So many people struggle to stay consistent with their diet, training, or both… they repeatedly start, stop, start, stop without getting any real momentum or pulling together any kind of extended streak. I recently surveyed our group members who have been consistent for at least a year, or even many years, about how they did it….

how to stick to your diet

In addition to our recent group survey, I’ve also made a study of this subject myself for decades, scouring the psychology and behavior literature for clues about how to stick to your diet and training plan. It was the combination of personal surveys and scientific research that led me to write today’s post.

It’s a short one, but valuable…

What you’ll read below is a list of the best ways to consistently stick to your diet and training program and maintain a healthy weight for life…

1. Know your reason why. What is the most emotionally powerful reason you absolutely must get healthy and fit and maintain it for life?

2. Focus on lifestyle change. Avoid quick fixes. Understand that anything you do that’s temporary will not guarantee permanent results.

3. Make it sustainable. Choose your own program that’s realistic enough that you know you can follow it for the long haul.

4. Realize it’s not just about numbers. A focus on performance, fitness, energy, and health can keep many people on the path when aesthetics alone can’t. Focus on non-scale victories.

5. Make health your highest value. Health as a motivator can be paradoxical because it may not motivate everyone if they don’t have any current health problems. Some people won’t change until they have a brush with death. But when someone puts a high value on being healthy now and maintaining health, mobility, strength, and independence into old age, it can be a tremendous motivator to stay consistent so they stay healthy.

6. Be flexible. Avoid all or none thinking. Avoid dichotomizing foods into good and bad. Allow yourself to include your favorite foods occasionally in reasonable amounts. Be flexible with training schedules too: miss a morning workout, make it up later in the day. Miss one of your four weekly lifting sessions, make it up on one of the other three days.

7. Build good habits. Learn how habits work. Don’t depend only on willpower, which can easily fail you. Understand how willpower requires conscious effort, but good habits work on auto-pilot.

8. Schedule everything. Put your training plan in writing including a calendar with time, date, and place and make it a habit. Put your meal plan in writing, including the time of each meal. Tape it to your fridge.

9. Develop contingency plans. Anticipate what might go wrong. Create a plan in advance for what you’ll do if it does happen, so you’re prepared and not blindsided. “If X happens, then I will do Y.”

10. Practice self-compassion. Forgive yourself if you have a slip up. Don’t beat yourself up. Recognize that you’re only human and it happens to everyone.

11. Be self motivated. Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful kind. External motivation is fine, but never depend on it exclusively because it may not last.

12. Be resilient. Get back on track fast after a setback. Know that you’re only one meal away from being back on track; you’re only one workout away from being back on track.

13. Have fun: Find a type of exercise or movement that you enjoy.

14. Look back at the negative. Remind yourself what being unfit was like. Vehemently refuse to ever go back to where you started.

15. Look back at the positive. Look at where you started then appreciate and celebrate how far you’ve come.

16. Get a support system. Get one or more accountability parters, or better yet, join a group of like minded people.

How many of these keys to consistency do you currently practice? If you practice a lot of them, I bet you’re consistent and you’re maintaining, or you’re making progress and you will maintain.

If you’ve been falling short in multiple areas listed above, there’s a good chance you’re not as consistent as you want to be.  The good news is, after reading this, you’ll know exactly what to do to fix a consistency problem.

Train hard and expect success!

– Tom Venuto,
Author, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle
Founder, Burn The Fat Inner Circle,
All-Natural, No-BS Body Transformation

tomvenuto-blogAbout Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilding and fat loss expert. He is also a recipe creator specializing in fat-burning, muscle-building cooking. Tom is a former competitive bodybuilder and today works as a full-time fitness coach, writer, blogger, and author. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and backpacker. His book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is an international bestseller, first as an ebook and now as a hardcover and audiobook. The Body Fat Solution, Tom’s book about emotional eating and long-term weight maintenance, was an Oprah Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine pick. Tom is also the founder of Burn The Fat Inner Circle – a fitness support community with over 52,000 members worldwide since 2006. Click here for membership details

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