Diet Goal
As you approach your desired weight loss goal, this can be an exciting time. You are able to physically see a difference when you look in the mirror. Your clothes might fit differently. Your hard work has paid off at this stage. This is a time to reward yourself in some way; maybe buy yourself tickets to your favorite show or a pair of new jeans.
Weight Maintenance Phase
Once you have reached your ideal weight, you enter into the weight maintenance phase. Some dieters skip this important phase of all diet phases. The healthy eating and exercise habits you sustained through your weight loss plan still need to be maintained. You won’t be cutting calories as much as you used to, but creating a weight maintenance plan will help you to maintain your new, fit body.