🤨😩🤧 This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006.
There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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🤨😩🤧 You did it! You've reached the level of fitness and health you've been striving for. Now that you have achieved some of your health-related goals, you'll need to focus on staying fit and healthy by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You may have changed a lot of things about what you eat, your habits, 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 you can get tired or bored with the lifestyle you've developed. There are a lot of ways that you can stay fit and healthy.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Making a Plan to Stay Fit and Healthy Download Article
- 1Touch 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. This is especially important if, for you, getting healthy has involved beating an illness, recovery from surgery or finding a strategy for handling a chronic condition.
- Meet with your regular doctor. Talk to them 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 or gaining pounds. Your dietitian will work with you to make a meal plan that meets your new goals and provide you with appropriate levels of nutrition.
- 2Reassess 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.XResearch source
- 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. Ensure your goals are realistic for you - just being able to stand unaided is a huge achievement for some people.
- 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 as fit and healthy as you can be, goal attainment is not linear and can be a struggle — making an achievement that much sweeter.
- Be realistic and set yourself up for success. Factor in for setbacks. Goals 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. Even the fittest and healthiest people can colds or strained ankles which alter their exercise regimens, temporarily. You can't control everything.XResearch source
- 3Write 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.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source Again, this is something that a dietician specializes in, so utilize your 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.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- 4Design your exercise plan. Similar to a meal plan, an exercise plan is a detailed list of what you plan on doing as far as physical activity. You may wish to enlist the help of a personal trainer to help you set new fitness goals and maybe mix up your workout routine.
- Just saying that you are going "get fit" is like telling someone to build a house without a blueprint. These step by step goals can help keep you on track.
- Start your exercise plan with your goal. It might be: run your first 5k, run for 20 minutes straight without walking, etc.
- After your goal, write out the exact steps you need to take to meet your goal. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k your plan could be: Run/walk 1 mile three days a week for one month, run/walk 2 miles four days a week during the second month, and run/walk 3.1 miles four to five days a week during the third month.
- Another option is to follow your favorite fitness guru's plan. Many well-known fitness coaches have programs on the market that can be implemented into your current lifestyle.
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Eating to Help You Stay Healthy Download Article
- 1Skip the fad diets. Diets are limited and restricted, and more often than not, they eventually fail. In addition, many trendy fad diets or eating plans are not nutritious or considered a healthy way of eating.XResearch source Instead of following a drastic, fad diet, keep incorporating healthy dietary changes into your life.
- You may have done diets in your past to help you reach a healthier weight or improve your overall health; however, following an extreme diet forever is not realistic and most likely something you're not going to do.
- For instance, you don't need to completely eliminate treats and traditional foods that might not fit into your eating plan. Allow yourself these things on special occasions or as an occasional treat, just don't make a habit of eating them every day.
- 2Eat regular, consistent meals. One key component of maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle is to eat regular and consistent meals. Skipping meals or snacks will not support your current lifestyle.
- When you skip meals or snacks regularly, you're putting yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies, unwanted weight loss, and fatigue.XResearch source
- Make sure you eat at least three meals daily. Some people may prefer to eat five to six small meals daily. Whichever meal pattern works best, try to stick to this each day.
- It's also recommended to eat every four to six hours. That means you may need to include a small meal or snack throughout the day.XResearch source
- 3Aim for a well-balanced diet. To maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle you'll need to eat a well-balanced diet. This style of eating provides your body with all the required nutrients you need each day.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service (UK)Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
- A balanced diet will support a healthy weight, an active lifestyle and a healthy body.
- Eat each food group most days and throughout the week, and eat a wide variety of a foods from within each food group as well.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service (UK)Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
- Eat enough from each of your food groups. It's typically recommended to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables,XTrustworthy SourceUSDA Center for Nutrition Policy and PromotionU.S. agency responsible for promoting good nutrition based on scientific researchGo to sourceXTrustworthy SourceUSDA Center for Nutrition Policy and PromotionU.S. agency responsible for promoting good nutrition based on scientific researchGo to source three to four servings of grains,XTrustworthy SourceUSDA Center for Nutrition Policy and PromotionU.S. agency responsible for promoting good nutrition based on scientific researchGo to source and a serving of lean protein at each meal and snackXTrustworthy SourceUSDA Center for Nutrition Policy and PromotionU.S. agency responsible for promoting good nutrition based on scientific researchGo to source.
- 4Limit highly processed and junk foods. Processed foods and junk foods are typically known to be higher in calories, fat, sodium and added sugars, and have little or no nutritional value.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service (UK)Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Eating these types of foods on a regular basis does not support a fit and healthy lifestyle.
- There are a variety of processed foods out there. Limit: frozen meals, processed meat, pastries, candy, chips, and crackers.
- Also limit soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened coffee beverages, and teas. These are also typically higher in calories and sugar.
