8 Tips for Sticking to Your Healthy Eating and Exercise Plan

Make your get-fit program more enjoyable, too.

Salad in a to-go box

Medically reviewed in August 2021

Updated on March 14, 2022

If you're looking to protect your health by watching your weight and exercising more, it can be easier said than done. The trick is to find your biggest challenges, create solutions, and devise ways to make the process enjoyable. Try some of these tips.

Find your favorite exercise
I know people who jog and hate it. How long do you think they will keep that up? We aren’t inclined to dive in or stick to things we despise. Out of all the forms of exercise out there, find one you just love. Get really specific. Don’t just say “yoga.” Instead, discover what type of yoga is your favorite. If swimming is your thing, do you prefer gym pools over a nearby lake? Or maybe you’d dread a step class but you can’t get enough of Pilates. Find your favorite exercise and you just may be excited to do it.

Go from a scarcity to abundance mindset
Part of why people don’t stick to healthy eating is because they begin thinking and feeling like are deprived, and then they say, “Forget this, it’s too hard.” Instead of thinking about what you can’t have or what you shouldn’t do, tell yourself you can have anything you want and you don’t have to give up anything—you just can’t have it all the time.

Splurge for one meal
Use one meal a week to eat what you want. I wouldn’t make it a feast for kings, but tuck in—even those garlic mashed potatoes. Knowing you have once a week when you can let go a little and indulge can keep you making the right decisions the rest of the week.

Watch your portions of high-calorie healthy stuff
Are you overeating the good stuff? I love peanut butter, but I use a dollop, not a scoop. Do you sit down with a bag of peanuts instead of eating a handful? Can you use a spritzer for your olive oil instead of pouring it?

Connect your indulgences to your workouts
If you slip up one day, ditch the guilt and shame and just connect your indulgence to a workout. If you slipped up big time, work out big time! If you slipped up a little bit, work out a little bit more.

Use a to-go box
Restaurant portions are often too big for one meal. When you order your meal, ask for (or bring) a to-go box. Don’t wait to see how much of your entrée you eat, but put half of it in the box as soon as your meal is served.

Check calorie counts before you dine out
Many restaurants and fast food places have online nutritional information that’s easy to find, download and even print. Just make sure you check portions. If something contains 250 calories, that’s terrific, but if it contains four servings (at 250 calories each) and you eat all four of them, that might be more than you need for that meal.

Drink water and green tea
Water keeps your body working effectively and it makes you feel fuller. Keep water on hand all the time. If the taste bores you, add a squeeze of lemon. Green tea is a great antioxidant and aids digestion. Both are leaps and bounds better than soda.

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