Monday, 6 June 2016

Staying Motivated

I've discovered that one of the most important elements of successfully maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to achieve weight loss is motivation. However, staying motivated is one of the most difficult aspects of leading a healthy lifestyle. I've struggled with motivation pretty badly myself, so I've come up with a few strategies to help me stay motivated. I'm sharing them in the hopes that they inspire others and help them to stay motivated too.

  • Focus on your goals. The end result is what you're ultimately striving for, so reminding yourself of what you'll achieve in the end can really help give you that push when you need it (especially when it comes to exercise). 
  • Read motivational posts about people who have successfully achieved what you want to achieve. These are often accompanied by before and after photos, which can be quite encouraging, though I always take these photos with a large pinch of salt since they could very easily be edited or taken a less/more flattering angles with better/worse lighting. However, it's always inspriring to hear about people's journeys, and I find that it makes me think of my own and encourages me to work harder at it so I can achieve what I want.
  • Follow/view health/fitness/food accounts on Instagram. I find that this keeps my mind on health and distracts from things that can evoke temptation (pictures of tasty but unhealthy foods are lethal). However, it's important to make sure that they promote a healthy lifestyle and are not advocates for disordered eating- you might then find yourself in very dangerous territory. 
  • Watch videos on healthy recipes/ people who lead healthy lifestyles on YouTube. This is motivating in a similarly to the former point (about Instagram). It can also provide you with some excellent recipe or snack ideas!
  • Find tasty but healthy recipes and make them. I always get a lot of satisfaction from doing this, especially when it comes out tasting great. It provides you with something tasty but healthy to eat, and allows you to kill cravings quite easily. It also alleviates stress, which is a huge bonus!
  • Find healthy foods that you enjoy and work them into your diet more often. This is another one that can help with cravings. It might not be a substitute but it helps you stick with eating healthily whilst also enjoying he food you eat (which just makes everything easier). For example, I really enjoy pitta pizzas, and I've found a recipe for a blueberry smoothie that tastes delightfully like a milkshake though there's no ice cream involved at all.
  • Allow yourself treats (i.e. foods you largely avoid). Sometimes cravings are just a bit too overpowering, and the more we try to fight them the bigger they grow. Allowing yourself food you normally don't every once in a while satisfies your cravings, preventing them from consuming you (which would most likely result in breaking free from the healthy lifestyle you're trying to develop. Well, that's at leat what has happened with me in the past).
  • Start a blog (or a tumblr, or an Instagram, or even a handwritten diary, basically anything that allows you to keep track of your journey while continuing to motivate yourself). You can remind yourself of what you've achieved, keep track of the goals you've set and keep your mind in the right head space, especially when temptation creeps in. 
  • Take progress photos. It's easy to lose sight of where you started and convinced yourself that you're in the same body you were in when you started. Progress photos remind you of how far you've come and the fact that you're body has changed thanks to all the hard work you've put in. When you're feeling down about your progress they're virtually a necessity in motivation as they lift your spirits so effectively, providing you with the knowledge that you are making the progress you set out to make. They've certainly helped me!
These are the things that I've found really helpful so far. I guess different things work for different individuals, and I don't think my ideas are particularly unique, but I hope they may be helpful and inspiring in some sense. If I find other effective ways to motivate myself I'll make sure to post about them. 

I would also like to stress that it is important that all your motivation is healthy and positive- take care to avoid people who encourage others to adopt disordered eating habits as this can have a significant negative impact on your health, both mental and physical. 

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