As the perils of unbalanced and calorie-laden meals unravel with an uptick in countless illnesses, adopting a healthy lifestyle has become an important resolution for many individuals. Unhealthy food is a major contributing factor to various prevalent diseases, from diabetes and hypertension to cancer and osteoporosis. According to Dr. Stephen Kopecky at the Mayo Clinic, it is also the number one cause of early death.
However, letting go of poor food choices is fairly difficult considering the convenient and inexpensive ready-to-eat meals, ultra-processed food, and sugary snacks readily available for you to enjoy. With countless sensory stimulations influencing your appetite, adopting and maintaining healthy eating habits could feel like a constant struggle. But it doesn’t need to be so any longer; Here are five essential tips to motivate yourself to eat healthy foods.
Define Your Goals
There is a higher chance of staying the course when you have a clear purpose. So, consider your reasons for eating healthily. For instance, you could be looking to lose a few pounds. If so, quantify it and set a target. But keep it realistic and achievable. Remember, lofty goals are impressive, but if they appear unattainable, your motivation levels could quickly dwindle with time.
It is also important to select a single goal; Having too many could be overwhelming and will only make you lose focus. But ensure it excites you. Reflect on what achieving it would truly mean—it could be fitting into a dress you love, impressing someone, looking your best, or feeling fit and vibrant.
SMART goals are also time-bound. So, define a timeframe for you to achieve yours.
Create Visual Cues
Visual persuasion has long been a successful technique for selling products. There is no reason it can’t persuade you to achieve healthy eating goals.
The human brain can process visual cues 60,000 times faster than text. It is why educators and students often favor visual learning, and marketers prefer imagery over text in advertising. Similarly, by using visual aids, you can reframe your thought patterns and create positive cues to adopt healthier eating habits.
So, surround yourself with reassuring and inspiring visual cues, whether at home or work. Be creative in how you use them. For instance, your computer screensaver, phone background, and bedroom walls can all be a canvas to provide positive visual affirmations throughout the day. Display your goals in bright, bold letters on your kitchen wall or fridge door, where poor eating choices are often made. In addition, create a vision board and fill it with images that remind you of what it would feel like when you finally achieve your goals.
Set Up a Routine
Routines offer a sense of familiarity, predictability, ease, and comfort. When eating healthy is part of your routine, the unfamiliarity of new food choices starts to wane, and so will your resistance toward it. In other words, it becomes a habit that doesn’t require extra thought or effort.
But how can you set up a routine around healthy eating? Replace your regular shopping list with a healthier version, so you wouldn’t need to waste time at the supermarket determining what products to purchase.
Have a selection of nutritionally balanced yet delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. Focus on easy-to-prepare options, including one-pot dishes for busy weeknights. Every Sunday, prepare a weekly meal plan using them. You can even cook ahead and refrigerate to save time.
Celebrate Your Wins
When you are on a mission, every small win counts. Taking a moment to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements is essential to boost self-esteem and morale. It could create a sense of pride and satisfaction and elevate your confidence to continue with your healthy habits. According to studies, small and regular celebrations also trigger the release of dopamine—the feel-good, happy hormone that could flood you with positive feelings.
But what type of rewards should you use? Your favorite snack, whether a butter pecan ice cream or a chocolate bar, could work when allowed in moderation. But activity-based rewards are always better when you struggle to adopt healthy eating habits. These can include a movie night, a spa day, or some other activity you enjoy.
Keep your loved ones informed of your new health goals. Discuss any struggles and seek support whenever you feel your motivation levels dissolving. For instance, when dining out with friends, ask them to order for you so you don’t end up choosing a calorie-packed dish. When attending a family lunch, check whether including a few healthier options is possible.
In addition, consider seeking external sources of guidance and support. For instance, social media communities are an excellent resource for finding others with similar struggles. By sharing experiences, you can learn from each other and find the motivation to follow through.
A wellness coach could also help you to remain focused on your healthy eating practices. They can clarify concerns and provide useful tips and insights into achieving your goals. Ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations to find a qualified online expert in your area, but remember to look them up on PhoneHistory to ensure credibility, as the Internet is full of scammers.
One of the detrimental outcomes of today’s hectic and convenience-seeking lifestyles is poor food choices. Snacking on sugary candy, drinking sodas, ordering pizzas, and heating up frozen pre-cooked meals have become a regular part of modern life. As a result, noncommunicable diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and stroke, continue to rise.
Eating a balanced diet that includes all classes of food, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, is crucial for maintaining good health. Carbohydrates provide energy for the body, while proteins aid in building and repairing tissues. Fats are essential for hormone production and nutrient absorption. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for various bodily functions, including immune system support and bone health. Finally, fiber aids in digestion and promotes bowel regularity. Consuming a balanced diet can have numerous health benefits, including improved energy levels, weight management, reduced risk of chronic diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers), enhanced cognitive function, a stronger immune system, and overall well-being. By ensuring that your meals consist of a variety of foods from different food groups, you can maximize your nutrient intake and support optimal health.
The food you consume each day has an undeniable impact on your mental and physical well-being. So taking charge of what you eat and choosing healthy foods is critical for fighting common diseases and living a healthier, happier, and longer life.
Setting SMART goals and surrounding yourself with positive visual cues is important for finding the motivation to eat healthily. In addition, integrate healthy eating practices into your routine, and celebrate and reward yourself for each milestone achieved, no matter how small it is. And don’t forget to seek support—from your family, friends, social network, and trained experts.