- Limit alcohol. Although this isn't necessarily considered junk food, it's a beverage that should be consumed in moderation. Most health experts recommend women consume no more than one glass daily and men consume no more than two glasses daily.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- 5Drink adequate amounts of fluids. Maintaining adequate hydration is very important for your general health and wellness. Also, when you're hydrated you are able to maintain your fit and healthy lifestyle.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Water is important for a variety of functions in your body including: maintaining body temperature, lubricates joints, protects organs and keeps tissues moist.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Most experts recommend consuming at least eight to 13 8-oz glasses of water daily.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- If you're not a big fan of plain water (some people just don't like water), consider adding a no calorie water flavor enhancer to boost consumption. Or, if you love the bubbles of soda, drink club soda (not tonic water, which has calories) and add a little water flavor enhancer or lemon or lime.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Maintaining Your Healthy Lifestyle Download Article
- 1Exercise regularly. Health experts recommend including regular physical activity to support a fit and healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise has a variety of benefits that can help maintain and improve your overall health. Regular physical activity, especially cardio, has many health-promoting effects including: improved mood, weight maintenance, improvement in high blood pressure or diabetes, improved sleep habits and decreased risk of overall mortality.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Consider finding a workout buddy to hold you accountable and maybe make your routine a little more fun. If you know your friend is counting on you for that run at 7am, you will be less likely to hit the snooze button and skip your workout.
- It's typically recommended to do at least 150 minutes of cardio activities each week. However, for even more health benefits, you can do up to 300 minutes of cardio weekly.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
- Incorporate regular strength training into exercise regimen one to three days a week. Weight training carries benefits of strengthening muscles, building and maintaining bone density and increases overall metabolism. Include enough exercises to work each muscle group. Some people break it up to upper body one day, lower body another day, and then core muscles on the third day.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
- 2Move more during the day. Another way to support your goal to stay fit and healthy is moving more throughout the day. Many studies show that the more active you are the better health benefits you'll have. XTrustworthy SourceHealth.govOnline collection of health and fitness standards set by the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health PromotionGo to source
- Baseline or lifestyle activities are things you can do throughout your day to get you moving and more active. These little activities may add up at the end of the day to a significant amount of calories or active time.
- Try walking more often, taking the stairs or standing and doing exercises during TV commercials.
- On the opposite spectrum, try to limit times when you're more sedentary. Limit "screen" time in front of the TV, computer or sitting while you work.
- 3Track your numbers in a journal or using a fitness app. If you're trying to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, it's important to set up ways to keep yourself on track. Many times, regular measuring or weighing can help you stay on track long-term.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source You can also track what you eat, how much you exercise, which exercises you are doing, how much water you are drinking, etc. If you notice any changes in your weight, fitness level or overall health, looking back through your fitness and food journal can help you identify where you may need to make changes.
- Use a method that works best for you. In addition to old fashioned pen and paper journal, numerous free apps can allow you to track both nutrition and fitness online or even from your smartphone.
- Weigh yourself once a week. Try to weigh yourself at the same time of day (ideally right when you wake up) and in the same clothes (or naked) so you can get a more accurate trend. Remember that your weight fluctuates throughout the day based on many factors.
- Take your measurements every month. Knowing how many inches you've lost will tell you how much body fat you've shed.
- Sometimes the scale may report a higher number than you look or feel due to adding muscle mass. Knowing your measurements may provide you with a truer metric.
- 4Get adequate sleep. Resting well each night is an incredibly important part of staying fit and healthy. If you do not get adequate sleep it makes it much more difficult to stay healthy.
- Sleep is an integral part of your health. During sleep, your body is repairing and recovering from the day.
- Studies have shown that those people who do not get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night are more at risk for: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.XResearch source
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex. Do not work or watch TV in bed — train your brain to understand that when your head hits the pillow, it's time to go to sleep.
- Make sure you are turning off electronics well before trying to sleep and keeping them out of the bedroom as much as possible. Tablets, laptops, TV, and even your smartphone emit a particular kind of light (blue light) that can stimulate your brain and make it hard for you to sleep, even when the electronics are turned off.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
- Make sure your room is dark, cool, and inviting. Try to keep clutter out of the bedroom.
- If improving your sleep hygiene doesn't work, talk to your doctor about what might be causing your insomnia.
- 5Manage your stress levels. It is important to include some relaxing activities in your daily routine to ensure that you will not get too stressed. Stress causes your body to hold onto cortisol and this can lead to a wide range of health problems, such as anxiety, heart disease, and weight gain.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source To control your stress levels, try incorporating a relaxation technique into your daily routine, such as:
- Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
- Be realistic about your caloric needs. Any daily caloric intake below 1,200 is considered to be too low and will be counterproductive to maintaining a healthy weight.
- Embrace the health aspect of staying fit and healthy instead of just looking good. The happy side effect of staying healthy is good looks, but also a better chance at a longer life.
- Instead of buying bigger clothes when you gain weight, struggle and stay in tight clothing in order to motivate you to lose weight. It will be tougher to get larger when you are uncomfortable and may strive to remain the same size.
About This Article
To stay fit and healthy, eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Though they can be tempting, avoid fad diets, since these restrictive trends often do more harm than good. In addition to eating well, get plenty of exercise. You can incorporate more movement into your daily life, like walking or taking the stairs, but try to build up to 150 to 300 minutes of cardio a week and 1 to 3 strength training sessions to keep your body in peak condition. Additionally, aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy. For more tips from our Medical co-author, including how to use a fitness app to stay healthy, keep reading!