DIY Weight Loss Plan: A Dietitian’s Guide on How to Create Your Own Weight Loss Plan

 

All You Need to Develop Your Own DIY Weight Loss Assessment and Plan.

This is one of my favorite of my nutrition posts. This is what I would call my anchor post. Below I have included an adaptation of the assessment I developed for my weight loss clients. I used this assessment to customize their specific plan.  I am sharing this assessment and my whole blog because I professionally and personally understand the weight loss struggle. I know the peace I get from mindful eating and more importantly the peace I feel from mindfully being aware of God’s presence. This is the go-to post if you want to learn from a dietitian how to develop your own plan.  This is how I develop weight loss plans for my clients!!! Now I have it here for anyone who needs help creating an effective weight loss plan. Save/pin/bookmark this for when you have time to sit down, carefully read the whole post, take notes, and develop your own weight loss plan. The assessment will determine which diet plans, tricks, and tips will work best for you. I have pulled together almost every trick, diet, and tip that I have collected throughout my years of being a dietetic student in undergraduate and graduate school, a dietetic intern, a dietitian, and a nutrition instructor. The assessment will link you to the specific lists of tips and diet plans that will work for you. Now you can create your own DIY Weight Loss Plan!

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How to Use This DIY Weight Loss Assessment and Develop Your Own Plan

Step 1

First, answer the questions! You will notice that the questionnaire wants you to think of the reasons you cannot lose weight. Remember, when you go through this first step, you are not just making excuses. You need to understand your barriers to be able to make the change. After determining ALL the barriers that are hindering your weight loss, write them down. You will narrow your barriers down in the next step.

checklist photo

Step 2

After determining your barriers, pick a few barriers that are Your biggest issues or pick a few you would like to focus on. If you have printed off the assessment, circle the questions that revealed your BIGGEST barriers.

Step 3

For the next few steps, you will continue narrowing down your goals until you have determined the few that will work best for you. Now that you have determined your barriers,  you need to find solutions to each barrier. You will find links in the parentheses below each question that will help you pick tips, tricks and diets. Click on the links and pick the articles that you feel will best help you find solutions to your particular barriers. Circle the article links found in the assessment that you feel will benefit you the most based on your barriers OR print, pin, save the articles that you would like to focus on. notepad photo

Step 4

You are getting close to determining your specific diet plan. Now you will look at the articles you selected and determine which tip, trick, or diets within the articles that you will actually use. Pick 3-5 tips or tricks that will be part of your plan and write them down. You may want to keep your plan somewhere visible. Keep practicing your changes until they become second nature to you.

Things to Remember

  • Often times if you try to change too much at once, you will get overwhelmed. Plus, you might be surprised at how many calories you can decrease by changing just a few small areas of your diet. For example, I had a client once tell me that she loved to sip on sweet tea. She sipped on it all day. She had a glass when she was cooking, when she was on the computer, and when she was watching TV. She had a glass all the time. We figured out that if she just switched to unsweetened tea or water, she would decrease her calorie intake by around 700 calories a day. She lost 20 pounds by making this one change. Every bit counts and adds up. You only need to take 300-1000 calories out of your day to lose 1/2-2 pounds per week. If you take out more calories than this you risk slowing your metabolism, increasing your chances of giving up, AND losing more muscle instead of just fat.
  • You will want to combine several different techniques to personalize your own plan. For example, you may want to do the calorie counting diet (see the“Calorie Counting post”), but you want to make calorie counting easier by doing the prepackaged meals your breakfast and lunch. You decide that eating a breakfast biscuit like Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Blueberry, 1.76 Ounce, 12 Count for bre and replacing your lunch with a frozen meal like the Lean Cuisine Marketplace, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken, 9.875 Oz. (12 Count) will make calorie counting easier since all you need to do is look at the back of the box. Planning to eat prepackaged meals everyday has advantages and disadvantages. Please read the “Prepackaged Meals” post to see if this plan is right for you. For dinner you decide to keep track of your calories by using the Myfitness pal or your Fitbit app (You can get a Fit bit by clicking here: Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)). Now you have combined three different types of diets (Calorie Counting, Pre-Packaged Meals, and the use of apps to customize a diet for you.)
  • With all diets, I strongly recommend incorporating Mindful Eating. Mindful Eating can help with almost any barrier from work nibbling, portion control, snacking, and dining out.
  • Make sure you DO choose tricks that address one of your problems. For example, if snacking is not a problem, then don’t choose a snacking tip. Choose the ones that will make the biggest impact. And remember; don’t try to do everything or every trick.
  • Understand that “mess ups” are part of the process. We are not perfect. We will mess up. That is part of the process in every diet. The key is to not give up when you do mess up. If you feel like you failed on Wednesday, don’t say “forget it,” and eat poorly on Thursday too. Again, you would have saved many calories if you had just gotten back on track on Thursday. Some weeks you will get frustrated. Some weeks you lose more than others; some weeks you will reach plateaus, and I know from experience plateaus are frustrating. Unfortunately, the closer you get to your goal weight the more your body holds onto those last few pounds. So for anyone going through a plateau, I know how you feel, but I want to encourage you that it will pass.
  • Take a multivitamin. I wish we were all getting the nutrients we need, but most people, unfortunately, are not getting all the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets.
  • Give your plan a few weeks. If you are having trouble with one component of your plan, go back to the solutions and try something else. Or after implementing your plan for a while you may notice a barrier you had not thought of before. Go back to the solutions or tips to decide how you can combat that barrier. Sometimes perfecting you plan takes time and practice. If you do mess up or find something difficult, don’t give up. Instead re-analyze why you messed up. Come back to your assessment to figure our ways to prevent it from happening again.

