ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Write a Diet Plan- 12 Steps for Weight Loss Success

Updated on May 5, 2013
rmcrayne profile image

Rose Mary is an Air Force veteran and an Occupational Therapist. She enjoys researching and writing on a variety of topics.

This is a systematic way to pursue your goals. A friend sent the link to me recently. The webpage, Goal Setting as a Way to Achieve Optimal Wellness, is from Dr. Joseph Mercola's website. The steps are adapted from the book, Maximum Achievement, by Brian Tracy.

Mercola recommends steps to set up a plan with goals, to implement dietary recommendations. One of the keys to success is that your plan is consistent with your belief system. “My doctor says I have to lose weight” says nothing about your belief system. Do you believe that changing the way you eat will make you healthier? I believe this. If you do too, then Dr. Mercola urge us to not just make a plan, but to make plan that is as thorough and specific as possible, to put it in writing, and to use “I” statements.


Step 1: Develop the Desire for Health


Our actions are often based on fear or desire.  Do I fear poor health if I do not implement dietary changes and lose weight?  We’ve all heard of “burning desire”.  It comes from within, and is a powerful force that we can use to make huge changes.  Fear is also a powerful force, but does not have the same power as desire, to inspire us to greatness.  I desire good health. 

Step 2: Develop Belief

We must develop a plan that is realistic and obtainable. We need to believe whole-heartedly in our plan. Set short term goals that support our long term goal.

I believe I can do a lot more than I have been doing, to nourish my body and enjoy better health. I believe improved general health will result from improved nutrition. I believe weight loss will be a natural consequence of improved health. My long term goal is:  I will enjoy improved health through improved nutrition.

Our plan needs to be obtainable, but also challenging.

If I pledge to avoid fast food, this would not be challenging, since I have not had a significant fast food habit for the last 20 years. If I say I’m going to have my entire improved nutrition plan in place in 2 weeks, that would be unrealistic, at least for me. If fact, I’d say overwhelming.

One of my short term goals is to return to eating cultured vegetables at least one time a day. I haven’t done this in a while, but about a year ago, I was in the habit of eating cultured vegetables after my evening meal. This short term goal is challenging because I haven’t done this in about a year, but attainable, because I have done it before. I’m also motivated to do this again, because I believe that cultured vegetables have many health benefits, and they seemed to minimize my reflux symptoms.

My statement on my medicine cabinet door.  Personal photo.
My statement on my medicine cabinet door. Personal photo.

Step 3: Write it Down

We need to put our goals in writing. Mercola suggests 2 tasks specific to goal writing. First, write down what life will be like when you reach your goal. For the goal of eating optimally, Mercola suggests writing in detail what a meal will look like, and what you will do with your new energy. Put this in an envelope, and read it when you need motivation.

Secondly, write one sentence that captures your goal, and put it in several locations like on your bathroom mirror, in your car, at your workstation, and on your sofa table. I might write: To the best of my ability, I will choose foods that nourish my body, and are free of unnecessary additives and toxins.

Develop your sentence, like an affirmation, representing your goal, and read it several times before going to bed. Spend one to two minutes visualizing what it will be like when you have reached your goal.

Brian Tracy on Goals

Step 4: Make a List of All the Ways You Will Benefit From Achieving Your Goal

The things that motivated you to set your goal can act as the forces to motivate you to move forward. Review your list on a regular basis to keep motivated.

My list might be an expansion of these statements:  As I nourish my body better, and I become healthier, I will have more energy, I will have less pain, I will look and feel better. I will have renewed interest in activities.


Record your starting point.  No, this is not me.
Record your starting point. No, this is not me.

Step 5: Analyze Your Position, Your Starting Point


Record where you are now, so you can assess your progress.  If your goal is to lose weight, record your weight.  If it is to lose inches, take your measurements.  If your goal is to lower your blood pressure, record your blood pressure.  If it is to lower you blood sugar or cholesterol, get your doctor to order lab tests.  If your goal is to increase your energy and activity, start an activity log. 

