Inside Scoop: Health motivation doesn’t have to be complicated. Try these 20 easy steps for success.
Our interest or motivation for a healthier lifestyle typically starts from an emotional place, whether we want to manage a certain health condition, live longer or be a role model to our kids.
But let’s be honest, staying motivated with the latest fad diet, juice cleanse or detox that drastically changes every aspect of our lifestyle (and can leave us haaangry all the time) rarely works. We go along with it for a week or two, see quick results and sooner or later, the old habits creep back in leaving us feeling discouraged or like a failure in our healthy lifestyle attempts.
So, the question is how can we create healthy habits and have health motivation goals that we can stick to?
HERE ARE 10 HEALTH MOTIVATION STEPS TO SUCCESS
STEP 1: HAVE A REALISTIC PLAN
You want to set some attainable goals for yourself. For example, let’s say you’re aiming to reduce or limit added sugars in your diet and you currently drink 3-4 cans of pop a day, eat a muffin or croissant daily for breakfast, white bread with all your meals and have a slice of cake every night after dinner.
Tackling all of these areas at once and setting a goal to give up everything in a week may work for some, and if it does for you then amazing! However, a more realistic plan would be to start with one or two things at a time and once you have developed a habit move to the next area you want to work on. So, you might want to give yourself 6 months to accomplish your goal. This is where step 2 comes in.
STEP 2: BABY STEPS
Now, implementing this 6-month plan is totally possible when you take it in baby steps. Let’s continue with the example above.
Your first step might be to decrease pop to 2 cans per day and replace it with a fruity tea, sparkling water with a splash of juice or simple plain water. Here you need to choose the option that works best for you and you know you can stick to.
In addition, you may decide to replace the muffin and have oatmeal or eggs for breakfast 3 days a week. Once you feel confident with those 2 changes and they have become a habit, then you can add on to that.
STEP 3: HAVE FUN WITH IT
If the plan doesn’t get you excited to wake up every morning, then it’s likely not something that will work for you. It’s important to add some fun to support your health motivation and drive.
Do you love cooking, but never have the time? Schedule some time on the weekend and get together with a few friends to meal prep together or sign up for a local meal prep class.
Do you have a deep love for desserts? So do we, and you absolutely don’t have to give them up. Just try out some heathier options.
STEP 4: SUPPORT/ COMMUNITY
People come together in times of happiness or celebrations (think of sports games, ceremonies, holiday festivities), and in times of sadness (think natural disasters, war, disease). We’re always looking for support in others that have gone through or are going through the same experience that can relate to us.
Having a community to support you, cheer you on and motivate you to go through with your plan is crucial to its success.
These days it’s easy to find so many online communities where you can connect, share stories and get inspiration from individuals that are on the same path as you. It’s never been easier. We have created one such community and would love for you to join here. It’s a safe space to share, support and connect with others.
STEP 5: CELEBRATE PROGRESS
This is a must! No matter how big or small of an achievement you’ve made, it’s important to celebrate progress. And remember that a health journey is not linear, so you may hit some bumps on the road. That is totally ok, don’t beat yourself up for it. Recognize it, learn from it and move on. This is an important step in establishing a healthy relationship with the food on your plate.
Think of the last time you went out with friends, had a big meal, got carried away with a few drinks and woke up the next day feeling drained, bloated and tired. If you’re intuitive with the way you feel, it might propel you to take it slow and make some nourishing choices during that day.
Taking a short break from the daily routine allows us to realize why we’re making those choices in the first place and makes us more likely to stick to them in the future.
Now that we’ve given you the 5 steps to take to stay motivated with your health and wellness journey, we want to get to the fun part and provide you with 5 realistic goals, and some delicious recipes to kick-start your health journey and ensure you can be the best and healthiest you in a way that doesn’t end up being a chore.
STEP 6: DITCH THE JUNK
Rule of thumb- if you surround yourself with addictive food, you will always be eating that food. So try to purge the junk!
Junk food or what we like to call C.R.A.P. foods are an obstacle that prevents you from moving forward with your health goals.
Artificial Additives and excess Alcohol.
Really though, it’s pretty hard to not give into Chester Cheeta’s seductive stare every time you open your cupboard doors. So, say buh-bye! Also, keep in mind- kids shouldn’t be an excuse. Bad food habits tend to start from childhood, so be mindful of what the kiddos are consuming. That is not to say that you will never have this food, but we have found that keeping highly processed foods our of the house means that you’re less likely to consume them habitually, and can still enjoy them once in a while.
