Are You Getting Sloppy with Your Diet and Fitness Goals?

how to get back on track after losing motivation

By Michael Ormsbee, PhDFlorida State University
Edited by Kate Findley and proofread by Angela Shoemaker, The Great Courses Daily

After following a diet and/or exercise plan for some time, you may find yourself losing motivation and falling back into old habits. Professor Ormsbee explains how to steer yourself back on course.

Couple stretching preparing for exercise
To stick to your health and fitness routines, it’s usually creating smaller, more immediate goals that will sustain your day-to-day commitment. Photo By Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

What Does Being Sloppy Look Like?

When developing consistent fitness goals, first you need to ask yourself what your ultimate purpose is—your “why.” The second question you should ask yourself is, “Am I getting sloppy?”

This could be sloppiness with your exercise, sleep habits, or nutrition. Maybe you work out with a little less intensity or for a shorter duration of time that you meant to. Maybe you dropped from a solid eight hours per night of sleep to only five or six hours.

If you follow the same plan day in and day out, it gets easy to become sloppy with your usual habits. You might be amazed at how something seemingly unimportant like sleep can have so much influence.

You shouldn’t underestimate it, though. Poor sleep is linked to an incredible 55% increased risk of obesity in adults and 89% increased risk in children. 

Think about the last trip you had to the gym. Are you working out for that full hour that you promised yourself, or are you changing, talking to a friend, or warming up for a portion of the time and only really exercising for a few minutes before having to hurry back to work or some other event? 

Attitude Is Everything

According to Professor Orsmbee, lifting weights will transform your body, adding the most muscle mass and helping to ramp up your metabolism little by little. In addition to slowing muscle loss, lifting weights will help you past that plateau.

If you’ve hit a plateau and start getting sloppy with your fitness, you should revisit what you do for your overall exercise plan as well as get back in the right mindset to workout. Make sure your workout is fun, entertaining, and rewarding in its own right. 

This is not a shocker, but recent research determined that exercise adherence and weight-loss success was largely determined by the attitude you have toward working out. An interesting study found that calling a 1.4-mile walk a “scenic stroll” resulted in subjects eating far fewer calories when tempted with post-walking snacks than subjects who were told the short walk was simply exercise.

Reshaping how you think about exercise and finding a way to enjoy it can do wonders. Imagine if you actually want to go workout, break a sweat, and make yourself healthy as opposed to dreading your workout.

“It does for me,” Professor Ormsbee said.

Making Exercise Fun

If you find yourself getting sloppy with your fitness, find a way to make your workouts more enjoyable and connected to your true reason for doing all of this in the first place. Maybe you need to make a change to add something fun. 

Maybe arrange to workout with a friend, join a group fitness class that focuses on strength exercises, create a fitness challenge at work, or simply incorporate exercises or sports that you enjoy into your usual routine.

Focus, from time to time, on the bigger reason for needing to change. Is it to be healthy enough to play with your kids and grandkids? Is it to live well rather than just to live long into old age?

Or is it simply to know that you are taking advantage of the body that you were given? These larger goals can help, although it’s usually the fun of the activity and the smaller, more immediate goals that will drive your day-to-day commitment.

This article was edited by Kate Findley, Writer for The Great Courses Daily, and proofread by Angela Shoemaker, Proofreader and Copy Editor for The Great Courses Daily.
Dr. Ormsbee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences and Interim Director of the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine in the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University.

Michael Ormsbee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences and Interim Director of the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine in the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University. He received his MS in Exercise Physiology from South Dakota State University and his PhD in Bioenergetics from East Carolina University.

About Kate Findley 450 Articles
Kate is a writer, novelist, and blogger living in Los Angeles. She has been writing for The Great Courses since 2017. It incorporates her two favorite things: writing and learning.