Adjust your plans! I have talked about this strategy as a way to stay motivated and to keep learning about your body and lifestyle. When it comes to health and fitness it is constantly evolving and changing. There will always be new suggestions, fads, and plans to follow. New supplements, meal planning ideas, and elimination diets to try out.
Health and Fitness Plans Need to Grow With You
I am not advocating trying all of these new fads. However, it is okay to try something new when you feel stagnant or bored with what you are currently doing. I don’t want you to get crazy and be lazy because you just lacked the willpower to stay committed, but to intentionally try something new for inspiration and to find the fun again.
If you are not enjoying what you are doing you might not stick with it long term. It may be a change up in your workout routine and possibly an edit to your eating habits. The point is, you can adjust and try something when you feel like what you are doing isn’t working for you. Whether that applies to your mental state, or perhaps your body just isn’t responding.
Here are some things you can try if you are either struggling to stick with a plan or if you are just looking for something new to try.
1. Try a Round or Two of 21 Day Fix
I am in no way shape or form a beach body coach or affiliated with them. However, when I was really struggling to get into eating healthy and working out, this program saved me. The eating is super simple to follow and has a focus on clean unprocessed foods. The workouts were only 30 minutes and easy to follow with very little equipment needed. My husband did 21 Day Fix with me and we both saw incredible results.
The down side was that it wasn’t super sustainable for us. Great if you need something to jump start and get back into clean eating and daily workouts. But, eating clean and counting containers every day, although effective, still felt like dieting. We were constantly counting down the 21 Days so that we could have a rest. Then we would start another round. This is a great plan if you need something a bit more strict to get you started, learn portions, and what different foods are made of.
2. Tracking Macros/Calories With an App
Pretty straight forward. There are a ton of free apps to track your calories and/or macros. I prefer the MyFitnessPal app. This app was a major contributor to about the last 6 months of my weight loss journey. This app is amazing if you want to have the flexibility to eat out or sneak some cereal at night. IT WORKS! The big problem people face is that they don’t accurately measure portion sizes. If you add salad dressing to your salad, you should probably bust out the measuring spoon so that 2 tablespoons doesn’t end up being 4.
The cons to calorie and macro tracking are that a lot of people don’t like having to track everything you eat. It does get tedious, however, for weight loss, it is super effective!
I will also say that there is a big focus on flexible eating. It will fit your lifestyle and the foods you enjoy eating, but it doesn’t really encourage clean eating. Yes, you can totally eat clean on this plan, but it doesn’t really teach you how to eat clean. If you are wanting to learn more about calorie/macro counting, you can read this article on losing weight with the MyFitnessPal app to get some suggestions and ideas.
3. Intermittent Fasting
There is actually a lot to this very basic concept. I have tried doing an 8-hour window where you can eat. So basically I didn’t eat in the morning until 10 am, and at night I didn’t eat after 6 pm. Some people add in days where they fast for 24 or 48 hours. These are very specific and for a purpose. Do plenty of research before trying this. I am in no way advocating that you starve yourself.
Many people recommend doing “fasted cardio,” which just means that you do a cardio-focused workout in the morning before you eat anything. The concept is to let your body use up the fat stores in your body while working out, instead of just working off calories from food.
This is a good plan if you are looking for something that doesn’t include tracking your every bite. You focus on eating intuitively (only when you are hungry and not until you are stuffed.) Intermittent fasting is a more lifestyle-focused plan so that you can give your digestive system time to work properly.
4. Weight Watchers
Seriously, I know a few people personally who have had incredible success with weight watchers. If you are able to add this to your budget it really is a great plan to help you lose weight. I love that they are constantly upgrading the plan. They have changed it so that most vegetables, fruits, and chicken are no points. It is encouraging you to eat cleaner so that you can eat free points and save some points for a treat later, or maybe some cheese on your salad. It is super flexible, and you even get a weekly allowance that you can use throughout the week in case you are eating out or have a special occasion.
Weight Watchers has really upped their game to help people sustain their eating and lose weight. They also have a large focus on community, support, and encouragement with other people following weight watchers.
5. Clean Eating/Cutting Processed Foods
Alright, maybe tracking your food isn’t for you. Maybe you don’t want to worry about what hours you can eat. If you want to focus more on clean eating then just do it. This one is where you start eliminating processed foods. Focusing on meats, vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, etc.
If you are looking to go the super clean eating route, you may need to stop buying the processed foods! If you are like me and they are in your house, I will eventually end up eating them. I will eventually have a bad day and pick the box of macaroni and cheese for dinner.
Clean eating is becoming a much hotter topic lately in the health and fitness community. I prefer to have a more balanced approach with a focus on clean eating, but we have not completely eliminated all processed foods. This one is super dependent on your priorities and lifestyle choices!
6. Join a Facebook Accountability Group
These groups are amazing! Find a few friends and start a group where you can share fitness goals, post-workout selfies, your food journal for the day, or just get some encouragement from people when you struggle.
Having a small group of people to celebrate each others’ wins, keep accountability, and an awesome amount of encouragement can really help you stay motivated. Ask around to find one or simply start one and invite a few friends you think may be interested. If you need help staying on track then you need to find your people. Your people are not saying “screw it, I hate working out.” Your people are saying “ yeah running was not for me so I tried Zumba and loved it!”
Find the people that will be positive, help brainstorm ideas when someone is struggling, and encourage you to keep going.
7. Write Down What You Eat
If you are trying to lose weight, not just maintain and have a healthy lifestyle, this is critical! You have to write down what you eat. Your version might be tracking it on an app like Weight Watchers or MyFitnessPal. If you don’t want to use an app then you need to use a food journal. I have filled up three composition notebooks with my food logs.
It does not have to be expensive, pretty or fancy. It can be fancy and full of glitter! But the point is, don’t let not having a special notebook stop you from tracking what you eat.
Impacting Your Health and Fitness with a .64 Cent Notebook!
Do you know what happens when I start writing down what I eat? I stop eating my kids leftover chicken nuggets. Those leftover Cheetos aren’t worth writing it down and recognizing that I ate those calories. I snack a lot less and focus more on healthy meals. I do still have snacks, but I usually have fruit, yogurt, vegetables, and hummus, or some other type of healthy snack. The point is, I will actually be proud of myself seeing that healthy snack written down instead of seeing Cheetos on the page.
This is also where the facebook accountability group can come in handy. If you know you are going to share that picture later with your friends then you are more likely to make good choices. It is not about shame or guilt, just sometimes having the motivation to be proud of yourself and excited to share your awesome choices and willpower!
Your Health and Fitness Plan Your Way!
Whatever you want to try and follow, or maybe you need to mix up a few ideas. Customize a plan for yourself that works with your lifestyle and commit to it. This is not a willy nilly make up a diet and stick to it for three days. I am talking about choosing a specific plan to follow as a habit and routine so that you can maintaining a healthy lifestyle without feeling like you are always on a diet.
Sustainable and enjoyable is the name of the game in this journey! I am currently following Intermittent Fasting from 10 am-6 pm, I am writing down my food every single day in a notebook, and I’m actually about to start a facebook group to rally some friends who want to join me in staying motivated. If you are interested in the group, check out my facebook page Life Before Dawn and let me know you want an invite.
If you are looking for some resources, fill out the form below. I have some awesome worksheets to help you figure out your goals and stay motivated. There is also a list of my pantry staples that help me stay on track and keep healthy options around. If you need any help with suggestions or have any ideas to share please email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below!