How Do You Start a Diet?

Updated on January 17, 2009
B.H. asks from Glencoe, MN
18 answers

I've never had to diet before. Before my first son, I weighed 110 lbs. After he was born I did nothing to lose the weight. (big mistake and I hated the way I felt) Then I got pregnant again and I'm determined to get back in shape! My question is, How do you start a diet? Is there a diet out there that is better than another? How do you stick with it? Any suggestions or tips would be great!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I love Weight Watchers- it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. I did it online and never went to meetings. I also got into Spark people on-line. I was into that before I got pregnant with #2, and after I hit goal with Weight Watchers. Spark is free. Weight Watchers has fees.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

I am enjoying the book "You on a Diet" one of the authors is Dr. Oz. the book makes a lot of sense and has been helpful.
Good luck,

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answers from Minneapolis on

i've just in the last couple of days started on so far i really like it, and it's completely free!! it helps you track food/nutrition info, working out/calories burned, helps set goals and is a whole on-line (with looks like some local opts) group of support. There's seems to be a whole lot more to it, i just haven't explored everything yet!

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answers from Davenport on

I think if you start a diet, which is completely different from your habits now, you probably won't stick to it. I lost the weight by making small changes, it did take some time. Once I felt comfortable about keeping the change as part of my routine, I went to the next step. Example: I starting by stopping the soda, then I started walking on the treadmill, then I slowed down on the fast food and try to order healthier items, etc. I know when I tried a "diet" I just could stick to it.

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answers from Milwaukee on

I like Weight Watchers, because you always feel in control- you're cutting down and not eating special foods or separate meals. You have to count the points you eat, which is a pain at first, but you quickly have a lot of the point system memorized and can say to yourself- well, do I really want to eat these 3 points right now or...anyways going to the meetings keeps you accountable and they always have great new recipes, tips and encouragement from others.

If you don't have the time with two little ones-change one thing. Maybe for you that would be cutting down on late night snacking(my biggest problem), take a 15min walk each day, go up and down the stairs a few extra times, etc. Find one thing, stick with it and enjoy the benefits.
Good Luck!



answers from Minneapolis on is a great place to start and learn your needs. Good luck!



answers from Rochester on

I don't "diet", but I do something similar to Weight Watchers. I look at calories, and how many servings of grains, protiens, fats, dairy and veggies/fruit I've had per day. I get 4 servings of grain, 3 protein, as many as I want of fruit/veggies, 3 dairy and 4 tablespoons of fats (ie peanut butter, butter, etc).

I started by cutting out pop and a lot of snacks. My biggest problem was while watching TV or reading my book at night; I'd constantly nibble on things. I switched to Orville Redenbacher's Salt and Pepper microwave popcorn because it's only 20 calories per bag (and super tasty!). After that, I limited my portion sizes; using smaller plates REALLY helped with this! We began phasing out "convenience" foods that are high in preservatives like hot dogs and chef boyarde. I also made sure to get more water into my body. One of the reasons our bodies feel hungry is due to dehydration.

I started at 184 pounds, and after 2 1/2 months I'm now down to 169. I've added in walks and using my Wii Fit (which if you have access to one is SUCH a fun way to get your 15 minutes a day in). :) Congrats on the decision to get back in shape so soon! It took me two years after having my last one to get up the drive to do it. :)



answers from Appleton on

Congratulations on starting!!
Dieting can be difficult and you don't say if you are breastfeeding.
But here goes:
You are young enough that your body shouldn't have started its slow down yet. So I would start by simply taking smaller portions and eating lots of veggies amd fruit. Exercise is the key. If you live in the frozen north as I do going for a walk every day may not be so possible. The Park and Rec department of my city has an exercise class indoors for the nominal price of $20 for 13 weeks. I start that on Monday. Check out you local Park and Rec department. Also go to the library see if you can borrow exercise tapes or dvd's. Go online and look up diet plans find one that fits your needs. Plan to lose only about 2 lbs a week in 20 weeks you should have 30-40 lbs off so by Spring you will be a lot thiner. Plan 10-30 minutes a day for exercise whatever fits your fitness level and lifestyle. Take soda and other empty calories out of your diet.
Please remember that muscle weighs more than fat so as you exercise and build muscle you many tighten up and lose inches you may be heavier on the scale. Don't let that deter you. Watch salt intake and remember to give yourself little rewards for taking off pounds and getting healthier. I am a great fan of Richard Simmons he has some really good ideas.
Good luck and I hope you are happy with your look by swimsuit season.



