6 Simple Ways to Boost your Motivation to Eat Healthy More Often
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or perhaps only thinking about it or even simply trying to change a few habits that aren’t serving you, this article is all about Zoe’s top tips for nudging yourself towards change. And pssst…they might not be what you think they are!
Finding your motivation to eat healthy + lose weight is at rock bottom?
Ok I’m going to start things differently so hear me out. I’ve got an analogy for you that might help you think about the goal that you want to achieve differently (because that’s possibly why you’re not motivated right? You WANT to achieve weight loss or habit change but you can’t motivate yourself to do the stuff you have to do).
At the start of this year we enrolled my daughter (who is a reluctant swimmer) in two weeks of intensive, daily swimming lessons. The first day went pretty well! She was excited by the idea of progress with her swimming. She did everything she was asked to do + to be honest, it was a bit of a novelty so she enjoyed it. She found the tasks she was asked to do difficult but she got through it + she did an excellent job.
The next morning however, she woke up with the realisation that she was going to have to swim (aka do more hard stuff) every day for the next two weeks. And it was at that point that she said she couldn’t do it.
Your lack of motivation often starts with you telling yourself that you can’t do it.
Sound familiar? Do you relate to her lack of motivation? Or perhaps you understand her fear of not being able to do something consistently? Or maybe you relate more to her resistance to facing the hard stuff?
I believe that finding the motivation to change your behaviour, especially when food is involved, is a lot like having to take swimming lessons when you don’t really want to (but you know ultimately it’s good for you).
While it sounds like a recipe for keeping you stuck (you want to change but you’re not sure if you’ve got it in you). The answers in how to motivate yourself + ultimately make progress on your healthy eating goals lies in the same scenario.
So let’s go back to my daughter + her swimming lessons because there is something really useful that you can take out of it to help you move forward + achieve your own body transformation.
The truth of the matter is that deep down she has a genuine love for the water + is drawn to a life where she can splash about with friends or laze around on giant floating devices in the pool in summer.
She really wanted to be able to swim.
Just like you, deep down, she wanted to make change happen. But on that morning, she genuinely believed that she couldn’t get past the things that make her scared.
And if I go deeper still, in the depths of her heart, it is the fact that she has always hated putting her head under the water that has, up until this point, stalled her progress. In other words, it’s not that she doesn’t want to be able to swim, it’s that she’s scared of facing something about herself that she thinks she can’t change.
Sound like you?
Deep down you know you want + need to lose weight. Or at least you want to be more healthy more often. You also have the strong desire feel strong, confident + sexy. You know you want the end goal, but ultimately you’ve told yourself that you can’t actually do it. And that’s why you can’t motivate yourself to do it.
So the question I have for you is: is there a chance you are standing at the side of the pool saying you can’t do it just like my daughter? And is the story you’re telling yourself (about not being able to do it) actually true?
The solution to motivating yourself to change.
The key to motivating yourself + achieving consistent change in your behaviour is to first break down your goals into smaller, more achieveable goals + second to put things in place that help you stay strong.
So again, let’s go back to my daughter because she started saying she didn’t want to go to swimming. She said that we couldn’t make her. She didn’t want to do the things she is scared of. She didn’t want to put in the hard work + she didn’t want to feel the discomfort of doing hard stuff.
All she wanted to do was escape.
And just like swimming lessons, weight loss + behaviour change can be hard at times. It can be uncomfortable. It can be scary.
The thing is, the food that we eat makes us feel good. It keeps us comfortable. In fact it GIVES us comfort. It soothes us. It picks us up when we are down. You want to know why you continue to eat crappy food when you’ve already had a day of junk food? It’s because you feel bad about the food you ate + eating more food alleviates that pain (albeit for only a moment).
And that is exactly what my daughter is looking for. She is looking for an out. For something to soothe her. She is crying + in pain. Ever felt like the little girl who doesn’t want to go to swimming lessons? I have.
But, this child has two parents who can see the best in her + hold her hand when the going gets tough. To literally drive her to the pool, to give her a million hugs, to tell her she really can do it + to be there as she puts on a brave face + does it. And this is where my weight loss + swimming lesson analogy deviates slightly - because as adults on a weight loss journey we don’t always have someone that will force us to continue on in our dark times. There isn’t always someone there who will tell us to keep going even though we are hating it.
When we give up over + over again + avoid our own swimming lesson, we don’t end up facing the hard stuff. We give in + feel like we’ve failed over + over again. It’s not exactly a recipe for success is it.
Overcome your lack of motivation by Putting things in place to stop yourself backing out.
Don’t allow yourself an escape route. Face your fears. Objectively we know what the solution to weight loss is + it’s the same for my daughter. She needs to get into that pool. She needs to face the sh*t that she doesn’t want to + she needs to practice.
She’s never going to get it right first time. Just like she never did a perfect cartwheel the first time. It took her two years of constant playground cartwheeling to get it right. And most of them sucked. But eventually it just became second nature. The perfect cartwheel is just a part of her life now. Just as swimming will be. And just like losing weight + maintaining it will be for you. Eating healthily CAN become second nature to you. But you have to fight for it.
You WILL kick + scream. You WILL have a seven year old tantrum because you don’t want to do it. You will fight against it. But it can be done.
So here are the things you need to make Weight loss a success
1. Get familiar with the discomfort. Employ strategies that help you stay with your pain - because as with everything in life, it eventually passes.
2. Talk to yourself the way you would a seven year old daughter. What things would you say to encourage her? Remind her that she can do it, remind her that you have faith in her. Remind her of how she will feel when she achieves her goal. Buy this book as a wonderful place to start.
3. Employ that person who is going to make you get in the pool. Not the person who will go easy on you (like your best friend, partner, mum etc). You need that objective person that you meet with every week who asks you how you’re achieving your weekly goals + makes you plan for what you’re going to do if you aren’t.
4. Get some floaties for the early part. You’re learning a new skill. You’re building new habits. It takes time + practice. Take it slow + make every move one towards being able to swim.
5. Be kind + compassionate to yourself. Be patient.
6. Don’t try + learn to swim without a plan. Find someone experienced who knows how to teach you to swim.
You can make change.
Just like any new skill that you take on, you’re not going to get healthy eating + weight loss together right all the time. But if you make yourself practice, if you put someone there who will make you get in the pool. You will eventually learn to swim.
And what a wonderful day that will be.
If you’re still on the fence (about whether you’re ready to do the whole weight loss thing) but you’re maybe ok to change one or two things, download my Free JUST START guide.
Hey! I’m Zoe Morosini, a Brisbane based clinical nutritionist on a mission to show every woman that wants to lose weight that she doesn’t have to lose her mind trying.