How to Pre-Game for Your New Year's Diet and Fitness Plan

Dr. Oz is unveiling a brand-new diet plan on January 4 that you're not going to want to miss. Get ready to hit the ground running with these expert tips.

How to Pre-Game for Diet
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Come January 1, millions of people will make some form of the same New Year's resolution to shed unwanted pounds and inches; however, in order to actually see success, there are a handful of warm-up strategies that you should do to get ready — both mentally and physically — for your upcoming wellness path.

"While you don't need to go whole-hog into your diet today, you should start doing little things to prepare for your new diet today," says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, manager of the wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic and advisory board member for The Dr. Oz Show.

So let's get started! Here are five tips that will help you start 2016 on the right foot.

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1. Set Small, Doable Goals

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Over the years, Kirkpatrick has discovered that establishing mini-goals has worked wonders for her patients. "Big goals can be very discouraging," she says. "If you have to lose 50 pounds, that number can be extremely stressful. But if you say, 'I want to lose five pounds by February,' now you're talking!"

"Hands down, the biggest mistake people make is that they think they can take on multiple lofty promises," adds Chris Powell, trainer and transformation specialist on ABC's Extreme Weight Loss and co-author of the new book Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days. "They start out by committing to five or more meals a day, weighing and portioning their meals, 60 minutes of cardio daily and weight training three times a week. Unfortunately, nine out of ten people fail on this plan within a week."

Powell advises beginning your new weight-loss journey by setting one or two simpler intentions, such as ditching soda or drinking an extra quart of water each day, "until you have established a level of trust and believe in your ability to take on more."

And don't underestimate the power of setting a goal. "A long-term successful transformation is not built upon diet and exercise — it is in making and keeping commitments to yourself," he says.

2. Establish the One-Bite Rule

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The transition from holiday binging to New Year's dieting is a big change for your body. "So it's difficult to be crazy with portions today and then wake up January 1 and think your portions are going to change," Kirkpatrick says. "This is why I tell my patients, 'You can have whatever the heck you want at your Christmas party, but you're going to give yourself a 'just-one-bite' rule."

For example, if you are "dying" to try all ten desserts served on the buffet table, take one mouthful of each sweet treat. "It's not deprivation — it's allowing you to choose the things you want while getting your mental frame of mind in gear."

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3. Detox Your Surroundings

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"We are a product of our environment, which is why I say everyone needs to 'successify' their environment," Powell says. He suggests trashing the tempting foods stashed away in your refrigerator, freezer, pantry, desk, and car, as well as "redecorating" your domain by placing motivational sayings or images on your mirror, desk, or computer screensaver, and, finally, moving your workout clothes and sneakers next your alarm clock "as a constant reminder that you are different now."

Kirkpatrick agrees and adds that that bringing a handful of "convenience foods" into your kitchen is one key to sticking to a new plan. "Things like canned beans, pouches of whole grains, like brown rice and wild rice, and frozen vegetables are three foods that can make a meal in a pinch," she explains. "If you don't have these convenience foods on hand, you may decide to call for a pizza after a long day. And some people, based on personality, only need one slip-up to be completely off the wagon."

4. Start Listening to Hunger Cues

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Aside from understanding that portion control is an essential part of healthy eating, it's just as important to tune into your body signals, Kirkpatrick points out.

"The trick is to eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you're full," she says. "Those are two huge differences that we screw up all the time because if you're eating until fullness, you are eating too much."

She adds that a small shift in our perception of food may help when it comes to picking up on these messages. "If you look at food as nourishment and as a means of getting us to the goals we want to achieve, from a physiological standpoint, we must fill our body with the fuel that we need to be stronger for the next four hours," she explains. "And in turn, our body will send us signals when we need to refuel for our health."

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5. Rally Your Team

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Powell is a big believer in gathering like-minded individuals who are in full support of your weight loss goals. "Identify the people in your life that truly want you to succeed and enroll them in your journey," he says.

However, this activity comes with one warning: Be aware that your initial instincts may be slightly off because your new health regime may not sit well with everyone who loves you.

"Don't feel frustrated or upset — just know that deep down, they probably feel threatened by your change, in fear of losing you, or abruptly changing their own lifestyle," he explains.

So if finding a few teammates from your inner circle becomes a challenge, simply widen your circle. "Some of your new best fitness friends are out there waiting to meet you at your local gym, church, community center, synagogue, park… and the list goes on!" Powell says.

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