Sample Diet Assessment

 Still need a little help seeing how this will work? Let’s look at a couple of examples of barriers  and solutions:

Barrier 1: You see from your assessment that you have problems with portion control so you click on the suggested solution articles. You first look at the Portion Control Tricks blog to see if there is a trick that can help you. You like the trick about pre-portioning and freezing your foods. Now you have a way to stop your portion control problem. Or maybe you decide the “Prepackaged Meals or Meal Replacements” Blog would help you with your portion control problem. You decide you are going to do the Healthy Choice Chicken Soup Variety-15 oz, 10 ct meals for lunch. You like that with this solution the food is already pre-portioned for you. You think you can’t mess up on portions because these are already portioned for you.

Barrier 2: After finishing the assessment, you discover afternoon snacks are your main problem. You select the suggested post “Healthy Snack Choices”. You decide that instead of eating in the afternoon, you will do an activity in the afternoon.weights photo

Below is a Sample Plan Developed After Completing the assessments  

 My Plan:

I will eat Kellogg’s cereal Kellogg’s Cereal Cup Assortment Pack – Wellness (6 Flavors),Pack of 60 for breakfast with skim milk. I will use a measuring cup to portion my cereal.

I will take a frozen dinner like a Lean Cuisine Marketplace, Sesame Stir Fry with Chicken, 9.875 Oz. (12 Count) to work for lunch.

I will bring a bag of raw carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower to work to snack on throughout the day. I will not eat the donuts that are always at work. Instead, I will have my snacks always available.

For dinner, I will cook a meal using the low calorie cookbook, Betty Crocker The 300 Calorie Cookbook: 300 tasty meals for eating healthy everyday (Betty Crocker Cooking), and I will eat from a small breakfast plate. I will fill most of my plate with food, but avoid getting seconds. Half of my plate will be filled with vegetables.

For exercise, I will park far away in a parking lot. I will walk up and down my stairs 5 times every time I enter my house. For one 30-minute television show a week, I will run in place during the commercials.

Alright, now you are ready to do your own diet assessment and develop your personalized plan based on proven weight loss techniques.

DIY Diet Assessment Form

Date                           .

Height:                  Age                   Weight                Usual Weight                           

How much would you like to lose?

Have you recently gained or lost weight?                  If so, how much                       

Medical History : Please discuss any medical conditions with a doctor and/or dietitian. A dietitian can help you personalize a diet for these specific conditions. For example, if you have diabetes, a dietitian can teach you how to do what is called “Carb Counting” or how to use the “Diabetic Exchange.”

Your Daily Routine Questions

How many meals do you eat per day?             Snacks per day?         

Do you eat breakfast?        

(If no, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips”, pay attention to the tip on eating breakfast)

Do you skip meals?         

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“, pay attention to the tip on skipping meals.)

Do you find following a diet difficult due to always feeling hungry?

(If yes, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“, pay attention to the tips in this section that mentions helping you feel full, or preventing hunger,)

Work Questions

Occupation                                           .

Describe how your occupation affects your eating and exercise                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                           

Do your coworkers tempt you at work by always ordering take out, going out for lunch, or getting fast food together?                  

(If yes, see “Pre-packaged, Pre-portioned Meals, or Meal Replacement Weight Loss Tips”,  tip #2 in “16 Weight Loss Tips“, “When my Work Environment Causes Weight Gain,” and “How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight“)

Do you travel frequently for work?                  

(If yes, see “Vacation or Frequent Traveler Weight Loss Tips” and “How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight” to develop your diet plan)

Is snack food always available at work or do you snack at work?              

(If yes, see “Snacking Tips for Weight Loss” and “When Your Work Environment Causes Weight Gain” to develop your own diet plan.)

