Last updated on May 3rd, 2020 at 04:37 pm
Staying motivated to exercise and eat healthy is not an easy task. There’s always something more important to do, something fun to watch on Netflix and there’s always something delicious you need to have again.
All those inspirations on Instagram and exercise videos on Youtube are not doing it either, in fact they’re kinda annoying.
So how do you keep exercising and eating healthy, when there are other options out there?
Motivation comes and goes, so we need to keep it coming every single day. Read in this post how to stay motivated with your exercise routine and healthy eating habits.
I shouldn’t have eaten that whole pizza for dinner, I feel so full and horrible. Tomorrow I’ll exercise and drink only lemon water…
Tomorrow rolls in…
Wait for it…
Coffee, rushed out and a donut at my desk.
Motivation is an evil thing. It comes to whisper in your ear at night and in the morning it has left, because it’s got more important stuff to do.
You feel seduced and abandoned, so you just do what you always do. Pretend nothing happened and move on the way you know.
Good News Though!
Motivation will come back, but sometimes you’ve got to look for it a little bit harder. Motivation is like hygiene, you need to practice it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
It’s Pretty Ridiculous We Need To Get Motivated
Exercise and eating healthy should be the two most natural things in the world. It’s what people have done for thousands of years. With or without motivation.
Now we came to a point where it’s easier to reach someone overseas than go on a hike. Needing motivation to exercise and eat healthy is a luxury and we don’t even realize it.
I mean, what do you do on an usual day?
Wake up, get ready, grab a coffee and something simple carb-y to eat, drive to work and then sit yourself in front of a screen for 8-10 hours. Then drive back home or go out and stare at your phone the whole night while eating chips. Obviously my life’s pretty awesome. Evolution got us there.
Here’s how my grandparents’ typical day looked like from what I remember.
Get up early, go feed the chickens, send the goats on their daily trip, clean the house, do A LOT of garden work, eat something fresh from that garden, do some field work, clean some more, feed those chickens again, welcome back the goats, milk them, cook and so much more.
Today, this almost sounds like a dream to me. It might not be rocket science, but I don’t know how to do half of the things my grandma and every other person in her generation knew how to do so well. I cannot knit and I’m pretty sure if I were to sew a button on a shirt it will fall off in an hour.
The choices my grandparents had were limited. They had to be outdoors, to stay active and to make their own food to survive. They ate salads and fruits because that’s the food they had. They didn’t have the luxury to need to get motivated.
We’re almost forced to not move and it’s much more motivating to eat at McDonald’s than to cook for yourself. After all, a cheeseburger costs less than a salad, takes less time & effort, makes you full and is decent tasting.
Here’s what works
In a world where we’re bombarded with endless, seemingly easier choices, we need to stay focused on what’s important and good for us. Buying oreo cookies is not easier than buying a bag of raw nuts. But who does that? Some people. The people who know they are privileged to have a choice. They get to choose what they do with their bodies, they get to choose the food they eat. So why not make the best choice?
I definitely fall off track sometimes, many times, but I always know how to get back. And I also know I will get back. Here are my best tips to stay on track with working out and eating healthy, long-term.
How To Stay Motivated To Eat Healthy And Exercise
1. Most important: Start with this one thought
I’ve always heard the morning can determine your whole day, but I thought it’s a giant elephant crap. Sorry for this expression (I’m such a lady).
But, I found out – this is very much true.
Waking up early and starting the day with a positive thought can make a huge difference. Among other stuff, it can make it easier for you to stick to the healthy habits you wanna develop.
Mine is an intention and it goes like this:
Today I wanna feel good in my body.
But it works. Notice, I didn’t just say “I wanna feel good”. I said “I wanna feel good in my body“. And I said today. This implies the intention to make the right choices for my health throughout the day. If I just say: I wanna feel good today…Well, I also feel good when I’m watching a movie and eating a pizza. But not good in my body. If I only say I wanna feel good in my body…This could mean years from now, or whenever I have abs. That’s way too long. I could start making better choices tomorrow or the day after that…there’s no deadline. But today means, today.
