10 Ways to Get and Keep the Motivation to Eat Healthy
Get your diet off to the right start and set yourself up for success.. Get the motivation to eat healthy and stay motivated for the rest of your life.
Understanding the real why of why you need to eat healthy will help you get motivated and stay motivated. The scale can only do so much!
What happens when you lose the weight? You’re still going to need that motivation to keep up with new habits. Start with the right mindset to set you up for success.
Why is it important to eat healthy? This might seem like a no-brainer but most people only see part of the picture—the part about losing weight.
Here’s the thing. Doctors prescribe “lose some weight” to every person who is overweight. Yet, losing weight isn’t a magical cure for your health.
You can lose weight the wrong way and in the process, make your health even worse! Eating too little healthy fat and too many injurious foods, such as vegetable oils or grains can cause problems.
Here is what eating healthy can do for you:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Increased energy
- Decreased inflammation
- A healthy gut
- Improved skin
- Overall feeling of wellbeing
Losing or maintaining your weight is only ONE of the benefits. The other benefits are just as or more important than your weight. But if losing weight will get you to eat real food—then let’s get started.
What is Eating Healthy?
Eating healthy is not about depriving yourself. It is about increasing the nutritious food you eat and phasing out the unhealthy foods you have been eating.
We’re all a little different but in general certain foods are not considered inflammatory. These are:
- Proteins: meat and eggs
- Fruit (a small amount per day)
- Healthy fats
These are the building blocks of a real-food based diet. While the list looks tiny, the combinations are endless when you open up your mind to it.
How to Get the Motivation to Eat Healthy
The first five tips to eat healthy, are about creating the motivation to eat healthy. We have to believe that it is important in the first place and we have to understand why we are doing this.
Later on, I’ll also share how to stay motivated to eat healthy. It’s doable, I promise.
In the beginning though, you’ll want to make sure you set yourself up for success. The more you understand the connection between your health and the foods you eat, the more you will be motivated to eat healthy.
Change your Mindset from Sacrifice to Self-Care
The above list of four categories seems like you are sacrificing a lot of foods and beverages that you might be currently enjoying.
Learning to eat for your health does require that for the most part, you avoid sugar, grains, beans, and dairy. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever have them—but you will feel better without them in your diet.
You might not believe that at this moment, but I can almost guarantee, if you go for a period of simply eating real food, you will feel better.
If you see it as self-sacrifice, you won’t be able to make the change permanent. It will only be a temporary sacrifice to get a few pounds off and it will be much harder to resist cravings.
Train your brain to see healthy eating as pleasure
To be successful long-term, you have to train your brain to see healthy eating as a pleasure. Back in the day, so-called “healthy eating” was about depriving yourself of fat and calories. It included eating dry, tasteless foods, and being hungry.
That is definitely not pleasurable!
However, newer research and even the real older research, shows that fat doesn’t make us fat. And that’s a great thing.
Because healthy fat is what makes food taste good and keeps us full. When we can have it with our meals, you can create food that is delicious and satisfying, that won’t make you fat and won’t cause inflammation in your body.
This might be the most important thing that will motivate you to eat healthy.
Most of the foods you eat are probably causing moderate to severe inflammation. Science is now showing that it is inflammation in the body that causes all disease.
And inflammation is primarily caused by the food you eat.
Eating foods around the clock and eating foods that raise your insulin too high cause inflammation. When you continue these unhealthy habits, your body loses its ability to contain inflammation.
And that is not good my friends.
Being overweight is not just about aesthetics, it’s about a body that has excess inflammation that could eventually cause diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
Choose a Plan
My number one recommendation for understanding how your body reacts to food and for retraining the brain is to do a Whole30. It’s 30 days of eating proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.
I really like it because there is no focus on losing weight or portion control. You do limit yourself to three meals a day and that helps break the snacking habit.
The step of retraining your brain is so important! This isn’t about just losing weight; it’s about restoring your health! Many people do lose weight on their Whole30 but it’s okay if you don’t.
When I did a Whole30, I completely quit snacking (5 years now!), I’ve never used artificial sweeteners again, and I lost my sweet tooth. It made a huge difference in how I ate and nourished my body.
Another plan I have enjoyed is the Bone Broth Diet. This is actually a diet, so I think it’s better to learn to eat healthy foods first.
As you’re doing your own research, you can look at Paleo diets as well. Keto is a really popular term right now, but I think it has more focus on eliminating carbs and getting into ketosis rather than building a healthy eating plan.
The good news is that there is a ton of support out there no matter what you decide to do. Whole30 has an amazing forum where you can find answers to any question you have or just to go through the 30 days with like-minded people.
As I’ve been doing the Bone Broth diet lately, I have been participating in the Facebook group. It’s super helpful to connect with others who understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Often our family and friends are well meaning but they don’t always understand why we are choosing, what to them seems like an extreme diet or way of eating.
How many times have you heard, “One little piece of (pizza, cake, cookie, etc.) won’t hurt you.”
Well, it can, if it cranks up your cravings and interrupts your diet.