Personal Side Note: We always had complementary food available on the center of the table in the break room or there were always food available in the break room due to celebrating a coworker’s birthday or having a going away party, or baby shower, etc. I had to avoid the break room and bring my own food to work. Eating food from the break room, even a little bit was not an option for me.

Dining Out Questions

How many times do you eat out per week?              

Do you eat out often or are you always on the go and never eat at home?         

If Yes, see “Eating Out Tips for Weight Loss”.)

Name the restaurants where you most frequently eat?                                                                                            

Do you pass by tempting restaurants on your way to work? Is it hard to pass by that restaurant or coffee place without getting something?                      

(If yes, see “16 Weight Loss Tips“, tip number 6)

Do you tend to overeat or eat high-calorie, lower-nutrient foods when you eat out?

(If dining out seems to be a weight loss barrier for you, see Dining Out Weight Loss Tips)

Meals at Home Questions

Who cooks your meals?                       .

How often do they cook per week?                     .

Are the majority of the meals you eat cooked at home?                .

Are you expected to cook meals or are you the main cook for your family?             

If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Do you often cook high fat meals because it is easier, quicker, or because you can’t think of what else to cook or you don’t know how to make meals lower in calories?

(If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Do you feel you are not good at menu planning?

(If yes see “Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“, “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “How to Reduce Fat and Calories in the Foods You Already Eat.”)

Who do you eat with?                           .

Do you feel like you can’t cook lower calorie meals because your other family members won’t eat it?                  

(If the answer is yes and you feel that you cannot control what types of foods you eat due to your family, then control how much you eat instead by using Portion Control Tips. You could also try cooking the same meals that your family always enjoys, only using the lower calorie versions, see “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat” and “How to Reduce the Fat in the Foods you Already Eat” for ideas.” Many times families think they won’t like lower calorie foods but they are just as good. Try a few lower calorie recipes to see what your family thinks.)

Does someone else cook the food and therefore you feel you do not have control over what you eat?                   

(If yes, then you will have to control your portions instead of what types of foods you eat so see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips. The “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” post may also work well for you temporarily)

Does living with others make buying and having healthy foods in your house difficult?                

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.”)

Do you have difficulty with wanting larger portions or seconds at meals?                      

(If yes, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.” Or the “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” may also work well for you because portions are pre-determined.)

Do you feel like you always end up putting too much food on your plate?             

(If yes, see “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.” Or The “Prepackaged, Pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement” may also work well for you because portions are pre-determined. Focus on the tips about plating your food in the Portion Control Tips)

Do you feel like you aren’t eating very much at meals?

(Maybe you just don’t realize how much you are eating. If this could be a possibility see “Calorie Counting Tips,” “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips,” or the “Prepackaged, pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement Tips”)

Are you not sure what a serving size is or not sure how much you are suppose to be eating?                  

(If this is an issue, see “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips.“)

Who does the grocery shopping?                     .

Are there unhealthy foods in your house?                           

 (If yes, see “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss.”)

Do you often snack on unhealthy snacks?              

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss.”)

Are you sometimes too busy to plan meals when you get home, so you just make something easy and quick           

(If yes, see “ Meal Planning for Weight Loss”, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss,”  “Tips for Reducing Calories in your Meals and Cooking” and “Tips for Reducing Fat in the Meals you Already Eat.”)

Are there certain foods you have trouble resisting?        What are some of those tempting foods for you?              

(If yes, see “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss Tips“.)

Do you have trouble resisting certain foods in the grocery store?           

(If yes, “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss.“)

How often do you eat frozen meals per week?            

(If you eat frozen meals or quick meals often and rarely cook, then the “Pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals or Meal Replacement diet” tips may work well for you.)

Do you only have to prepare meals for yourself?                      

(If yes, the “Prepackaged. Pre-portioned Meals, or Meal Replacement Plans for Weight Loss,” “How to Lose Weight by Calorie Counting,”  “Meal Planning for Weight Loss,” “How to Reduce Calories in the Foods You Already Eat,” and “.“)

Where do you eat when you are eating at home?                  

Do you eat at different places other than the table?              

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss Tips“, numbers 104 through 116, and “Trick Your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips“.)

Is the TV on while you eat?                

(If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss Tips“, numbers 104 through 116, and “Trick your Body into Eating Less: Portion Control Tips”.)

Non-Meal Times, i.e. Snacking Questions

What time of day do you snack or nibble on anything other than your meals?               

List the foods you snack on                                                                                              

(If snacking is an issue see “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you nibble on a few things here and there occasionally throughout the day?     

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you graze throughout the day?       

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Do you taste your meals or nibble while cooking?

(If yes, see  “Snacking for Weight Loss“, pay attention to the tips about snacking while cooking)

Do you sometimes grab a couple of bites while doing something else like working, cooking, watching TV, using the computer, studying, etc?          