Here’s another way this intention helps:
With so many choices, I hesitate about a million things every day. But when I keep this thought as my intention throughout the day making healthy choices is easier. It helps me to:
- eat the right foods
- not overeat
- not eat too late
- drink lots of water
- do some stretches at my desk
- walk home instead of drive/take the train.
The key is you always keep this thought in mind. Then you make the better choice, at least most of the time.
2. Do the right thing first
What really works wonders for me is doing the right thing first. I talked about it here as well. If I sit down to eat – I eat the vegetables first. If I feel like just lying on the couch after 8 hours in front of my computer – I go out for a walk. I commit to 5 minutes. And then this leads to longer walks and mostly to not watching TV that evening. I don’t promise myself I’m not gonna eat something unhealthy or not gonna watch TV, I just focus on doing the right thing first.
3. Ten minutes of this and I’m happier
After that positive thought in the morning, I always do 10 minutes of exercise – my favorite part of my morning routine. These 10 minutes keep the habit of exercise, even on days when I don’t have time and feel stressed. It makes me happier, more relaxed, more focused and ready for the day ahead. Plus after those 10 minutes, I usually feel so good – I wanna do more. And then I actually do it.
By working out in the morning I make sure to really do a workout. If I leave it for later in the day – I know, I probably won’t do it. If you also wanna start your day with 10 minutes of exercise, check out my favorite 10-minute workout videos on Youtube and these 7 awesome morning yoga videos.
4. Keep things easy
I’m not a big fan of meal prep, because I hate old food, but keeping things as simple and natural as possible helps me stay on track. I just don’t buy bad stuff anymore. Remember this smoothie bowl? If I had ice cream at home, I would’ve eaten that ice cream. Since I didn’t – I made the smoothie bowl and it was delicious. I had no regrets and cravings after that. And it took me 5 minutes.
Cooking healthy doesn’t take too much time and if you do yourself a favor and keep processed foods out of the way – it’s easier to eat healthy most of the time. To work and on the go, make sure you’ve got some fruit and nuts with you – these foods are healthy, need no prep and when you do the right thing first – will keep you from falling off track.
5. Do something that feels right
You’re never gonna want to do something that is too hard and unenjoyable. Time and progress don’t change that. Look for things that are challenging, but make you feel good.
Something that will make you proud you actually did it.
I always thought exercise should feel good only AFTER you’re done, but then I discovered it really shouldn’t. And in the past there’ve been many times I hated the workouts I did and that eventually made me stop working out altogether. Exercise should feel good. Not easy, but good.
For example I HATE with all my heart HIIT (high intensity interval training). I do it from time to time, because I like to change things up, but I don’t like it if I do it regularly.
If I say I will do HIIT 3 times a week, because I can burn more fat, I will feel miserable and I will quit. What feels good to me is dance workouts, yoga, barre, pilates, sometimes even running (very rarely). So I switch it up.
Same with food. Smoothies are healthy. But June and July I just didn’t feel like smoothies. So I ate more salads, because I couldn’t get enough of them. Now I like strawberry smoothies again, so I eat that.
Make sure you do something, because you enjoy it (at least kinda).
That was it – these are the tips that help me stay on track, even when I sometimes fall off. Like right now I have a cold and am buried in tissues (yes, it’s disgusting), so I really don’t feel like doing anything aside from laying down and watching a movie and eating a huge pizza.
But you know what I did – I made a smoothie, I ate a soup, okay also 2 peanut butter toasts, and actually did some yoga. I made the best out of that day, I even wrote and edited this post.
So whatever you feel like – don’t let it dictate your life. Do the best you can at the very moment and keep going.
Hope these tips help you stay on track, make sure to subscribe to my email newsletter to get updates from me and some extra stuff, I share only with subscribers.
Originally published August 2017, updated May 2020.
Also, don’t forget to check out these posts:
- How To Start Eating Clean When You Aren’t Motivated, Rich Or Famous
- The Biggest Reason You Can’t Lose Weight
- How To Wake Up Early And Not Feel Tired
- A Super Effective Tip To Destroy Cravings