Most dieters don't succeed first time. In fact, most of us go through several attempts to lose weight before eventually making it to our goal. If you've been dieting for a while but ended up falling off the wagon before you reached your target weight, here's how to restart your diet.

1. Don't Blame Yourself

Telling yourself that you're a failure isn't going to set you up for future success! Sticking to a diet is hard - especially in a world where we're faced with so much cheap food, with high levels of obesity (that make being heavily overweight seem normal), and stresses that encourage us to comfort-eat.

Remind yourself that simply by eating more healthily for a while, and perhaps losing a few pounds, you've already had some success. You can go on and do more!

2. Work Out What Went Wrong

When you restart your diet, it's worth thinking why you stopped in the first place. If you don't figure this out now, you're likely to end up with the same problem all over again.

Some common reasons are:

  • Busyness and stress - no time/energy to prepare healthy meals, or to exercise
  • Too strict a diet - leading to boredom or hunger
  • Lack of commitment - did you genuinely want to lose weight, or did you just feel that you should?
  • No support - it's hard staying motivated alone
  • Letting things slip - perhaps after a holiday

If you want to give yourself a good chance of success next time, what do you need to change?

3. Find Out Where You Are

Most of us stop weighing ourselves, or taking measurements, when we drift from our diet. Before getting restarted, face up to where you are: what do you weigh? What's your waist size? (It might not be as bad as you think!)

You'll also want to find out where you are in terms of your current habits. Try writing a food diary for a typical day - and be ruthlessly honest. Are you having more snacks than you should be? Have you given up on your five-a-day?

4. Get Off to a Great Start

There's no single perfect healthy eating and exercising routine - everyone's different. However, these tips should help you get your diet going strongly again:

  • Set aside two hours, on separate days, to exercise (perhaps brisk walking, jogging or cycling) during the next week
  • Plan some easy, healthy meals - and make sure you have the ingredients
  • Commit to keeping a food diary for the next fortnight - it's amazing how this keeps you honest!
  • Make sure you weigh everything - especially portions of cereal, pasta, rice, bread, etc. It's easy to let these creep up in size.
  • Tell a friend about your diet - pick someone who'll support and encourage you

Do you need to make a new start on your diet? You probably have a good feeling for what went wrong and what you need to do. If it helps, share your situation with us in the comments!