Putting The Pieces Together: Tips On Starting A Diet

Oh it’s so nice to be home. Not that being on vacation wasn’t nice, but it was refreshing to walk through my front door and be greeted by my favorite 4-legged girls.

I’ve never seen Nike so excited to see us, and Zoe was her normal lovey self, by my side the entire night.

But forget about being home, let’s rewind a bit! 

Before we headed home from Florida thought, I decided to relax at night with a puzzle. No one else likes puzzles so it was all me. I didn’t mind, it was calming. I got through the entire thing only to realize that I was missing a few pieces. Don’t you hate that!

I was so close.

Not the prettiest of puzzles, but I didn’t have a lot to choose from in our rental. I was thankful I found this one in my brother’s place.

Between the puzzle and the vacation cheat days (I had a few more glasses of wine and margaritas than normal), it got me thinking about losing weight.

All the pieces that have to come together to make you be successful. Leave one piece out and you set yourself up for disappointment.

It rang out even more when I called me mom (who is still in Florida) to tell her we arrived home safely and she proudly informed me that come Monday, she was going to lose 20 pounds.

Monday of course because she is after all still on vacation.

The Dark Side Of Diets

This isn’t the first diet she has attempted to lose weight. I am pretty sure that over just the past 5 years, I have heard her tell me over a dozen times she was going to lose weight and follow my advice. But just because your daughter is a personal trainer, doesn’t mean you want to listen to her.

This time is going to be different, it might take tough love from me but  I want to do everything in my power to make sure it’s the last time she ever tells me she is going to start losing weight. Dan even suggested I make a care package of my favorite foods and workouts! I’m thinking about it.

Did you know that by the time most women are in their 40’s they’ve been on 60+ diets! And it’s all because they don’t know how to properly diet and make the weight stay off.

If you’re where my mom is, then these tips are for you. I want to do everything in my power to make this time, the last time. So let’s put together your weight loss journey so you don’t end up missing some pieces, your puzzle will be complete!

Tips On Getting Started With A Diet Weight Loss Plan

1. Don’t Call It a “Diet”. Take away the “t” and what’s left? DIE… because dieting to most women feels like death. Instead of trying to cut out carbs, or cut out fats, or try to decrease your calories as low as possible, focus on the overall picture. Creating a healthier lifestyle. It’s a known fact that you should be eating vegetables with each meal, so if that’s not happening make it a priority. If you drink 2% milk, switch to skim. If you eat white bread, go for Ezekiel or whole wheat. Aim for better decisions.

2. Make A List & A Plan. I don’t go to the grocery store any more with a list. It cuts back on splurges, makes the shopping go by faster, and saves money. But it’s more than that, because you’ll be able to make sure you’re buying waist friendly foods. And you’ll have everything you need for a week of great dinners. No more standing in front of the fridge annoyed at what to fix. With a list you can plan out dinners for the week to ensure healthy weight-loss dinners. Each night, I just look on the fridge to see what’s on the stove top schedule. I can’t believe I didn’t start doing this years ago.

3. Exercise Without Excuses. Getting started with working out is the hardest part. Because it’s easy to make excuses. You’re tired, you’re out of shape, you should lose weight with diet first and then move into exercise. No, no and no. Don’t let these thoughts creep up. Diet and exercise go hand in hand so that you not only lose weight, but more importantly lose body fat. Keep your metabolism charged, lean out while toning up. A workout plan should include strength training and cardio. Both… not one or the other.

4. Don’t skip meals. I’ve heard my own mother say this… “oh I skipped lunch so that I could eat this.” No, those actions lead to more bad than good. Because it will cause large fluctuations in blood sugar which promotes fat storage, but also decreases your overall metabolism. Don’t skip out on meals, eat every 3-4 hours for energy and metabolic control.

5. Focus On Success. It’s easy to get worked up when you aren’t seeing results fast enough. But don’t let it bring you down or push you to make the drive to the cupcake store. Instead focus on the great success you’re seeing. Maybe you feel more energized walking the stairs at work, maybe you’re sleeping better at night, maybe you’re having more “regular” bathroom times. And perhaps you have noticed your clothes fitting differently even though the scale doesn’t show you want you would like to see.

