How to Stick to Your Exercise Routine and Diet Plan. Get Fit.

Exercise Routine & Diet Plan

Some people can't seem to stick with their exercise routine and diet plan. They last a week or two and then they quit. Later they try again and the same thing happens. Do they lack willpower? Is it them or is it their plan? I am good at sticking with my exercise routines and diet plans. Sticking with my exercise routines and diet plans is fairly easy. Other people make plans that I could not stick with.

I hear other people's plans and think "That is a terrible plan. How do you expect to get yourself to stick with it?" or "That plan will not work.". They are setting themselves up to fail by making it really difficult to succeed. People that are good at sticking with their diet plans and exercise routines tend to take a different approach.

The Plan

Plan to switch your routine. Have a start date and an end date. Try new things.
Plan to switch your routine. Have a start date and an end date. Try new things. | Source

Exercise routines can stop working or become too boring. Limit the amount of time you intend to do the same workout routine. Losing a lot of fat and building a lot of muscle usually takes months. Your routine may only be good for 2 or 3 weeks. Plan to only do the routine for as long as you think you can stick with it. If it becomes too boring or stops working then it is time to start a new exercise routine. In the time it takes to get the results you want you could switch your exercise routine 6 times.

It can be difficult to stick to a strict diet. You don't like the foods in your diet or you miss the foods that you are not supposed to be eating. To be healthy and to enjoy your diet you need to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. If you are planning cheat days then you probably should not be on that diet. I have seen lots of people diet for a week or two and then give up. To stick with your diet plan start with a good plan. Make a diet plan that is easy to stick to for months or years. A good diet plan is filling up on healthy food and drinking lots of water.

Before you start an exercise routine or diet make sure the plan is a good one. If your plan has no chance of success you failed before you even started. A lot of people actually plan to make themselves feel miserable. They should be planning on making themselves feel better. Do a variety of exercises and eat a large variety of foods.

Positive Feedback

The feedback you get encourages or discourages you from repeating the behavior. I started doing a push up routine and I could tell that I was getting stronger. The positive feedback reinforced the behavior. It made me want to keep doing the exercise routine. When I stopped improving there was no more positive feedback. It started to feel like a waste of time. So I quit. I could not stick with the exercise routine because I was no longer getting positive feedback. After quitting I started a new workout routine.

You can look at yourself in the mirror, take pictures of yourself, see how much fat and muscle you have, test your physical abilities, pay attention to how you feel, see if other people notice the difference, check to see how your clothes fit and weigh yourself. It is better to use lots of different method to get feedback. Some people lose inches around their waste, build muscle, feel more energetic and become taller but they give up because they did not lose weight. They don't get enough positive feedback because they are only focused on one thing.

How did you feel while you were on your last diet and exercise plan?

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Weigh Loss and Bigger Muscles

Weight loss is one of the more common fitness goals. I gained 10 pounds and nobody noticed. I lost 10 pounds and nobody noticed, including me. The only way to tell if I gained or lost a little weight is to step on the scale. It can take a lot of work to lose a few pounds and for all that work you get almost nothing. You don't get the positive feedback you need everyday or week to keep going. That is why it is can be very hard to stick to weight loss goals. Even if you see that you lost a pound or 2 by looking at the scale it is not enough.

Increasing my strength means progress.
Increasing my strength means progress. | Source

Another common goal is to increase the size of your muscles. It can take a very long time to bulk up enough to easily see that your muscles are bigger. If you lose fat while building muscle your muscles may look smaller. When you are focused on increasing the size of your muscles you don't get enough positive feedback on a daily or weekly basis to keep you going for weeks or months.

Fitness goals are easier to stick to because you get a lot more feedback. In a week I lost inches around my waist while increasing my strength and endurance. I felt healthier and more powerful. Everyday I was getting positive feedback that reinforced the behavior. It made me want to keep exercising 5 days a week. How much weight did I lose? I never stepped on the scale because seeing a number on the scale does not motivate me to stick to my diet and exercise routine.

Turning a Negative Into a Positive

The pain means I going to be stronger.
The pain means I going to be stronger. | Source

When exercising you will receive negative feedback in the form of pain and discomfort. You can let it discourage you from sticking to your routine or you can change how you think about it. If the exercise tires me out it is building up my endurance. If my muscles hurt they are going to get stronger while I am sleeping. Sweating is not bad. It is good for me. An increased appetite means I can eat more healthy food and have more energy.

Turn negatives into positives and keep an open mind. I started eating more food and I gained weight while I lost inches around my waste. If I did not start eating more or gain weight then I probably would not have been able to lose the fat and flatten my stomach. People often sabotage themselves. Negative thinking stops people from sticking with their diet and exercise routine. Practice positive thinking.

Entertainment

To get in really good shape I went to the beach every week during the summer.
To get in really good shape I went to the beach every week during the summer. | Source

You can learn a lot from TV shows and video games. Sticking with an exercise routine can be difficult. Sticking with a TV or video game routine is easy. So what is the difference. Exercise takes less time and it is more convenient. It can help you achieve a lot of your goals and provide your with a greater sense of accomplishment. I can improve my body by exercising and give myself the ability to do fun things outside. Watching a lot of TV can be bad for your health.

