What does it truly mean to ‘stay motivated’? It’s such a complex question and can really trigger some deep feelings, doesn’t it? Change is hard. Moving from where you are now to where you want to be takes true behavioral effort and that’s why so many of us fail. We are all creatures of habit. Let’s look at some ways that can help you stay on track to get to where you WANT to be.
But before we dive in, let me share with you how I managed to go from “point A” to “point B”. It wasn’t easy even though it was a MUST do scenario. For me, I can recall some really dark days of beating myself up for eating that cookie or having ice cream. It was bad folks – breakdowns and shedding of tears as I couldn’t believe how little willpower I had. Now mind you, I had to break bad habits ‘NOW’ as I was fighting cancer. And when I’m told ‘sugar feeds cancer’ that pretty much rocked my world because I became acutely aware of just how much sugar I was eating when I was told I can’t eat that anymore. So now what?? I have nothing to EAT – right?
And then I’d fool myself into thinking I’ll just have a small bite – which then became the entire pint, the cycle of binge and regret quickly became a ‘thing’ of self-loathing. I’m sharing this with you because I am sure we all do this to ourselves when we set a goal and we find ourselves ‘failing’ in our quest to execute perfectly. Well, I’m here to tell you, that it’s just not possible! And I finally figured that out last year on Easter Sunday 2017 when all of my family was sitting at the table and I sat there not being able to eat anything… because my fear was so great about FOOD (“Are these non-GMO, organic? How many carbs does it have?”) that I literally was paralyzed not being able to eat. Now think about the stress that creates? The cookie is the least of my problem because now I’m making myself sick over self-loathing and stress. It was at that moment I accepted my reality. If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go and I’m not going to live this way for the rest of my life being afraid to eat! And guess what… from that day on I actually became so empowered and more relaxed that I actually ATE BETTER! The monkey was off my back!
So here’s what has worked for me and I hope that these suggestions can help you dive deeper into achieving your goals.
- Write down your goals. I know this sounds so basic. But it is similar to a vision board where you ask, believe and you shall receive! I wrote down in Jan 2016 what my goals would be for all facets of my life, spiritually, physically, financially and nutritionally and it was attached to the front of my fridge. And wouldn’t you guess it? By the end of 2016 I had actually accomplished most of my goals and by end of 2017 I had accomplished all that I set out to do for myself! It didn’t happen overnight and despite the tears and struggle – I got there. That’s part of the journey of self-discovery along the way. Accept that it will take time and there are no overnight fixes.
- Follow the 80/20 Rule. Know what foods are healthy for you and what your body needs and then give yourself that meal or treat from time to time. Research shows that if you try to cut out or eliminate foods altogether you are destined to fail. So keep it simple, eat whole, real foods and then start to move away from those processed foods altogether. If you are in a crunch and need something to eat for convenience in a fast food situation, have that (quality meat) burger and a side salad (healthier choice) and get on with it! Don’t beat yourself up today. Focus on a fresh start tomorrow. I’ve discovered that the 80/20 rule will really help you to relax and realize one meal isn’t going to destroy you.
- Get quality sleep. This is a big one folks. I can’t tell you how often my cancer care doctors stressed this to me. If you are constantly tired and run down, you already know what’s going to happen. Your immune system is running at half speed, you’re too tired to exercise, your body will crave sugar and carbs (which suppress your immune system further) and it just goes downhill from there. Sleep is the #1 thing that you need to keep your body in tip-top shape! Go to bed the same time every night.
- Meal Prep/Planning. This one goes without saying. But for me – meal planning is about keeping it simple so I’m not slaving away in the kitchen all day Sunday when I’ve got a life to live too! I’ve found that I have about 4 meals a week that are the go-to standards. I like to personally keep it simple with the same things in rotation for breakfast whether it be Bulletproof-style coffee with intermittent fasting, scrambled eggs / turkey bacon / avocado or my oatmeal (w/ coconut flakes, hemp seeds, chia/flax seeds, berries), the same things for lunch (a big colorful salad with nuts, fruits, and different proteins rotated in – wild salmon or grilled chicken), followed by Protein, veggies and small portion of complex carb for dinner. Snacks are green juice, veggies w/ hummus, nuts / fruits / olives, and a plant-based smoothie – basically anything that has a protein + veggie/fruit combo. That’s what works for me to stay on track from a meal planning / prep standpoint because I personally don’t like to feel overwhelmed and scour recipes galore. However…
- Keep it Creative & Flavorful. I’m also like most people – we get in ruts and get bored with the same old foods! So I do like to introduce one new recipe for the protein or veggie every week or so for dinner that allows me to experiment and to also add to my arsenal. I like to also add different spices and flavors. This keeps me craving my ‘healthier foods’ and keeps me (and my family) on track for eating a nutrient dense meal. Or consider meal delivery services to help you stay motivated with a variety of healthy meal options. Personally, I’m going out of my comfort zone and taking an extended culinary class for all things raw food, vegan so I can really expand my library of options! Why not, right? Keep learning and growing your mind.
- Movement vs. Exercise. One of the key things I’ve really started to grasp is that ‘working out’ 5 days a week has to be fun and it doesn’t involve hours at the gym or hard-core sweating. Which quite frankly, isn’t great either for oxidative stress (which is inflammation). So reframe your approach and think about how you can MOVE today for at least 20 minutes. That’s all it takes to get on the right track to a healthier body. I’ll add in one factoid you may not be aware of – the only way your body can release the healthy, disease fighting substances or “internal medicine” (aka Nitrous Oxide) into your blood, is through exercise. So you must get out there and move for 20 minutes at least 6 days a week. The best type of exercise is the one you will do, so just experiment and at the very least, go for a brisk walk.
I hope that these suggestions can help you to stay motivated with achieving your health goals! Tell me what you think?
In GREAT health,