Often diets fail because we start out with good intentions, but no concrete plan. If your goal is to lose weight, it is important to determine the steps you’ll use to reach that goal. In order to make healthier choices, you’ll need to plan ahead. In this article, we’ll help you formulate a plan and give you tips to stay on track every step of the way.
1. Make a Shopping List
You’ve probably heard the advice to avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry. But it can be just as difficult to make good choices in the store if you don’t have a plan. When you create your shopping list, keep in mind what foods will be easy to prepare and combine for various meals. It’s a good idea to have a rough outline of your meals and snacks for the week so you can stock up on the items you’ll need. Give yourself a helping hand by buying pre-washed, precut veggies that will easy to grab and go. Look for quick solutions, like precooked chicken breasts or hardboiled eggs that you can chop up and add to a fresh salad.
TIP: The Hollywood Cookie Diet®  is a great way to always have a healthy meal at hand. Since each tasty chocolate chip cookie is individually wrapped, you can always grab one for those days that are extra busy.
2. Prepare Ahead
If your refrigerator is stocked with lean proteins and fresh vegetables but you don’t have time to make a meal, you may end up eating unhealthy snacks and fast food. Therefore, use time on the weekend to wash and cut up vegetables and cook proteins so that your preparation of meals during the week will be quick and easy.
TIP: For days when you are really pressed for time, choose fast meal solutions, like a protein shake with added greens, hummus and vegetable sticks, cottage cheese and fresh fruit, or a delicious chocolate chip Hollywood Diet Cookie® .
3. Read the Menus
When you are going out to eat, plan ahead to make healthy choices. Most restaurants have menus available online so you can scope out the offerings beforehand. Chain restaurants are also required to list nutritional info, so you can make informed choices. Make your meal selection ahead of time, so when you get to the restaurant you aren’t swayed by peer pressure or tempted by specials. Many restaurants are happy to customize your meal, by leaving off sauces, butter, or fattening extras. Your best bet when eating out is to choose a lean protein, such as tofu, egg whites, seafood, or chicken and pair it with steamed or raw vegetables, like in a salad. If you do choose a salad, always ask for a light dressing on the side and dip your fork into the dressing, rather than pouring it over your plate.
TIP: Don’t make the mistake of starving yourself before going to a restaurant. You might think that you are accounting for the extra calories of dining out, but if you arrive hungry, you’ll be more like to overindulge and make unhealthy choices.
4. Work in Workouts
To add in physical activity, take an honest look at your schedule and your lifestyle. If you have a hard time waking up each morning, you probably won’t be able to get up at 5am and hit the gym on your way to the office. Or if you arrive home exhausted every day you probably won’t be heading out the door to run after work. Start slowly and fit in small portions of exercise where you can. For example, use your lunch break to take a walk, use commercial breaks on TV to fit in a few squats or pushups, and take the stairs whenever you can.
TIP: Check out the many free workout videos available on YouTube, many of which require no equipment. Pick a few short workouts that you can do at home at your convenience.
5. Plan to Indulge
A complete diet plan takes into account that deprivation usually leads to excess. By including some indulgences in your diet plan, you can help yourself stay on track for the long term. Keep in mind that eating whatever you want all weekend will set back your weight loss progress, but having a few well thought out treats throughout the week can help maintain your diet. Plan your indulgences around times when you might have a limited choice, for example at social events or when traveling. And don’t forget that Hollywood Diet® cookies  are a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth, without sacrificing your diet.