(See “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss“)

Eating our Emotions Questions

* If you snack due to any of the emotions below, you may find the “Snacking for Weight Loss” and “Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss” post helpful.

Do you snack or splurge when you are bored?          

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are stressed?         

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are sad?              

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Do you snack or splurge when you are tired?

(If yes, see “Emotional Eating and Weight Loss“)

Are you getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights?        

(If no, see “16 Weight Loss Tips“, #8, and “Snacking for Weight Loss,” # 1.)

Do you eat because you need a break from work or because you are procrastinating?             

  (If yes, see “Snacking for Weight Loss”)

Activity Questions

exercise photo
Photo by Fit Approach

How often are you currently working out and what do you do?                             

Do you have trouble finding time to exercise?          

(If yes, see “16 Weight Loss Tips”, # 11, “How to Lose Weight When You are Too Busy to Exercise“, and “Exercises You can Do with Your Children”)

Do you enjoy exercise?          

(If no, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

When is the best time for you to exercise?           .

Do you get bored exercising?           

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you have trouble balancing exercise with time with your children or do your children seem to take up all of your time?            

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you often feel too tired to exercise?                  

If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children“)

Do you feel too embarrassed to exercise in public?                

(If yes, see “Developing an Exercise Plan”, “How to Lose Weight When you are Too Busy to Exercise,” and “Exercises you can do with Your Children” to find activities you can do alone until you have more confidence, or find activities that you would not be embarrassed to do, or find ways to get physical activity throughout your day.)

Motivation Questions

Do you start out doing great on a diet and then have trouble keeping it up?              

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you give up or get frustrated when you mess up on a diet?            

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you get frustrated and give up if you don’t lose weight right away?           

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you sometimes say to yourself, “Well, I have already messed up today, so I may as well go all out?”             

(If yes, see “How to Stay Motivated to Weight”)

Do you spend a lot of time out with friends or at social gatherings?            

If yes, see “Weight Loss Tips for Parties and Social Gatherings“)

Misc. Questions

Tell me what your day is like from morning to night including everything you do throughout the day and eat including condiments and serving sizes.                                                                                                                                                          

Do you gain weight during vacations?            

(If yes, see “Weight Loss Tips for Vacations and Frequent Travelers“)

List the things you most often drink? Do these drinks have calories?                   

(If yes, see “Top 5 Tips for Reducing Liquid Calories”)

Do you tend to go through more than one container or packet of sauces and dips like ranch, honey mustard, may, BBQ sauce, etc?

(If yes, see the post on Hidden Calories and  How to decrease the Fat and Calories in the Foods You Eat)

Do you find resisting sweet foods difficult?                           

(If yes, see 4 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have a Sweet Tooth)

Do you find that you tend to eat healthy until you get out of your routine, and then your healthy lifestyle falls away? In other words, do you find that you go from one extreme to the other when you diet? 

If this is a problem with you, you may want to focus on mindful eating. Some days you will eat more calories than others, but you will not lose control and over do it. On days when you can’t follow your routine, if you mindfully eat, you can still joyfully eat a healthy portions of food.

After going over this questionnaire, pick 2 to 3 of your barriers that are causing most of your difficulties losing weight. In other words, what are your major weaknesses?   (Examples: ex: afternoon time, stress, boredom, sweets, getting seconds, portion control, alcohol, snacking, grazing, TV watching time, work stress, social occasions, dining out, eating immediately after work, etc)?                                                                                      

                                                                                                         .

                                                                                                         . (Pick your top 2 to 3 biggest barriers and make a plan on how to fix the problem using the tips articles provided. Pick 1 to 3 tips or solutions to your barriers. Write down your plan and keep it where you can see it.                                                                                                                 

 

I want this plan to include everything you need to be successful; so it you find another tip that worked for you, please let me know. If the research backs up any recommended techniques, I will add it to the list.

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

 

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16 thoughts on “DIY Weight Loss Plan: A Dietitian’s Guide on How to Create Your Own Weight Loss Plan”

  1. This is such an incredibly useful assessment form! Not only will it help future clients, but also something for ourselves too. Sometimes we don’t realize little changes (as you mentioned changing sweet tea to unsweetened tea) can make a big difference!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! This works great with my clients, and I take the assessment myself when I realize I need to do my own re-evaluation!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I am so glad you found this information practical. Providing practical and truly helpful content is my goal.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It really does mean so much to me when I hear others find the information useful. It inspires me to keep writing and trying to provide helpful, detailed content.

  2. Wow~This is a great post with so many useful tips and strategies! I am currently working with a woman who wants to lose some weight, but is tired of *diets*, so we’re using a lot of the strategies you listed in your post. I think you’ve got every situation covered 🙂

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