Q:

Whenever I start a new diet, I’m motivated for a week and then lose inspiration. Do you have any advice for staying motivated to continue a new diet or exercise routine?

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Answers (11)

EXPERT
Andrea Garman, RD, LDN (Registered Dietitian) answered

Losing motivation is completely normal whenever you start a new diet and exercise routine. So here's my advice on the matter: don't think of these changes as a "new diet" or a "new exercise routine." Instead, think of your diet and exercise changes as adapting a healthy lifestyle that will eventually lead to a happier (and hotter) you! These changes in diet and exercise can't be thought of as temporary, because if that's the case, then your old habits will inevitably return along with the feelings (and pounds) that accompany them.

I recommend adapting healthy lifestyle habits one (maybe two) at a time. If you change too much at once, you're setting yourself up for failure because it's difficult to stick to it when you make a lot of drastic changes all at once.

Here's an example: During the first two weeks of your new and improved healthy life, you might commit to going to the gym three days a week and giving up soda. Maybe during week three you up the ante and commit to going to the gym four times a week, plus you eat breakfast every morning and a smaller dinner. Making changes one at a time is much more manageable and not nearly as overwhelming.

I generally don't recommend counting calories because I think it can get exhausting and somewhat discouraging when you consider food only as a source of calories rather than enjoying nutritious food and the benefits it can have on your health.

I do, however, think it's important to be able to identify ways to decrease calories in your daily diet if you're trying to lose weight. For example, when choosing a salad dressing, it's generally a good rule of thumb to reach for a vinaigrette-based dressing (even better is a light version) rather than a cream-based dressing. Or, rather than drinking your morning glass of orange juice, reach for an orange instead.

As far as tracking your weight goes, the decision to weigh or not to weigh is a personal one. In the beginning especially, it can be encouraging to track your progress by stepping on the scale once a week (and always at the same time of the day). Weekly weigh-ins can also be helpful during the weight maintenance phase because it can help individuals identify a 1 to 2 pound weight gain before it becomes 4 to 5 pounds. On the other hand, some people prefer to track their weight according to the way their clothes fit. I'd say you should stick with whatever works for you!

 

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EXPERT
Jacqueline Aizen (Registered Dietician) answered
First of all I'd like to congratulate you on making the decision to adopt healthier eating and lifestyle habits because having the desire to do so is already a big step! Setting goals whatever they may be whether fitting into your favorite pair of jeans or traveling to your dream destination is often easier than maintaining the motivation to see them through. In matters of food and fitness perhaps you can start by eliminating the word "diet" from your lexicon. I find that people associate the word "diet" with food deprivation, which often leads to binge eating. Forget the "diet schmiet" mentality and instead focus on the word "nourishment." When you decide to start feeding your body the foods that will make you feel and look great, the obsession with weight loss will be replaced with a desire to feel healthy. 
It is also important to stay mindful and listen to your body and gut to whether you are physically hungry or whether you need to fill an emotional void or gap with food. If you have support from family/friends it can really help you stay motivated as well. A dietician can also help you figure out what foods will help you feel and look great, teach you about how to make healthier food choices, portions, help you create meal plans that fit into your preferences, culture, and lifestyle, and be there to answer any dietary questions.
When it comes to fitness I would encourage you to choose an activity that interests you because when you engage in an activity that you like or love the motivation comes naturally because it's fun! Remember, you don't have to be in a gym to "exercise." Did you ever notice how fast time flies when you are out dancing for example? 
I agree with baby steps, instead of overwhelming yourself with a huge long term goal, start with shorter ones. Don't beat yourself up if you don't always meet your daily goals, we all have are ups and downs. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day..or two..







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EXPERT
Meg Mangano, RD, CSSD, CLT (Registered Dietitian, Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics) answered
I agree completely with all of what Andrea has said. Diet's are temporary! When aiming for a health change, remember you want a sustainable and lifelong plan... you want to create healthy habits!

Pick one or two goals out per week to focus on, and build from there. Have short-term and long-term goals and ask a buddy to join you! It can be fun, motivating and inspiring to try new things with friends - like exercise classes or new healthy recipes.

Another option is to seek out professionals to work with (like RDs or Certified Personal Trainers) or utilize tools/apps that can educate you and help you stay on track for a healthy fueling and exercise program. A great website for articles and recipes is www.cleaneatingmag.com or for apps try myfitnesspal.com or LoseIt!

Most important, find what and who supports you most while having fun!
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EXPERT
Mary Barbour (Registered Dietitian) answered
If you find yourself becoming unmotivated for a week then set small, manageable goals for yourself and rewards every week. For instance you can reward yourself with a pedicure, a massage, something cute to wear to the gym. You can also set bigger rewards like booking that island vacation you've always been dreaming about or sign up for a 5K and train for it.

Just remember it's one day at a time. Try to accomplish something healthy for just that one day. You don't k=nned to overwhelm yourself by saying things like "I'm going to the gym 5 times this week." Instead replace it with "I'm going ot the gym today". It's less daunting when you break down your larger goals into doable tasks.
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EXPERT
Ixchel Mendoza (Certified Personal Trainer) answered
I'm a firm believer in baby steps. First of all, give yourself and your body some time. No matter what condition your body is in today, it took time to get there, and it will take time to get to a different place. If you are trying to lose weight, be realistic about how much you can actually lose per week/month. If you are trying to regain strength, or health talk to a professional about how to get there. Setting realistic expectations can help you stay on track and not lose hope. 

I like to have my clients track their meals for a couple days to get a sense of what they eat and when so we can start the switch to healthier habits. It could be going from 4 sodas a day to two, to one, then to only on occasion, or going from skipping breakfast, to eating breakfast a few times a week, to then every day of the week. When you make small changes it becomes more manageable and you give your body a chance to adjust. 