Step 6: Set a Deadline

Set a deadline for tangible goals like attaining a certain weight, blood pressure or cholesterol level. According to Dr. Mercola, this deadline programs your cells to achieve the goal at the specified time, if not sooner. If you fail to meet your deadline, set another.

If your goal is intangible, like ‘optimal health’, Mercola says not to set a deadline, because your cells will interpret this as the first date to “comply”.

Essentially, my goal is optimal health which is intangible, but I can still measure my victories every time I have a 5 lb weight loss, or every time I have a lab result that changes in a good direction.


Step 7: Make a List of Obstacles That Stand Between You and the Accomplishment of Your Goals

Make a list of everything you can think of that stands between you and your goal. This would include things that you feel will make it more difficult to get to where you want to be. Re-write the list starting with the smallest obstacle, to the obstacle that you think is the most difficult.  Attack your smallest obstacle, and progress through each one, conquering the obstacles, or changing your situation for success. 

Obstacles can be internal or external. An internal obstacle is an attitude or belief you have. I might think, “The shopping and planning for my diet seems overwhelming.”

External obstacles are things outside of us, such as people and things or circumstances. The person at work that always wants to go out to eat, or the family member that insists on always having dessert with dinner, are external obstacles.

My doctor recommended the Eat Right for Your [Blood] Type diet. There are 3 adults in my household, and we have 3 different blood types. That’s a pretty huge obstacle. I would like to eat only organic produce. Aside from the additional cost, not all varieties of fruits and vegetables are available in organic, despite living in an area with Whole Foods, Sun Harvest, and HEB Central Market. That is an external obstacle.


Step 8: Identify Additional Information You Will Need to Achieve Your Goal

Empower yourself with information. Search out and make an exhaustive list of the benefits of an optimal body weight. Learn about the health risks of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

As a (non-physician) provider, I know a lot about various health problems.  I have alsi learned about the benefits of cultured vegetables, and the pitfalls of combining meats and starches in one meal. I am motivated to learn even more, and to set goals for incorporating these things into my nutrition plan.


Step 9: Make a List of the People Whose Help and Cooperation You Will Need

You will need the help of others, such as your family, coworkers, friends, and your doctor, to be successful in your goals. We need support and encouragement, and it is important to identify those people who will support us to the fullest. Some people sabotage our efforts. Educate people about your goals, how you will benefit, and how they can help.

Vegetables: tomatoes and asparagus
Vegetables: tomatoes and asparagus
Cultured vegetables, purple cabbage base.  Personal photo.
Cultured vegetables, purple cabbage base. Personal photo.

Step 10: Make a Plan


Write a detailed plan.  Include what you want and why.  Record your starting point.  Estimate timelines.  List obstacles, and your support system.  These steps have provided a start. 

Having worked with clients in multiple settings on goal setting, I can’t emphasize enough about being thorough and specific.  I found that many clients had no idea how to do this! 

I might break my plan down into many smaller chunks, with a series of short term goals.  I might do this for several areas, such as diet, relaxation and sleep, and exercise. 

For my nutrition plan, I might set aside time every Thursday for reviewing recipes and meal planning.  Then each weekend I would shop, which might include multiple stores.  I might also set a short term goal for eating at least 3 servings of vegetables a day, plus 1 serving of cultured vegetables.  In addition, I might set a goal of juicing 3 times a week, for additional nutrients from vegetables. 

Imagine your "after".  No, this is not me.
Imagine your "after". No, this is not me.

Step 11: Use Visualization


Visualize yourself at a table selecting foods that promote health.  Visualize activities that energize you.  Imagine how good you will feel.  Imagine your healthy life.  Take time for visualization every day.  Do this at night while you are reading your sentence you created in step 3. 

Light meal of tuna, green beans and tomatoes
Light meal of tuna, green beans and tomatoes

Step 12: Make the Decision to Advance, and Affirm that You Will Never Give Up


Never, ever give up.  Everyone has days or weeks where they slip.  When you slip, acknowledge it, then get back with your program, making good food choices. 

Dr. Mercola


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)