answers from Minneapolis on

The only "diet" that has ever worked for me is to buy a diet journal (now I think there are online or computer products that would do the same thing) that allows me to track the food I eat each day, the number of calories consumed, exercise I do and the calories burned. With that in hand I would set an appropriate calorie intake goal for each day and set a target weight. Then it is just about carrying it everywhere and recording everything. It was amazing how much more aware I became of what I put in my mouth. My decision became more conscious and I had better motivation to exercise because I could see a number on paper that directly translated to what I could or couldn't eat.



answers from Green Bay on

An easy way to start losing weight is simply to eat 2 less bites of everything on your plate. Go ahead and leave them there every meal.

Set your fork down in between bites and really chew your food, because it takes your stomach something like 20 minutes to register that it's actually full before it signals you to stop eating.

Taking your time eating will help you eat less each meal, and that will reduce the total amount you're eating, which can make a huge difference over time.

Another option is eating 5 small meals instead of 3 large meals. Smaller meals give you more energy throughout the day but also burn off faster so you aren't storing the excess as fat.

If you drink anything sweetened like soda or tea, switch to a diet/unsweetened version. Try using something like Splenda instead of sugar to sweeten when cooking, too, it has less calories.

The best diet is one in which you don't radically change what/when you're eating, but change how much you're eating and reduce the calories in the food because it's not completely different and it's something you'll keep doing.



answers from Minneapolis on

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answers from Minneapolis on

B., These days, everyone's an expert when it comes to the best way to lose weight. If one fad diet doesn't work, there are a hundred more to try. But why waste any time and money on unproven, unsafe, fad diets? Wouldn't it be better, safer and more efficient to use a weight-management system based more on scientific research than trend-setting hype?
If you would like I can give you Colleen's number, a trained transitions rep. Or if you would like you could check it out at
I know they have a 12 week program also but Colleen would know more about that.
The Transitions Lifestyle System® is composed of a multifaceted approach to healthy living through low-glycemic eating, stress reduction and exercise. Dietary supplements, delicious shakes and bars, healthy entrees, and supplemental materials full of advice and suggestions all support you on your way toward achieving your goals. It's time to make the transition to healthy living.



answers from Minneapolis on

Its very simple to diet... you need to eat less calories than you burn during the day. Its just not easy so you need to figure out what works for you. is a great site to keep track of your daily calories.

You also want to increase your activity during the day.
This can be as simple as going for a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes a day, or joining a gym. If you've never worked out before, take it easy at first and find something you really like to do. That helps too.

But if losing weight was easy, there would be nobody overweight. I find letting all my friends and family know about it helps so that they are hopefully less inclined to offer you stuff you don't want. Good luck!



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi B.!

Diets are for the birds!

You have to have discipline! You have to watch what you eat and treat your body like the temple it is. We are the food we eat!

When we eat poorly, it shows up in our thighs, hips and stomach! LOL! Too bad it doesn't enhance the areas we would like it to! LOL!

But anyways, I am part of a on-line program that puts together a plan for me. I enter my excercies and foods that i eat and it calculates my steps. It puts together a grocery list for me, it also puts together meals and recipes for me! It tells me if i go out to eat what I can have to keep my calories within my daily needs. It has chat rooms where i can go in and chat with other people, doctors etc.

It's a great way to track YOUR progress in the privacy of your own home. It costs $6.00 a month and to be my health is worth $6.00! It's been wonderful.

