The trite, overused phrase ‘if you fail to plan, you’re really just planning to fail’ could never be more true when it comes to executing a successful weight loss program. The most important place to start is determining how much weight you want to lose in a given time period so you can have realistic goals to shoot for. While many people have in their minds a certain amount they want to lose, it may not be possible in the amount of time they’re willing to diet for. This can be figured by a calculation taken from your body fat percentage. Before starting any weight loss program, get your body fat measured by a qualified professional so you know how much fat you actually need to lose. Once you know this, you can set realistic goals and expectations. For mental and physiological health reasons, do not try dieting for longer than 12-16 weeks at a time. Depending on your muscular tone, physical conditioning, body type and several other factors, you can expect to lose 6-20 pounds of body weight in the first 3-4 weeks of any correctly designed nutrition program. Beyond this, a reasonable goal is to try to lose 2 pounds/week for the remainder of the time.
This means a realistic weight loss goal is between 30-40 pounds in a 3-4 month period. If you have 100 lbs. to lose for example, you will need more than one nutrition program to reach this goal. If you need more than one diet program, do not plan on doing one right after another as you will have diminishing returns. For large amounts of weight to lose, string several diet programs together with short breaks in between. For example, if you have to lose 100 lbs., plan on doing so with three 12 week programs spaced 10 days – 2 weeks apart. To accomplish this, take a break from low calorie eating during the down times however continue to eat the food on your diet, just in larger portions. Expect to put on 5-8 pounds in between diet plans and account for this in your overall weight loss strategy. If you need several diets like this to achieve your goals, sketch out the big plan on a one year calendar but only worry about details of each program as you’re getting ready to execute it.
Once you’ve decided how long your program will be (or how many programs you may need), the next most important planning step is the actual diet. No matter which guru you choose to follow, the best advice is to write down your eating plan before you start. Do not start your weight loss program without a written map to follow or you will veer off the course. Whether you’re eating three pre-made microwave meals plus a delicious shake, counting points with an app on your phone or following a bite by bite buy S4 SARMs menu, write it down before executing. Writing down your diet menu will take all the guesswork out of what to eat, when and how much. While this step may take some time to accomplish, if your plan is correctly put together with the right foods and quantities, it will nearly guarantee your success.
For consistent weight loss, it’s important you eat the same amount of calories each day. Flying by the seat of your pants and eating different foods every day can easily cause erratic calorie intake and make it harder to lose body fat. A written diet plan will ensure your calories stay consistent. This also makes it easier to raise or lower your calories as you need so you can control your weight loss. If you’re eating too many calories and need to cut back, a written diet plan will help you decide which foods (and how much) to reduce. Keeping a written log of your eating will also help you stay mentally strong on your program. If you’re committed to eating only the foods written on your diet plan, this will keep your mind from wandering into craving goodies that will derail your efforts. A good written plan may also serve well as an accurate shopping list. After following your written nutrition plan meticulously for a period of time, you will soon have it memorized but until you do, you should keep it by your side every time you prepare and/or eat a meal.