Motivation to Eat Healthy: 12 Essential Tips!
How often have you started to eat healthier? Or with losing weight? Many people make an annual attempt to pay better attention to their diet, but give up quickly. Motivation to eat healthy appears to be difficult to maintain! Which is a shame, because healthy eating offers so many benefits … In this blog, we put together twelve tips that will help you maintain your new diet more easily. That way your diet will be a success next time!
Motivation to eat healthy
Why is motivation to eat healthy so hard to sustain? For many people, it is especially the case that it takes too long before they see results. You may have realized that you are really done with that overweight, but it often takes months before you reach your target weight. So those are months in which you have to be strict with yourself, without ever being ‘ready’.
But you can make it a lot easier for yourself by shifting your perspective a bit. Is healthy eating really tough, or can you make it more fun? Is there really nothing to celebrate in those long months? And is it really so bad if it doesn’t work now and then? With these tips you will keep looking forward to it!
1. Set concrete goals
As we mentioned above, it kills your motivation if you are never ‘done’. Now and then you really want to be able to enjoy that nice feeling that you just did it.
Yet many people never have that feeling. And that’s because they didn’t set the right goals for themselves. They formulate their wishes very abstractly, for example, “I want to be slimmer”. Or “I want to feel better”. Or “I want to get more muscle”.
But when did you get to the point where you succeeded? That is completely unclear.
For that reason it is important that you formulate concrete goals. “I want to lose 10 kilos”. Or “I want to get my fat percentage to 12%”. Or “I want to get rid of my stomach ache”. Try to figure out exactly what you want to achieve. And even better: write it down somewhere where you can take a look at it every day.
2. Start with realistic expectations
But beware: not every concrete goal is equally helpful. It is also important that the goal is achievable!
You may want to lose 10 kilos in a month, but we can already tell you that it is not going to work. (At least not in a sustainable way.) By setting such a goal, you are immediately behind. There is a huge chance that you will not make it, with all the associated frustration as a result.
In general, it is better to plan pessimistically. Do you think it should work in three months? Take four months for it! If it’s faster, that’s a stroke of luck, and if it lasts longer than three months, you don’t feel like a failure.
The same applies to healthy eating. Yes, many people feel better when they start eating better. But don’t assume that from now on you will jump out of bed whistling every day and that you will never have to be grumpy again for a minute. If you hope for that, the result is guaranteed to be disappointing…
3. One thing at a time
Have you figured out where you want to go? Great, then it is time to map out a route. And the most important thing is that you do not take on too much hay.
Many people try to do everything at once. They want to exercise every day, never eat a grain of sugar again, only cook for themselves, eat 500 kcal less…
They keep that up for two weeks. Then they are exhausted and their motivation to eat healthy has disappeared like snow in the sun.
It is better to take things step by step. Focus on one goal for a few weeks. By the time that has become routine, you can pick up another goal. This way you keep healthy food organized and manageable. And really: it is better to take a few months to switch than to fall back into your old habits after a few weeks!
4. Dare to do the imperfect
Many people demand absolute perfection from themselves. There will never be a cookie in their house again! And they will never skip a workout again!
That’s a really exhausting mindset to start with. Because if you have a relapse, it is much more than a one-time mistake. It means that your entire plan failed in one go. And that is bad for motivation! In fact, people often give up completely immediately.
Whereas: it’s better to do it right half the time than not try it at all. So prepare yourself for imperfections. No one can switch seamlessly to a different diet at once. Every time it does go well is a plus. And do you make a mistake now and then? Better tomorrow!
5. Learn from your mistakes
It is even better to see your mistakes as positive moments. Because they often show you exactly where your pitfalls lie and what you still have to work on. This makes them incredibly educational if you want to eat sustainably healthier!
So did you eat a whole bag of chips once? Then think carefully about where exactly it went wrong. Did you not have food at home? Then you know that grocery shopping is an important point for improvement. Did you feel sad and was this your solution? Then you know that you need to find better ways to deal with negative emotions.
