Americans are gaining weight and body fat at an unprecedented rate. Almost all of us want to start eating healthier than we are right now, so what's getting in the way of our clean eating motivation? We're showing you how to motivate yourself to eat healthy and finally stick with it.
"I want to be healthy."
Almost all of us have uttered some form of these words to friends, family, and ourselves at some point.
While we often have the very best intentions to care well for our bodies, the speed of our culture and abundance of tasty but nutritionally-void food options make it all too easy to slip up and lose that healthy-eating motivation.
Staying motivated to eat healthy does not have to be impossible. What needs to change more than any specific eating habits is your mindset around diet motivation and your values, which work together to keep you mentally and emotionally committed.
Whether you want more motivation for weight loss, strength, or general health, your brain is the key to unlocking the door.
We will share some eating healthy tips to help you change your way of thinking inside out; changing your mind will provide you with healthy eating inspiration that results in positive behavioural changes.
Why Should We Eat Healthy?
The motivation for eating healthy is about so much more than weight loss. Here are some of the best reasons for you to start learning to eat healthy.
- Healthy body weight. Eating healthy foods full of fiber and nutrients satisfies our body more with fewer calories, helping us to maintain a healthy weight.
- Better heart health. A healthy, whole-food diet improves the heart health, maintains normal blood pressure and cholesterol level.
- Reduces the risk of cancer. Eating a certain way cannot guarantee that you'll never get cancer or other diseases. Still, healthy foods are higher in antioxidants, which fight free radicals, strengthen our immune system, and simply reduce the risk of getting some diseases. There are many illnesses that are related to an unhealthy diet.
- Improved mental health. Diets with high glycemic load from added sugar and lack of fiber tend to trigger or worsen the symptoms of some psychological disorders, like depression.
- Better digestion. Unhealthy diets mess with our guts' microbiome or balance of good and bad bacteria. Healthy diets low in added sugar, higher in fiber, and containing some natural probiotics will improve your digestion and keep these essential bacteria cultures balanced.
- Increased life quality. The high level of vitamins and minerals in a whole-food diet will help you feel better, have more energy, and aid virtually every process within your body.
How to Stay Motivated to Eat Healthy
We know that the motivation to get healthy can quickly become discouraging and upsetting. These tips for eating healthier address your mindset, which is the only path to real change.
However, these tips aren't going to work overnight. We build neural pathways in our brain and habitual patterns over months, years, and decades - these habits won't change quickly.
Stay committed to your health motivation, even through failures. Stay committed, even when it feels impossible. Staying committed will work overtime, as your stubborn commitment changes your neural pathways and creates new ones.
#1: Keep a Journal
Writing in a daily food journal is a great practice and one of the best self-motivating tips, regardless of what habit you're trying to change or create. You can set aside a specific time to be with yourself and get in touch with your thoughts and feelings.
A journal for diet encouragement can be a helpful daily reminder of your health goals and help you better understand your eating habits.
- Write in your food journal every day, at least for the most difficult first few months.
- Write some short-term goals.
- Write down your feelings about food, and keep track of the food you're eating.
Let's be honest - sometimes we eat for reasons other than actual physical hunger, and a journal can help you to understand and change your eating behaviours.
#2: Clean Out Your Cupboards
One of the most simple tips to eating healthier is to give yourself no other option. Clean out your cupboards; use up, toss, or donate any unhealthy foods you no longer want to eat.
When we first commit to eating healthy, motivation starts strong, but willpower will fluctuate significantly. If you eat a diet high in added sugars, salt, and fat, your body and brain become addicted, literally.
During the detox period, you retrain your taste buds and reprogram your body to enjoy the new, healthier diet you're eating.
While you don't need to cut out treats forever, making them a little harder to access can help you through the weak moments in the beginning. You're still welcome to head out and grab a treat if you'd like, but that extra step makes it much less likely to happen.
While some of us live with others whose diets we cannot control, we can ask them if they can get on board for a few months to help support us. Or, they can keep their treats somewhere out of sight from you.
#3: Focus on Your Feelings
Journaling can help us to recognize the feelings that are at the root of our eating habits. Staying motivated long-term requires us to find healthy ways to deal with these feelings to stop triggering our poor eating habits so we can learn how to stop snacking unnecessarily.
If you mostly eat out of boredom, take up a new hobby, pick up a book, or grab a glass of water or tea instead to have something to occupy you instead of food.
If you eat to cope with stress or negative feelings, get support within your community through a loved one, counselor, or therapist. Find new activities that help you destress, like a brisk walk in the fresh air or a blood-pumping workout session.
#4: Make Smaller Goals
Some of us have some pretty lofty goals. While weight-loss is the most common motivation for diets, losing 60 pounds is a massive goal that can take a year or more to accomplish, even with a very concentrated effort.
While we think you should keep your big goals, it's even more important to set small, achievable goals that will keep you motivated along your big journey to ultimate health. Start your journey with goals that are impossible to fail.
Let's use the 60-pound example again. You can set a mini-goal to lose 5 pounds in 2 months, to log your foods every day for a week, or to try a new exercise routine - something you can achieve in a few months at most will build momentum and keep you motivated and working toward your larger goals.
#5: Face Your Fears and Embrace Failure
Changing your eating habits can be a terrifying experience. Why? Because we often develop our eating habits to deal with our feelings to avoid processing them.
Many of us fantasize that losing weight will solve many of our issues and if only.
If only I could lose weight, I'd get the partner I want.
If only I could lose weight, I'd get the promotion.
If only I could lose weight, I could finally feel good about myself.
Some people who have experienced a significant weight-loss and lifestyle change can tell you that changing your body makes you a thinner person, however - the root issues remain unsolved.
Therefore, if you can begin to address and deal with these issues from where you are now, you'll be much more capable and committed to adopting a healthier lifestyle because when we value ourselves highly, we treat ourselves accordingly.
Failure is going to happen along this journey. To be successful, see loss as a necessary step on the path to change - if you don't fail at all, you're not challenging yourself.
#6: No Restrictions
While we recommend keeping tempting foods out of your cupboards for the first months to prevent easy access, we don't think you should completely cut any foods out of your diet.
The minute you create food restrictions, something breaks in your brain. Restricting things turns on some instinct we carry around food scarcity, and we end up thinking about and craving these foods all the time simply because we know we can't have them.
Don't cut anything out completely - every food has its place in a diet that includes moderation.
Final Notes: Healthy Diet Motivation Tips
Healthy eating helps us better to feed our bodies, but also our minds. Use these tips to change your mindset around eating well and self-motivate to make the dietary changes that feel right for you.
- Write in a food journal daily;
- Clean out your pantry to avoid temptation;
- Find healthy non-food related outlets for stress and boredom;
- Make small mini-goals you can achieve in a month or two;
- Become comfortable with your fear and failures;
- Don't completely cut out any food groups.
We wish you so much health and success on your journey to a healthier lifestyle!