6. Have a Cheat Day. If you’ve been a clean success all week then celebrate with a cheat day. Indulge in ice cream, grill up the burger you’ve been craving, whatever. Because when you’re watching what you eat, your calories are going to naturally come down and with that it means you want to tell your body you are doing it on purpose so it doesn’t decrease your metabolism (which is what happens when you count calories all the time). So have a cheat day, it will actually increase your metabolism and help you to know you’re not depriving yourself.

7. Track Everything. This doesn’t sound like fun from the start but it is. Tracking is key to keeping you motivated and keeping yourself accountable. Track what workout you’re doing, how you’re doing it (weights used, reps, etc). With your nutrition, at least for the first 2 weeks, write down everything you eat. This will help you see where your danger zones lie and help you to make better choices when you know you have to write it down. Even if it’s just a Hershey Kiss, write it down in a journal. Or you can use an App like My Fitness Pal.

It might seem like there are lots of steps here, but all of them play off each other. Once you make the commitment to yourself to follow through with losing weight, these will be easy to implement. Just have the confidence in yourself to be able to do it.


  • Are you a puzzle person? 
  • When was the last time you said you wanted to lose weight?


  • Marion James

    I start diets and nothing works.sighs

    • Something can work! You can do it Marion!

  • I think the biggest reason people keep going on and off “diets” (at least, the people I know) is because they think of their “diet” as a temporary condition. As if they just have to be really good for a few months to get to their goal weight, and then they think they can eat whatever they want again. But then their weight creeps up again and the whole thing starts all over. So the hardest thing seems to be realizing that while yes, you can eat more calories if you’re trying to maintain (vs the calories you eat when you’re trying to lose), you still have to make good choices after you lose the weight, and for the rest of your life. Just because you recently lost 30 pounds doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention to what you’re doing today.

    Oh, and #6 is hugely essential, IMO. I would have never lost weight without it. I’ve been watching old episodes of the Biggest Loser lately. And while I don’t want to try to say that BL promotes weight loss in a healthy way (losing 10 pounds a week, over and over, is crazytown IMO), it can’t be argued that they do lose serious amounts of weight on that show. And in one of the earlier seasons, there was a little “trainer tip” that was only maybe 30 seconds long where Bob Harper explained that even contestants on the Biggest Loser have cheat days every week. If a show that lives and dies by massive weight losses has cheat days, I think it’s safe to say it’s not going to hurt your diet. I really wish they made a bigger deal out of it on that show. Other than that one little “tip” I’ve never heard it mentioned.

    • Awesome points made Kelly. Thanks so much for sharing! It is all about lifestyle. And I love that Bob mentioned the cheat days too. They are vital for our sanity and guilt management.

  • Debra

    I am definitely a puzzle person. Our sons know that over the Christmas holiday we will have a new puzzle on the table. One of the boys even buys me one for a gift now… 🙂

    The biggest obstacles for me are coming home exhausted and wishing to eat out but having a difficult time finding a place with truly healthy food. Why are there such few places? Because the food cost is too high? And a nice glass of red wine is the other… Why can’t the body metabolize alcohol???

    I do all of the cooking and cleaning up. Sometimes it does not seem worth it….

    • That’s awesome about puzzle time. My sister-n-law has the tradition to always do one during christmas and then take a picture with it. She’s got over 25 pictures of holiday puzzles now. I just wished she was with me during this trip to help!

  • golcheen

    i am 57 years and losing weight for forty years but no result.i have 100 kg,and i am warid about my weight .there is no trend in our country of have foods and drinks .only fruits and vges.pleez help me

    • i am sorry for your frustrations and it’s something a lot of women suffer with. Are you working out? And having a balanced diet, even a diet high in fruits and veggies can be unbalanced.

      For more help you can find workouts and meal advice at my site: http://www.theartofweightlifting.com Love to help yoU!

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