Your online support will always encourage you to stay on plan.
How to Stay Motivated to Eat Healthy
Now let’s look at how you can STAY motivated to eat healthy. This is super important because the more you can bank up healthy habits, the more benefits you will reap.
The better you look and feel, the more you are going to enjoy your life!
Eat Delicious Food
Here’s something new. Eat food you like! Sometimes we get so focused on what we’re not eating that we forget that we actually like most of the healthy foods we can eat.
I happen to really enjoy beef, chicken, pork, and salmon. I keep my portions small, about 4 oz. and I buy the best quality I can. Since I don’t need a lot of it, I buy grass-fed and pastured.
Obviously, I am not a vegetarian at this time, so I can’t really help you with that kind of eating.
I love avocados, nuts, eggs, and most vegetables.
Grass-fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil combined with herbs and seasonings make foods taste amazing.
If you love to cook, you will have a blast creating wonderful meals that keep you full and leave you feeling satisfied and healthy.
If you aren’t a big cook, I’ll address that in a minute. I’m more of an assembler myself. But I’ve learned to do it in a healthy way rather than grabbing a frozen meal or fast food.
How to Not Get Hungry
Here’s the secret to not getting hungry while you diet.
Eat enough food and use plenty of healthy fats.
It really is that simple.
The second part of this is to avoid foods that actually cause you to have cravings and get hungry. Yes, many foods you eat on a routine basis make you hungrier!
Foods that make you hungrier and cause cravings:
- All sugar and foods that contain sugar
- Wheat and products made from wheat (pasta, breads, crackers, etc.)
- All grains (corn, oats, rice, etc.)
- Junk foods such as chips, energy bars, yogurt.
You even have to be careful about healthy versions of these types of foods. Sugar and grains raise your insulin too much and they create an endless cycle of cravings, being hungry, and overeating.
Make it easy if you can’t make the time
As I said earlier, I’m more of an assembler than a cook. Many people love to find recipes, plan menus, and cook really lovely meals of healthy real food.
Me, I like to have ingredients on hand and put them together for my lunch and dinner.
For example, this week I bought a rotisserie chicken (I save the bones for broth), 1 lb of salmon that I cooked (Like this), some vegetables to cook and some vegetables to have in salads and green smoothies.
I roasted several of the veggies and made a mash of cauliflower.
Several nights a week, I make a salad. Greens, chopped peppers, a few nuts, half and avocado, and either chicken or salmon. I top it with a really good quality olive oil and an aged Balsamic vinegar.
The other nights, I’ll have the protein with the cooked vegetables. Sometimes, I’ll make a sauce from avocado mayo and herbs.
I do portion my protein and fats but non-starchy vegetables can be as much as you want.
To round out a meal, I might have some berries or a little sweet potato or winter squash.
To keep all this from getting boring, which it never does for me, I mix up the proteins and vegetables I buy each week.
While I enjoy a good meal, I’m no longer a “foodie.” Each meal doesn’t have to be amazing, they just have to be nourishing, tasty, and satisfying.
I eat out about once a week. While, I mostly stick to my plan, I will occasionally have something not particularly healthy. It’s not a big deal because I don’t see myself as deprived the rest of the time.
See the Big Picture of Staying Motivated to Eat Healthy
The big picture is your health and wellbeing. Losing weight can and does feel good. Staying motivated to eat healthy means you have to look beyond just losing weight.
Our bodies are complex systems and if you’ve been overweight for a while, your body might not just start dropping the pounds right away.
That’s why it is crucial to believe in the “health” component of “eating healthy.”
You are doing this for the long-term and to keep yourself in the best health possible. No drugs you take to combat inflammation or the effects of inflammation will EVER be as effective as your diet.
You really do have more of your health within your control than you realized. A healthy real-food based diet can be life-changing.
Combined with exercise and stress relief, you can enjoy more health than you might have previously believed possible.
Celebrate Your Success
Your success with eating healthy is about more than your weight. I want you to celebrate all your success!
Each day that you add more whole real food to your diet is a success.
Each day that you don’t snack is a success.
Each day that you eat healthy fats is a success
Each day you avoid wheat or other grains is a success.
Each day you exercise is a success.
Each day you take steps to decrease stress is a success.
How to Get the Motivation to Eat Healthy
I’ve shared my way because I haven’t been an overeater or binge eater for over 5 years now. My diet is primarily based on protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
I’ve read countless books over the years and I feel 100% comfortable with my choices. My choices are reflected in my energy, my great skin, my healthy weight, and in how I feel.
The truth is that I never feel deprived. I feel blessed, actually blessed that I started eating this way years ago and that I mostly feel and look great.
Occasionally, I will have something that is not optimal. For example, I had pizza last week. I had two pieces and that was it. The rest of the week was how I normally eat.
When I go to a birthday party, I don’t eat the cake. I never feel deprived because I simply do not have that craving any more.
You really can have a life that is not based on food cravings!
Book Resources to Get the Motivation to Eat Healthy
If you like reading as much as I do, here are my favorite books on this subject.
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Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having.