How many times did you say that you would start eating healthy, only to give up after a few days? Why are we so motivated at the beginning, but we then lose that motivation along the way? There are many answers to these questions, but the good news is that no matter the reasons, there are strategies to keep our nutrition motivation sparking.
Find your real reason
Setting a goal is easy. Digging deep into why we want to achieve that goal can be more difficult.
In some cases, we might be motivated by the wrong reasons, maybe making someone happy or a need for belonging.
If we are motivated by the wrong reason, it’s difficult to keep our nutrition motivation up because, deep inside, we are working on something we don’t really want to do.
Sit down and take a few moments to understand the specific reason why you want to eat healthy. No one is going to judge you for it, so try to dig deep down and write down THAT reason.
Once you have found that specific reason, it will be easier to track your progress. For example, if you want to lose weight to fit into those jeans again that you’ve been keeping in your wardrobe, just try them out once a month and see what the progress is.
Check regularly on your reason
Motivation and willpower are not always available, so make sure to check on your reason every now and then.
Once you have found your real reason, write it down and always keep it handy.
Stick a post-it with it in your bathroom, next to your night table, or write a note on your phone and set an alarm to read that note once a day, or maybe every two days or twice a day. You decide!
Divide the final goal into small goals
If we don’t see results soon, we want to give up. However, we need to keep in mind that patience is our ally.
To change our eating habits to eat healthy, we have to learn different things:
- Learn how to deal with cravings.
- Learn how to choose healthy food when eating out.
- Get used to new foods.
- Understand the changes in our taste buds.
We can’t learn all of these things at once because it’s overwhelming and it’s a process that takes time.
So, to get there, we can find small goals like avoid eating that chocolate bar, or croissant, that we eat every day, or, make sure to eat a handful of greens every day.
Archiving the small goals, it makes us feel like we are actually making progress; sooner than later, we’ll see results in the big goals too.
Keep track of the small results
The goal of eating healthy requires different tasks and, as we have already pointed out, patience. The final goal can feel huge, although we might think we’ll never reach it.
Keeping track of the small wins is what can fire our motivation to keep going, investing energy into the task.
It can be as easy as using a free habit tracker and marking a check every day that you have hit your goal or done your habit.
You can have a tracker for each habit; you can use them online, or you can print them.
One healthy eating habit could be: eating a fruit a day, not eating your daily chocolate, or using less sugar in your coffee.
It can really be just a small change that you are trying to implement.
After a few weeks, seeing the tracker full of checkmarks can be a huge kick to your nutrition motivation.
And if you don’t see all of the checkmarks you would like to have, maybe it’s also a big motivation to make better for the next month.
If you think tracking down your habits can be motivating, try this daily habit tracker.
Get inspiration from reading
Find credible sources that can help you to understand what is better for you to eat; maybe even recipes to add to your list of favorites or to a Meal Plan.
There are plenty of documentaries, recipes and online resources that can keep your nutrition motivation up.
If you are looking for books, have a look at this list of books that have helped me in my change to a healthier lifestyle.
Always beware of all of the misinformation out there and keep it critical. Eliminating food groups from your diet, eating foods produced in a lab, or ingesting powders and supplements is not what it means to eat healthy.
Learning how to prepare recipes made with wholesome natural ingredients, and creating them in your kitchen to feed your body is what self-inspiration looks like.
Positivity is the focus
Listen to your thoughts and recognize any negative self-talk. If you catch any, correct it out loud.
For example, a new recipe that you tried turned out to be inedible. Your first thought might be: “I suck at this. I won’t ever be able to eat healthy”.
That’s a very negative thought that can be corrected by telling yourself out loud: “No, I don’t suck. I’m just learning and it’s normal to make mistakes. I’ll learn how to eat healthy and I’ll make delicious recipes”.
Focusing on how hard things can be doesn’t help with your nutrition motivation.
However, focus on finding solutions when things can become difficult, can be a lot more useful.
Eat what you enjoy
Eating foods that we know are healthy for us, but we don’t enjoy the taste, or our body doesn’t accept, it makes eating healthy feels like an effort or even torture.
Yes, cauliflower and broccoli are healthy cruciferous veggies, but if you get bloated when you eat them and your body feels uncomfortable, don’t make them part of your meals.
If you discover that you actually enjoy the taste of new foods, especially the ones that your body needs to get used to, then try to introduce them slowly.
Eat them in small portions; your body will adapt to them.
Keep in mind that, as you eliminate unhealthy foods rich in flavor, your taste buds will change and you’ll start to appreciate flavors in a different way.
This means that the foods that you avoided in the past because you didn’t like the taste, you might actually enjoy, once you have started your journey to healthier nutrition.
So, even if your diet is far from being healthy, there must be some whole foods that you actually like and enjoy eating. Make those your staples and slowly introduce new foods.
The best way to be constant when eating healthy is to be organized, especially when you are first starting to make changes.
The secret avoiding getting a take-out meal is to have an already made, ready to eat, delicious meal waiting for you at home.
And the secret to avoiding a snack from a vending machine is to carry a healthy snack with you that you love.
Maybe you prefer to find a block of three hours’ time when you can make some prep. Maybe you enjoy cooking every day after work, but you need to have the ingredients already at home.
Or maybe, what you need is to plan your week with healthy habits, including those related to nutrition.
In that case, give this planner a try.
Find the best strategy that works for you to keep your nutrition motivation up.
Trying to keep our nutrition motivation up can be very difficult if we are surrounded by people who are constantly eating junk food and they don’t support our choices.
You can ask your family and friends to avoid making comments about your eating habits. You can even try to motivate them to get on board with your new eating style.
However, if they are not willing to make changes to their diet and they are not the best supporters, find support somewhere else.
There are Facebook groups, or online communities, where you can get in contact with other people that are in the same boat as you. You may be fortunate to find an accountability partner, someone you can share your progress and your doubts with.
Don’t be shy to ask for support; it’s normal to need some help in these circumstances.
And if you feel like you need professional help, just ask for it.
If this is the first time you are reading one of my articles, I’m a nutritionist and a nutrition coach.
On my private sessions page, I explain, in detail, what I could help you with. Feel free to get in contact if you have any questions.
As always, I appreciate you stopping by my blog, and if you think this post might help someone you know to make even a small step to a healthier lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to share it away!
Happy Healthy Eating!
A big hug,
Claudia Canu is a former junk and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life and achieve big goals.