That does not mean that it has to be perfect next time! But you do get better insight into the patterns that attract you to unhealthy food.
6. Make healthy food tasty
Nevertheless, it is of course nice if you relapse as little as possible. The best way to achieve that? Try to minimize the urge to relapse!
You can of course only eat dry rice with broccoli, but that will only make those cookies look better. It is better for your motivation to eat healthy if you also choose tasty healthy food. When you enjoy every meal, you will have a lot less need for unhealthier alternatives.
And another tip: healthy certainly does not mean that you should not use seasonings. There are all kinds of healthy seasonings, such as fresh herbs and spices. By making smart use of this, there is a party on your plate every day.
7. Make healthy eating easy
Most people don’t have time to spend hours on their diet every day. So make it easy on yourself!
For example, do not expect yourself to put complicated snacks at home every day: those cookies will become much too attractive again. Just make sure you also have healthy snacks available, such as fruit and nuts.
And don’t have to spend hours thinking about your food every night when you come from work tired. Make a plan for a few days and get the groceries already at home, so that you can just start cooking at the moment.
8. Keep unhealthy food out of sight
Do you still have some unhealthy snacks at home? For example when you receive visitors? Or because your partner or children are not on your new diet?
In any case, make sure that the unhealthy options are far away. In any case, not in sight when you are in the kitchen! It is better if you really have to make an effort to get there. Put them in a drum far in the back of a cupboard. Or just put them in the attic.
That way, you will always have to make an active effort to get to those chocolate bars. And that means you have more time to think. What about that concrete goal that you had set for yourself? Why did you want that so badly? And what do you find more important, that goal or a bite of chocolate?
There is a good chance that you will just grab an apple!
9. Find a buddy
Especially if the rest of the family does not participate, healthy eating can feel quite lonely. Why are you eating a bowl of cottage cheese while the rest just goes to the chocolate custard…
For that reason, a buddy can be a really good idea. You don’t have to have the same goals, as long as you are both concerned with your nutrition! This way you can exchange recipes, give tips or just complain together about what is difficult for you.
With a buddy, there is always someone who can give you courage if you don’t like it anymore. In this way, the motivation to eat healthy is still maintained.
10. Keep a food diary
Many people have a very selective memory when it comes to food. Yes, they ate healthy all day long. Well, except for that biscuit with the tea maybe, but something small should be possible, right? And oh yes, a colleague bought cake, so they did take a point – and well, a handful of chips for cooking, but they were just hungry…
If you’re not careful, little things like that quickly add up. Up to hundreds of calories, but also up to tens of grams of sugars that you don’t want to consume at all.
It is best to keep a food diary to prevent this type of stealth food. You can make that as extensive as you want. Use an app like My Fitness Pal or the Eetmeter, or just make a list in your notebook. As long as you write it down somewhere! That way you really hold yourself responsible for what you eat.
11. Track your progress
In addition to your diet, there is another important thing to keep track of: your progress. How are you doing with regard to that concrete initial goal?
There are all kinds of ways to monitor this. You can use the scale, but photos or circumference measurements are sometimes good options. You can read more about that in our blogs about tracking weight loss and muscle growth.
And do you especially want to eat better to feel healthier? Then devise a system to keep track of how well you feel. For example, rate your energy level or mood every day and see how it improves over time!
Do you have no motivation anymore? Then you can always take a look at your administration and see how far you have already come!
12. Celebrate your successes!
And perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to reward yourself! Not only with that ultimate goal – that is often months away. But choose a number of in-between performances where you want to party yourself, and possibly think in advance how you will celebrate those milestones.
You can give yourself a present, such as a nice cookbook that you would like to have or a handy gadget for exercising. Or you can do something fun: an outing with a friend, a day in the sauna.
Whatever you choose, make sure you reward yourself well for all the hard work you’ve put in. You can really enjoy that for a while. And then you can move on to your next goal with renewed motivation.