Do the same thing with your workouts. Write out your activity (formal workouts and active time like playing with your kids or walking to the store). After you take a look at your schedule and your current activity, you can see where more can be added. Schedule in a dance class, walk to work once or twice a week, or schedule time with a personal trainer or fitness buddy. If you want to monetize your motivation, try the app GymPact or RunKeeper to help you as well.

To recap: take a look at what your habits are, set realistic expectations, and then set small steps to success. Keep your reason for change always on your mind (or write it down and put it on the fridge). 





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EXPERT
Sam Yang (Fitness Coach, Nutritionist) answered
Whats your reason for dieting? Connect it to some desire. Make it mean something. Too many people exercise or diet mindlessly. Why would anyone stay motivated on a diet that doesn't mean anything to them?
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EXPERT
Kimberly Garrison, CPT, CYT, CNC (Certified: Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher, Nutrition Consultant) answered
Maintaining motivation is often the most challenging part of a diet/exercise program.  With that said, you have to maintain a clear vision for what your doing and why.  Also, digging deep and examining your core beliefs, and re-wiring your internal tapes is also a good place to start.  Ultimately, you only get what you aim for.  So, remember it's a marathon and not a sprint.  LIke a dance there will be starts and stops, but with persistence, fortitude, and determination you can overcome anything.
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EXPERT
Dr. Charles Bollmann, M.D. (Ob/Gyn, Fellow Amer. Academy Cosmetic Surgery, Founding Member Amer. Holistic Medical Assn.) answered
There are 3000 books on diet, because none of them work.
If one did work, there would be only one book.

If there was one I would recommend, it is Michael Pollan's book "In Defense Of Food". It is not about diet, but about eating the right foods. 

Once you learn how to eat correctly, then discipline is necessary. And set long term goals. Americans tend to agree to do anything, as long as it takes a week.

For exercise, pick something you like to do. Homes in the U.S. are littered with stationary bikes and treadmills that are used as coat racks. Personally, I like tennis. It can be played at any age, and at all levels. But if your exercise routine is not fun, you will not do it.

And you get 3 times more benefit exercising 4-5 times per week than 3 times per week.
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CHIgirl answered
Ok, so I am the first non-expert to answer.  For the past 5 years, I have not been on any sort of diet.  I tried to eat healthy foods but I ate when I was hungry and didn't deny myself any type of food.  I did this because when I went on diets before I became obsessed with what I ate and became very cranky, and I didn't want to live my life that way.

About 6 weeks ago, I decided I'd had enough.  Clothes were too tight, and these were the clothes that I'd bought to accommodate my weight gain. I decided to "go on a diet" though I know that seems like a dirty word here.  I was very worried about my mental state, and worried that I would be hungry all the time.

To my surprise, it wasn't as hard as I thought.  This simple premise, I feel, has really helped me stick to my dietary changes.  Acknowledging that managing my food intake is not as hard as I thought it would be.  I have lost about 6 pounds in 6 weeks (which I have read is a healthy pace).  My approach has been to limit calories while increasing the amount of healthy foods I eat (fruits and vegetables). I have been using MyFitnessPal to track my meals.  If I indulge in something, I notice that I don't loose any weight but that I get back on track after a few days of responsible eating.  This helps me to keep from catastrophizing (e.g., I've ruined my diet! all is lost!).  Also, I do not exercise.  I plan to incorporate this soon but I didn't want to do it too soon because, as the experts have said, baby steps seem to work better. 

Anyway, I can't promise that my accomplishments will be long-lasting but what I have done works for me so far. 
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Yogesh P. answered
1st keep ur diet simple like whatever u can eat everyday, reduce portions, but don't avoid ur favourite foods..

Eat Yogurt, raw paneer, drink hot milk bedtime, drink lots of water, eat fruits and salads, drink green tea morning first thing and eat little salad before lunch and Dinner.
Dip handful of whole grains (Black grams, peas, peanuts, pulses) in cup of water overnight and eat in morning.

You can follow following diet and fitness tips for better results: -

Eat more of vegetarian food, have 5 time meals rather. Eat yogurt, curd in mrng and evening.

You can have seafood also.

Drink 1 cup of green tea empty stomach.

breakfast of cereals, milk and egg only, with bread

Lunch u can have beans on bread, 1 plate dal rice or 2-3 breads with baked/ boiled vegetables

have light dinner, eat some salad and u can have 2-3 breads and with gravy, pulses or pasta with not much of cheese. You can use home made salsa

Drink plain hot milk with only little suger or green tea bed time

avoid soda/aerated drinks (mainly diet Soda), chicken, beef, pork, cheese, pizzas and junk food.
Avoid rice at night. you can treat yourself on weekend with these food, but keep activity level high on weekend

learn some recipes for healthy food. You can look for alternates like fish, crab, prawns, Soya, Mushrooms etc..

try different exercises to give challenge to ur muscles, try different activities, chose a partner who motivates you and keep paste posters of Fit people in ur room to keep u motivated for workout
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DinaHaines answered
1. Set small, measurable goals that will help you get to your overall large goal. For instance – I will eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, incorporate leafy green veggies into 3 meals a day, drink at least 68 ounces of water daily, etc.
2. Skip the pantry and head to the fridge. No one really keeps a lot of processed foods in their fridge because they’re usually self-stable. When looking for an afternoon snack I tend to stick with something from the fridge (non-fat greek yogurt, fruit, veggies with hummus, edmamae, etc.)
3. Try new foods. Eating steamed broccoli and baked tofu every night can get old. Look for new healthy recipes online, in cookbooks or magazines so you don’t get bored with eating healthy. I know a good place for recipes.
<a href="http://www.traditionessaysonline.com/">click here</a> for more tips.
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