How to maintain motivation to eat healthy

Have you given any thought to what your New Year’s resolutions for this coming new year might be yet? The reason I ask is because I know that, too many times, people make the commitment to eat better, only to get derailed a few months/weeks/days into it! With a myriad of hurdles that get in the way (time, money, desire, etc.) it seems that losing motivation to eat healthy is common.

So where does that motivation that we usually manage to locate for the 1st of January go off and hide to by the time February rolls around? What is the key to success? Those things that will really help you stay motivated and keep going? The answer to that question is actually different for every person, but there are a few consistencies to the list that apply to most people. Try a few of these and see if they work for you!

  • Make it personal: rather than trying to use the motivation that worked for your next door neighbor, find what motivates you! We are all different types of beings and so different things are going to motivate us. Whatever really helps you get excited about real change is what you should focus on. Try some of these healthy eating motivational tips and find your best match:
    1. Cutting back on health care costs
    2. Having more energy to play with your kids
    3. Improving your immune system, over-coming health issues, etc.
    4. Feeling better
    5. Looking better
    6. Improving the environment
  • Get educated: don’t ever trust things like diet commercials or magazine headlines to give you the real skinny on any sort of lifestyle-changing healthy eating habits. The thing that will keep you going to REAL EDUCATION – learn what artificial ingredients are (and what they do to our bodies). In short, learn about the food you eat! (One quick important reminder: knowledge can make you want to change for good, but it can also overwhelm you and frustrate you to no end! Try not to go so overboard that you becoming afraid of food. Change what you can and learn to let go of what you can’t)
  • Use the 80/20 rule: give yourself permission to eat whatever you want about 20% of the time (in a week, not in a day). Don’t focus on what you are depriving yourself of! Allowing yourself not to be perfect about your diet will go a long way toward helping you maintain a good and healthy diet. When we take the guilt out of healthy eating, most people ease into a real food diet without much effort at all. Let go of the all or nothing mentality!
  • Stop villianizing food: when we placereal food in a “good” or “bad” category, we turn on that old diet mentality that says that the foods we tend to enjoy are likely to make us fat, sick, or unhealthy. We believe we have to suffer for our health (which is kind of the opposite of what health is!). When we let go of the idea of forbidden food we open ourselves up to a much healthier relationship with food in general. Once we give ourselves permission to just eat food without guilt or shame, then we can begin to see food as just that: food. When we have a healthy relationship with food, we don’t feel the need to binge, sneak, or avoid. A healthy relationship with food goes a long way to making us want to do what makes us feel best… and that’s usually going to be eating right most of the time and enjoy our indulgences the rest!
  • Let go of the “diet” mentality: let me make one thing clear: eating healthy is NOT a diet!! Rather, it is a lifestyle. Just start off by eating well, and the rest will just follow. When you realize that any “mess ups” are just part of life, it makes it a lot easier to simply carry on. Remember… you don’t have to be perfect! Slow and steady really does win the race.  You’re more likely to stick with something if you gradually get used to as alifestyle
  • Be responsible to someone: sometimes, the first couple of weeks or even months of transitioning to real foods can be difficult is you are used to eating a highly processed diet originally. Did you know that the reason for this is because processed foods are actually designed to be addictive? Use your support network to help you get through it… sometimes just talking about your goals with someone and then having to be responsible for them can make a world of difference
  • Find real food that tastes good TO YOU: everyone has different preferences and different likes and dislikes. Work on finding real food that tastes really good to you. That’s the number one way to keep at it. Make healthy eating delicious (which is most certainly can be) and you’ll never want to stop!
  • Make a plan that fits YOUR lifestyle: maybe time is an issue. Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s skill. Be realistic about what’s keeping you from sticking to a real food diet and adjust. This does not by any means saying that your meals have to be gourmet in nature. You don’t have to spend millions of dollars. Just get into the habit of meal planning (for example, have a grocery shopping day and a meal prep day each week). Read labels (they will tell you everything that you need to know about the foods that you are thinking of consuming). And just aim to shop, eat and live healthy (a great way to do that is to try and only grocery shop around the perimeter of the grocery store… that’s where all the healthy stuff is!)

You’ll never know how easy it can be to get into a healthier eating routine until you try! And I’ll bet that you can’t even imagine the difference that it will make to every single other area of your life too. If you need more motivations to help you stay on the right track, check out eatingbirdfood.com and their 14 tips for getting and staying motivated to eat healthy article – http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2011/10/14-tips-getting-and-staying-motivated-to-eat-healthy/

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