People really like their entertainment. So it is easy for them to stick with things that they consider to be entertainment. Sticking to an exercise routine is hard when you think of it as work. It is much easier when you think of it as a form of entertainment. Don't think of exercise as work you don't want to do. Think of it as a recreational activity. When you are not working you exercise for fun. Exercising is a good way to reduce boredom and stress.

Workout and Diet with Other People

Some people need another person to exercise with them. They can't get themselves to stick to an exercise routine by themselves. If you think having a workout partner would make it easier then find someone to workout with you. Working out with people in a video or a virtual person may be enough. You can watch exercise DVDs or online videos on sites like YouTube. Some motion controlled games like Wii Fit have virtual trainers.

Maintaining a healthy diet is easier when the people around you are eating healthy. Try to eat with people that are on the same diet or a similar one. Avoid eating with people that are eating unhealthy foods and drinking high calorie drinks if that makes it harder for you to stay on your diet. If someone else is making the meal tell them that you are on a diet. Don't keep comparing yourself to other people. You may need more or less food than the other people you are eating with.

Exercise equipment.
Exercise equipment. | Source

Exercise Equipment

Buying exercise equipment is a good way to motivate yourself to workout. At least it should be. People tend to buy the equipment use it almost everyday for a week or two and then let it collect dust. Do you hide your exercise equipment or put it where it is difficult to get at? Put your exercise equipment out in the open where you will see it ever day and make sure that it takes very little effort to get at it.

If you don't want to use it then put it away. If you plan on using it then put it out in the open. You put your TV and couch in a good spot because you planned on using them. Do the same for you the exercise equipment you want to use. Location is important. I have some exercise equipment in my living room beside my TV. Exercise machines can be loud. If you don't use your exercise machine because it is too loud then try using headphones.

Expectations

You work out and stick to your diet all week. After stepping on the scale you find that you lost 2 pounds. If you think 2 pounds is great it can motivate you to keep going. If you think 2 pounds is bad then you may decide to quit. People tend to have unrealistic expectations that are based on wishful thinking. It is better to learn what to expect by paying attention to what happens to you or by doing research to see what happened to other people that used diet and exercise to improve their body.

Lots of people quit because their wishful thinking does not match reality. Don't let unrealistic expectations stop you. Use your experiences and the experiences of others to make educated guesses. Have expectations that are realistic. If things don't go the way you expected them to then learn from it and adjust your expectations.

Setbacks

Minor setbacks often turn into major setbacks. The minor setback becomes an excuse to stop trying. A cheat day turns into a cheat week. A day off from exercise turns into a week off from exercise and then another and another. If you gain a pound of fat don't let it turn into 10 or 20 pounds of fat. Go back to your diet plan and exercise routine. One of the worst things you can do is to feel guilty or sad and punish yourself by doing the opposite of what you were doing to get fit.

If you experience a setback then stop thinking about it. Think about what you want and focus on achieving your goal. Learn from the setback and move on. Don't treat it like it is the end. People that over think or overreact are more likely to sabotage their progress after a minor setback.

Cravings

Exercise routines and diet plans usually lead to cravings for high calorie foods. You crave junk food, desserts, meat or just food in general. Resisting makes it worse. Will power fades and the cravings increase. So it is usually better to satisfy your cravings the smart way. Start by eating when you get hungry. Snack between meals if you need to. Fill up on on healthy foods and drink lots of water. Boredom and stress can increase your cravings for high calorie comfort food. So relax and avoid being bored.

If you still crave unhealthy food then have a small portion and eat slowly. You don't need a large piece of pie to enjoy it. Replace some of the food with healthier alternatives that you like just as much. Having some dessert is okay. Some people need to eat more food when they start exercising more. If you need the extra food then eating more food is okay. Counting calories can make it harder to stick with your diet. I only count the empty calories from things like pop, junk food and unhealthy desserts.

Tips

  1. Start with a diet and exercise plan you should be able to stick with.
  2. Limit the amount of time you spend on the same routine.
  3. Get lots of different types of feedback.
  4. Focus on what you really want.
  5. Turn negatives into positives.
  6. Put your exercise equipment where you will use it.
  7. Exercise as a form of entertainment.
  8. Diet and exercise with other people.
  9. Have realistic expectations.
  10. Avoid turning minor setbacks into major ones.
  11. Satisfy your Cravings. Don't fight them.
  12. Enjoy the journey. Have fun and feel good.

The main reason people have trouble sticking with their diet and exercise routine is that they make themselves feel miserable. They feel sick and tired. Diet plans and exercise routines are supposed to make you feel better. You should enjoy it. While losing fat or building muscle I am having fun. I don't torture myself for a week or two and then give up. I maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to feel good.

© 2014 Michael H

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Comments 1 comment

Tricia Deed 24 months ago

You will not quit an exercise plan if you like your activity. Find a physical program which truly suits your interests. Think nutritional needs for your body rather than a diet. Note the spelling "die" t.

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