Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Don't Fall Back into Bad Habits

How to keep a good thing going

Going Easy on Yourself

Too often, people take an "all-or-nothing" approach to sensible eating and working out, which can lead to giving up altogether, says Debbie Mandel, MA, author of Changing Habits.

"If you can't do an hour workout today because you are tired, do 15 minutes instead," she suggests. "See how that goes, and then see if you can do another 15 minutes. Sometimes 15 minutes is good enough, and other times you'll find yourself completing the whole hour."

According to Mandel, it takes about 21 days for a new habit to take hold, so don't be hard on yourself if the first few weeks are a struggle. To help the process along, Mandel offers the following advice:

  • Take one small step at a time. "A small change is manageable," says Mandel. "Too many changes at one time can be overwhelming."
  • Don't be unkind to yourself. Enjoy the day off from working out or savor that special meal or treat, then be eager to get back on schedule the next day.
  • Don't overdo. Too much exercise can lead to fatigue and even injury; too little food can actually slow your metabolism down.
  • Change your routine. Vary your workout and your meals. "Introduce fun into your life!" she says.
  • Get group support. Work out with a friend, join a league, start a lunchtime fitness group at work.
  • Post affirmations and motivating quotes inside and outside the refrigerator.

Finally, expect to fall back from time to time, says Weingarten. Then you won't be derailed when you do.

"Remember that it takes time for new habits to become routine," she says. "After all, you didn't know how to tie your shoes once upon a time, either.

"You will have bad days. But that doesn't mean it's all over."

1|2|3
Reviewed on September 02, 2005

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
Woman trying clothes / dress
Assessment
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections