Healthy eating and/or weight loss has not been too high of a priority for me recently.
Although you realize that eating healthy is important, motivation can waver depending on other things that are going on in your life. You may be stuck feeling like you want to make a change, but other things come up that distract you from actually moving forward. Maybe you have tried changing, but it was difficult for you to sustain, and you are hesitant to try again.
No one else can force or convince you to eat healthier, you need to find that motivation within yourself. Here are some ways that you can increase your motivation to change your eating habits:
Your Big Why: why is healthy eating and/or weight loss important to you? What is the ultimate reason/driver for wanting to make a change? The change you are seeking has to be worth the effort you are willing to put into it. As much as your current situation might suck, it is difficult to overcome the inertia of getting started and maintaining your focus. Finding your big why/motivator can be helpful to come back to when things get touch (which they will inevitably do many times each week).
Research: try reading up about what healthy eating can do for you. If you think that healthy eating might help you have more energy, do some research on it. For example, learn about the benefits of whole, plant-based foods. We promise, there are many. Reading about the benefits of your health and/or weight loss diet can provide you with instant, pleasure buzz feedback on the fact that you’re doing the right things and getting awesome benefits back, even if you don’t notice these benefits right away.
Journal: based on your research and individual circumstances, why is healthy eating important to you? Write these down in a journal so that you can look back on the entries when your motivation lags. Make a clear picture of what your life will look like in the future if you continue as you are now compared to if you make a change. Be descriptive.
Positivity: when you think of reasons you are interested in changing, focus on being positive. For example, rather than preventing heart disease, think about being able to enjoy a hike with your kids or being there for your daughter’s wedding.
Follow: there are many people out there that are trying to make diet changes. Learn from their stories and feed off their motivation. Make sure you find people that are good sources of nutrition information. Check out The Science of Dieting Trusted Resources webpage for ideas of people who will not lead you astray. You can also find groups on Facebook to find support.
Make Small Goals: we recognize that there are many other things in life that are important. If you start with small goals, getting started will seem more feasible.
Make It Enjoyable: healthy eating can be exciting and interesting. You can try new things and experiment with recipes–explore your likes and dislikes. You don’t have to eat chicken breasts and broccoli to be healthy. Develop your own brand of healthy. One that tastes good and makes you feel good.
Track Your Progress: it is motivating to see that you have made improvements. Make goals, track your progress, and reward yourself as you achieve them. Even if you don’t achieve the results you want to, whether health improvements or the number on the scale, tracking your progress is evidence of your effort. You’re trying and doing your best. Or maybe it will show you that you do need to do better. Either way, be honest with yourself.
Try to Make it Something You can Maintain: if you are just grinding to get by, you’re never going to be able to sustain your motivation. People train for figure competitions, weight loss competitions, marathons, and all kinds of other things but you can only maintain that level of focus for so long. If you can find your sweet spot between results and effort, you will be able to maintain this sweet spot for a much longer time.