Don't know if it's something you feel you could do at home, but it's helped me tremendously!

All the best to you!




answers from Green Bay on

I've always felt leary about diets because there so strict and they make you feel like if you don't follow them then you're not a strong person.

I've just stuck to yoga and some light exercising and I also rented a couple bellydancing videos to get those moves down because those are core centered and are really good for your abs and obliques (full core). It's not stressful or anything. The yoga is not only good for your physical health but awesome for mental health, too. And it works if you don't have a lot of time (such as us moms). I've just done about 15 minutes of yoga once or twice a day with some of the belly dancing moves to work the core and legs and the yoga (I've done the Namaste Yoga which is on the Fitness Channel) which is awesome for abs, legs, and arms.

With the diet portion of the question...I just eat whatever I want but in smaller portions and only eat when I'm hungry and I stay away from canned pop because those are basically sugared water packed full of unwanted bad calories. If you drink those...even just switching to diet pop you will lose wight guaranteed. =)

Hope those ideas helped!



answers from Appleton on

My boy just turned 3 and my twin girls just turned 2. I finally found a weight loss tool that is working for me to finally shed those 'baby' pounds. Since I had my children so close together there wasn't a chance to lose the first pregnancy pounds before adding on the twin pregnancy pounds. I tried various diets/exercise for the two years only losing about 10lbs. Finally I was introduced to the 'bodybugg' device by my brother-n-law. It is worn on your arm and counts your calories 'burned' every minute of the day. Then you download it on the computer and add the calories you 'consumed'on the online portion of the program and it will show you a deficit or surplus in calories. The main thing is to always have a deficit. More calories out than in and you will loss weight. I have been using it for two months and dropped 16lbs...finally. Only 30 more to go! There is an upfront cost to get the device, but I found it to be very accurate and 'popular science' magazine said it has 96% accuracy. It kind of becomes like a game. I always wanted to burn more than I take in, and see if you can meet your steps requirement (it tracks steps taken and physical activity). My brother-n-law said it is a pedometer on steroids. he is a physical trainer and swears by it. The main thing it is teaching me what home based activities help me burn calories to lose the weight. Laundry burns lots of calories as well as giving the 3 kiddos a bath, not to mention sweeping floor. So instead of the gym, I make sure to do more around the house and enjoy it, which fits my schedule a lot easier working full time... who has time to actually get to a gym?... It is also teaching me how to eat better and make a lifestyle change, which foods I can eat and how much is a proper serving without maxing out my daily intake on apple pie! It is working for me and thought I would share it since I haven't had success till now in the weight loss area. if you have questions please feel free to email me or check it out at or if you have questions.
(actually now that I think about this, i think the 'biggest loser' contests wear this on their arm too...)
Either way good luck with the fun journey of weight loss!



answers from Rochester on

I would highly recommend Weight Watchers! I lost a total of 56 pounds in about 7 months. What I like about WW is that it isn't a "diet". I pretty much got to eat what I wanted to, just in smaller portions. The way the program is set up you learn how to monitor how full you are and it teaches you how to choose filling foods that are going to leave you feeling less hungry. I didn't have to prepare separate meals for me and my family and I was still able to eat out on a regular basis. You can follow the program online, but I like going to the meetings. I learned so much from other people (recipes, new products on the market, tips for eating out, etc). It also helped me to stay more accountable when I knew someone else would be asking me how my week was. On the web site you can find hundreds of recipes and tips on how to "skinny up" your favorite recipes. Good luck! It will be hard work to get started and to change some of the bad habits that you have picked up, but it is so worth it! Let me know if you have any questions about WW.



answers from Minneapolis on

If you have the time, I lost about 35 lbs on a diet using a book called "The Formula" by Gene and Joyce Daoust. It has exact personalized meals and very easy to follow. I say if you have time because obviously you have to measure out your food and everything is fresh. I loved it though...might try to start up again. Nice thing is it teaches you a way of life rather than just a quick fix. All meals are balanced, similar to South Beach.

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