How can I stick to my diet and exercise plan if I want to lose weight?

Heidi Powell
The secret to staying on a diet and exercise plan to lose weight is to make a single promise to yourself -- a promise that’s virtually unbreakable -- and to keep it. Then make another promise, and keep that one. And so on. Look at it this way:

Each promise you make is a brick in the personal transformation you’re building.
Each promise you keep is the mortar that holds these bricks together, so your transformation foundation gets stronger with each promise kept.

Your first promise to yourself -- the first brick in your transformation foundation -- must be so small that it’s actually doable, even when life gets in the way, because it will. And that’s a promise!

Here’s an example:

To burn fat, do five minutes of cardio. Whatever activity you choose, do it for five minutes. That’s all. This is a promise you can keep every single day. And if those five minutes lead to five minutes more, that’s even better! But the promise is for only five minutes. And it’s not about the cardio -- it’s about keeping that promise you made to yourself. That’s the key!

Here’s another helpful hint:

Successful promise keepers say their promises and goals out loud and they also write them down. Share yours with those who love and support you, and you’ll be surprised how quickly these supporters become your biggest fans who will move those mountains to help you keep the promises you’ve made to yourself. It’s awesome!

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There are many ways to stay motivated to stick with a diet or exercise program. Here are just a few:
1. When you find the motivation slipping, grab a sheet of paper and make a pros and cons list. List the pros of sticking with the behavior and the cons of sticking with it. So if it is exercise, maybe the pros are the health benefits and the way you will look, and the cons are the time it takes and lack of fun you are having.
2. On that same sheet of paper, write down your answer to this question: If I don’t stick with it, what will my health be like five years from now? These two simple exercises will remind you of why you started this whole thing in the first place.
3. Take a scheduled break. Stop the activity for a couple of days with a written promise to get back on track
4. Change the activity. If it’s exercise, try a new routine. If it’s a diet, try a new meal.
These strategies won’t make the motivation skyrocket, but they will keep it going. Think of it like a tank of gas in your car. You don’t need to have a full tank to operate the car. As long as you keep your motivation levels higher than empty, you will be fine.

There are a million excuses not to stick to your diet and exercise plan, especially when you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed. In this video, Dr. Oz guest Dr. Mike Clark reveals his tips for staying true to your plan.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.