How to Stick to Your Healthy Diet and Fitness Plan
Most healthy diets and fitness programmes usually end within the first three days, because these are usually the hardest. If you can make it past the first three days, you should be able to last for a few weeks, but if you manage to last until the three-week mark, that is also a time when it usually becomes harder to stick to your diet.
The three-week mark can especially be challenging for women. If you have ever wondered why you can stick to your diet perfectly for three weeks, but then go off the rails for a week, remember that PMS cravings are a thing and that a lot of women end up eating more either the week before their periods or the week of.
It is usually easier, in my experience, to start a diet the week after your period, but then you know that a few weeks later, it might become really challenging.
If you have been addicted to sugar for your entire life, changing your diet to one that is low in sugar can be incredibly difficult, especially during the first few weeks when your body is going through withdrawal.
When you are fighting cravings, it can be incredibly hard to stick to your healthy diet and when starting a new training programme, especially if you are usually quite sedentary and are new to exercise.
Here are a few things that we have learned over the years that can help you stick to your healthy diet:
1. You Need to Find Other Sources of Pleasure than Food
Have a game plan in place. We suggest making a list of things that you get pleasure out of that you can turn to when your cravings start becoming too much.
You can take a warm bath, go for a walk, watch an interesting movie, visit a friend, go hiking, get a massage, etc.
2. Stay Busy to Reduce Temptation
The less you have to do, the more you will be tempted to cheat on your healthy diet and search through the pantry looking for something to eat.
Especially for the first few days of trying to change a bad habit or adopt a good one, try to fill your schedule, so that you will not have the time to even think about it.
3. Do Not Overcommit to a Fitness Programme
When first setting a goal to improve your health and fitness, it can be tempting to say that you are going to work out six days a week for 30 minutes a day. However, life gets in the way, unplanned things happen, and if you have a stressful day at work, the last thing you might want to do is exercise, regardless of how much you want to improve your fitness.
If you want to improve your fitness, but from past experience or simply looking at your lifestyle from a logical point of view, you know that it might be difficult for you to commit to a moderate fitness programme and exercise six times a week.
If you struggle to stick to a fitness programme, then we highly recommend that you do not overcommit and perhaps only try and exercise three times a week. That way, if you do not want to work out on a Monday after work, because Mondays are hard enough, you still have enough time left in the week to fit in three workouts, and your fitness will still improve.
4. Prep Meals Beforehand, So You Always Have Something Healthy to Eat
A new diet often reaches its end when you are somewhere that is far from home or do not have access to healthy food like when you are at a party. If you are starving, sticking to your diet can quickly become extremely difficult. It can become even more difficult than it already might be.
If you make sure that you always have something healthy to eat available, then you will reduce temptation a lot. You can take a Sunday afternoon and prep enough healthy food for the week, and also stock up on healthy snacks that you can keep in your bag or car in case of an emergency.
5. Do Not Cheat Two Days In a Row
One cheat day is fine. If, for one day, you eat more than you should or cheat on your diet with unhealthy foods, such as foods that are high in trans fats (deep fried foods) and foods that are high in sugar like doughnuts, ice cream, cake, and candy, that is still okay, but when you start doing it for two days in a row or more, you could officially say that you may have fallen off the wagon.
If you cheat, just start over immediately. You are not trying to be healthy and improve your fitness for the short term, or at least I hope you are not. One day will not mess up your health completely, but when it starts to become a daily trend once again, it is not good.
6. Follow the 80/20 Rule
We love the 80/20 rule, which basically means that you eat healthily 80% of the time and allow yourself to indulge 20% of the time. If you do this, you will still get 80% of the benefits and be able to maintain your mental sanity far easier. You can go more extreme and make it a 90/10 rule, which we tend to do most of the time by default.
7. Be Consistent with Your Diet and Fitness
The key to a healthy diet and fitness plan is trying to stay consistent. Just focus on becoming consistent, and over time, you will reap the benefits.
If a new health habit really is not working or you find that it is nearly impossible to incorporate it into your life without an unreasonable amount of sacrifice, you can let it go and find an alternative that you will be able to be consistent with.
We hope that you have found these tips on how to stick to your diet and fitness programme useful.