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In life you'll need to focus on staying in shape and maintaining a healthy diet. You may have changed a lot of things about what you eat, your lifestyle, and/or your exercise routine. Sometimes keeping up with all the great changes you've made to be more fit or healthy can be daunting. Many people have difficulty maintaining these changes long-term. It can make you feel overwhelmed or get tired or bored with the lifestyle you've developed. But there are a lot of ways that you can stay motivated and keep up with your healthy lifestyle.
Touch base your doctor and registered dietitian. When you are changing your focus from losing weight or meeting a certain goal to maintaining the healthy body you have fought hard to achieve, your dietary needs may change, too. Before becoming fit and healthy you likely met with your doctor and/or a dietitian, and now would be a good time to follow up and discuss your new goals. If you haven't met with either of these health professionals, now is a great time to make an appointment!
- Meet with your regular doctor. Talk to her about what your goals are, any diets or exercise programs you've done and any lifestyle changes you've made. Discuss any strategies to keep up your momentum going forward.
- A registered dietitian is a nutrition professional who will be able to provide you with information and a healthy eating plan. If you have been losing weight and have finally reached your target weight, you will need to change to a diet focused on maintaining your weight, not shedding pounds. Your dietitian will work with you to make a meal plan that meets your new goals.
Reassess your goals. Your previous goals likely had to do with becoming fit and healthy. Now that you have reached that place, it is a good idea to set new goals to keep yourself motivated. Try setting both short- and long-term goals. Studies have shown that setting smaller, more achievable goals will help you reach a larger goal over time.
- Small goals at healthy, maybe you want to run a 5k. Set a long-term goal to run a 5k in two months, and smaller goals leading up to the race — be able to run 2.5k by the end of the first month, or goals to run 5k in shorter and shorter amounts of time.
- Keep striving for higher goals. Maybe next you will run a half-marathon. Continue to go above and beyond your small goals. You can keep setting smaller goals as you go.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you stumble or fail to reach goals right away. As you've likely learned on your quest to get fit, goal attainment is not linear and can be a struggle — making achievement that much sweeter.
- Be realistic and set yourself up for success. Setting that are too difficult or too big may not be realistic for you. Make sure you're able and willing to do what it takes to meet your goals.
Write up a meal plan. Meal plans are a great tool when you're trying to stick to a healthy eating plan. They make it easy to stick to a plan long-term. Again, this is something that a dietician specializes in, so utilize him as a resource and get help making up a meal plan that meets your needs.
- Meal plans are the framework for all your meals and snacks for a week or two. This will give you the information to keep you on track and give you the basis for a grocery list, which can help you avoid impulse or huger shopping.
- Write out what you'll be eating for each meal, snack and beverage. Keep this information written in a calendar or a notebook. You may also want to note what meals require meal prep and when you're planning on doing your meal prep throughout the week.
- For example: Breakfast: 1/2 cup of oatmeal with berries, Lunch: spinach salad with grilled chicken (grilled over the weekend during meal prep), Afternoon snack: 1 individual greek yogurt, Dinner: grilled salmon, steamed broccoli and brown rice (broccoli cut during meal prep).
- The more detailed you are with your meal plan the more likely you are to stick to your plan and not deviate.