Motivation Articles

7 Things to Do Before You Lose Weight

Creating a Plan to Succeed

You’ve decided to lose weight. Congratulations! Changing your lifestyle may take commitment and time, but taking off those excess pounds can really improve your health and happiness.
In this early phase, you may have checked out some online weight-loss programs (like the ones here at SparkPeople), talked to your friends about the programs they've had success with, or even visited your local weight-loss support group. After deliberation, you’ve chosen the plan that seems most suited to you. You’re excited and ready to start. This time you just know you'll be successful!
Before you dive in, take a step back. Statistically, your chances of taking those pounds off and keeping them off are pretty dismal. One of the largest studies on weight loss conducted at UCLA showed that although most individuals who follow any number of different diet plans will lose 5-10% of their body weight, most will gain it all back--and more--within a year. Other long-term studies show that only 10-20% of individuals who follow a structured weight loss plan were able to maintain at least 5% of the pounds lost after five years.
If chances of permanent success are slim (pardon the pun), why bother trying? Wouldn’t you hate to work that hard, and then find yourself right back where you started a few months down the road?
Don’t despair. There is a way you can succeed at permanent weight loss. The key is to spend time in a preparation phase before you jump into action. Let’s build a foundation for permanent weight loss now, and you’ll never need to go on another diet again.
Prepare to Succeed at Weight Loss
There are lots of great tools to help you get ready to make a big change. In my experience as a health and wellness coach, these are these seven things can help set you up for success before you start your weight loss plan. While you may be motivated to jump right in to the diet plan of your choice, taking the time to prepare with these steps will increase your likelihood of success.
1. Create your personal wellness vision. 
What does success look like for you? Imagine what your life will look like and feel like when you have accomplished your weight loss goal. Don’t let it depend on a number on the scale. What will be different and better? What will you be doing on a daily basis? What new habits concerning food and exercise will you be practicing daily? All behavioral change leads to a shift in who we are. Who will you be in your new strong, trim body? What will you be capable of that you might not be now?
Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at

Member Comments

  • Yes, yes, yes!!! This is what I'm trying to do, build a plan to succeed at what I call a Healthier life, which incidentally includes losing weight. I'm also taking small steps, one day at a time, knowing that taking on too much or setting too high a goal will only lead to failure for me. Thank you for writing this. - 3/9/2015 1:51:43 PM
    What I have been doing as been working for me for 30 plus years.....I am 48, 130 lbs and mother of 5 children. I NEVER diet....I tried a couple of time, but for me, I just found I would eat more....I would be starving. I eat what I want to eat in moderation, except for potatoes chips...It really is very simple, you get back what you put put in fat and sugars, that is what you will get back. I am the type that is picking at food all the time....I always got snacks on hand for that, such as prunes, walnuts, cucumber, grapes, lite on the bananas rice cakes with hummus, I make my own hummus. Have you ever tried fried in olive oil, chick peas with salt, pepper and garlic powder......yummy snack. I use my Sunday for preparing my weekday food....such as snacks or full meals. I never eat out at a restaurant. With all the info that can begotten on the internet for food preparation and recipes ..Why would anyone want to eat out, god knows what they put into it. Getting back to the potato chips, that is a hard habit to break......I have filled my cupboard with smart popcorn and seasoning to go on it....You can get the bag sizes in 100 cal or 250 cal....I usually have the full sized one ....and finish about 3/4 of is still junk, but a lot healthier than potato chips. Eat healthy, Eat lots....and don't be afraid to try new things....I am going to be testing beet chips more thing...I do not like to my house stays very clean, Its not cleaning to me, its a workout....anytim
    e your moving, you are burning calories . - 1/11/2015 6:43:49 PM
    This is a great article and it works! I have actually followed a plan similiar to this and so far I'm halfway to reaching my goal. I made a commitment to succeed and this time I am more confident than ever! - 1/6/2015 10:44:56 AM
  • Good column! - 1/2/2015 6:09:42 AM
    I was able to keep my happy weight of 135 for 10 years by exercising and following a healthy food plan that I lost weight with. I just added a few extras here and there. Then I moved from CA to Fl and gained 20lb after a divorce and moved in with my mom. Now, I am older and my blood sugar and cholesterol are way up. Now I doing it for my health because I care, and there's no looking back.:) - 12/9/2014 10:00:54 AM
  • I think the key is to never give up - 9/22/2014 6:45:58 PM
  • Thanks. - 5/7/2014 5:50:47 AM
  • Great information. I've identified three things I never followed through on in previous weight loss tries and added a new motivation: the weight I gained back makes it so much harder to walk, let alone exercise. Add to that worsening osteoarthritis and I'm really ready to start. This is one thing discouraged people can do, but they may need more motivation.before they start. - 5/3/2014 8:21:33 AM
  • If I had to do all this before starting, I'd likely never have gotten started. Not that these aren't great tips but step one is just do something! - 5/3/2014 6:57:41 AM
  • I don't believe this article was meant to be the whole package, it was just to make a plan so to say we've already done all this and it's not working is missing the point. If we're making good healthy food choices already then it's about portion control. I guarantee using the food tracker works for that. So since I know what works why am I still here at the same weight? For me it's motivation, staying motivated day in and day out., that's what I struggle with. - 8/22/2013 9:27:03 AM
  • I agree with JJJ and Christa. I have been doing most of these things for many, many years -- the regular, moderate exercise, the careful food choices, the pantry cleansing, etc., but that has little or no effect on my weight. Unless REMAINING at a size 12-14 for lots of years is some kind of a grand prize for not eating bags of nachos each night? The reality is that these little, manageable changes aren't enough to make a dent in weight if your life is fairly sedentary and you're a little older! - 8/21/2013 10:14:36 PM
  • Great info. I'm working on this right now. - 8/13/2013 9:27:15 PM
    I've done all these things, been doing all these things, and I just can't get below a size 14. The size wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't have excess fat in places that just refuses to flatten out! One day I'm a 14 and my clothes are baggy on me, the next I'm a 16 and feel like a bloated whale! All I did was sleep, and I wasn't eating in my sleep! Wish there was something I could REALLY do about this... - 8/13/2013 5:12:39 PM
    The phrase 'you have decided to lose weight' sounded very strange to me!
    We cannot decide to lose weight, really. We CAN decide to exercise more, eat different foods, eat less, etc.. - 8/13/2013 12:26:37 PM
    Great article! I'm def going to try these esp. Because I've gained back 15 of what I lost a few months ago :( - 8/13/2013 11:41:27 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by May 11! Get a FREE Personalized Plan