A REALISTIC GOAL: Go through everything 1 by 1, and write a list: ‘Things to ditch’ and ‘Things to keep’. Have a few items that you are unwilling to rid of, and then tell yourself you’ll ditch the rest in baby steps. That way you won’t feel totally deprived, and you can set up goals to eventually get your cupboards the way you want in the upcoming months.
STEP 7: DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS
You’ve definitely heard that you need to hydrate so we’ll keep this short and sweet, water is essential for life.
The human body consists of around 70% water so of course it is vital to stay hydrated. Not only is water needed to support life, but water keeps your electrolytes balanced, keeps you feeling full, gives you energy and can help detoxify the body. Aim for filtered water with fresh lemon as opposed to tap, but don’t let tap water stop you. Just make sure you are drinking. Another way to get fluids in is soups, smoothies and decaffeinated tea such as: chamomile, ginger, nettle, peppermint, lemon and/or turmeric. These teas are incredibly nourishing and aid detoxification.
A REALISTIC GOAL: Buy a water bottle and bring it everywhere with you! Make sure you sip on it throughout the day and it’s being re-filled a couple of times throughout the day. Feel free to add fresh fruit to it, decaf tea, smoothies or soups. Just keep hydrated.
STEP 8: AIM FOR A DIET FILLED WITH MOSTLY WHOLE FOODS
How many times do you grab a prepackaged food at the grocery store, read the front of the label, think it sounds great and then plop it into your cart excited to test it out?
Labels are notoriously misleading.
Often times the foods that look and sound most delicious are loaded with preservatives, emulsifiers, colours, additives, sugar and salt. It makes our bodies work a little bit harder to process these ‘non-food’ foods, and slows down our metabolism. Be careful of what you’re eating on your day to day, try to eat whole foods, cooked from scratch more. If you do pick up prepackaged or processed foods, read the label and avoid foods you can’t pronounce, try to avoid added sugars (especially refined) and salt. And if you are super busy we have some great tips for you in Eating Healthy When Your Life Is Hectic: Part 1 Quick Meals & Snacks.
A REALISTIC GOAL: Start reading your food labels! Everything you buy that’s prepackaged, look at the ‘Ingredients’ and ‘Sugar’ levels first. Make informed decisions of whether or not that food is going to help or hinder your goals.
Note: Not all prepackaged food is necessarily devoid of nutrients, here are 10 of our favourites.
STEP 9: EAT LESS MEAT
We’re not in a position to tell you to stop eating meat! As a matter of fact, neither one of us is vegan.
But, contrary to what some popular diets are touting lately (achem *keto), too much meat can be harmful on the body, especially red meat. The fact is that not only have our portions gotten bigger (10-12 oz. steaks), we’re now used to consuming meat at every meal: bacon for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and a steak for dinner.
Animal protein might be high in iron, protein and B12 but it lacks fiber, antioxidants and other vital vitamins and minerals- all nutrients that you can get from eating a plant-based meal. High fat animal protein (especially red meat) is also known to raise cholesterol levels and in excess can be pro-inflammatory.
A REALISTIC GOAL: Consider making one meal a week that’s vegetarian, and try not to eat processed meat (organic and grass fed is best). If the health consequences of eating too much meat isn’t enough incentive, eating vegetarian every so often is much better for the planet that we live on and the air we breathe, so it also helps make the planet a healthier place to live!
STEP 10: EAT MORE VEGGIES, FIBER & PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS
Try not to think of fruits and veggies as a side dish, but as a main dish with a side of grains and protein.
If you’re not a huge salad eater, smoothies, soups, stews, and roasting veggies are an amazing and delicious way to eat vegetables. Veggies are also high in fiber which will keep your gut nice and clean and promote healthy gut bacteria growth. Probiotic rich foods such as: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and tempeh are great to add to your diet that help keep your tummy filled with the friendly bacteria that aid the detoxification process.
A REALISTIC GOAL: Test out 1 new probiotic or fiber rich food a week that you normally wouldn’t. You’d be pleasantly surprised how delicious kimchi is with eggs, or miso soup can be on a cool and chilly day!
You most likely won’t find us telling you to count calories, rate your meals as a number system or have you constantly worrying over your food. We want you to love what you eat, feel good about food and feel good about yourself.
Do you have any more health motivation tips? Share them below.