Motivation is key to succeeding in life – personally, professionally, physically, and emotionally. But motivation is a tricky thing. Not only is it extremely powerful, it can also be hard to maintain—especially when it feels like everything is piling up. Here are five tips to help you nurture and maintain your own motivation.
Training Your Body to Retrain Your Mind
The amazing symbiotic connection between our minds and our bodies is something that has been accepted for millennia. Since at least the Victorian Era, based on anecdotal evidence doctors have advocated exercises of various sorts to help with mental issues like memory loss, mood disorders, and anxiety. However, until recently actual scientific evidence supporting the theory of this interconnectivity has been fairly hard to come by. The studies that have been conducted focused almost exclusively on aerobic exercises like jogging.
Now, a handful of scientific surveys have found surprising and direct connections between resistance training (a.k.a. weightlifting) and reduced levels of anxiety and depression. While it’s too early to suggest that resistance training is a cure, we can say with certainty that lifting weights can at least help with anxiety and depression.
How Gut Health Impacts Our Mood and Everyday Life
There has been a tremendous amount of new research concerning how our gut communicates with our minds and vice-versa. The new science that has resulted from that research suggests that our gut health has a much more far-reaching impact on our lives than we ever imagined.
A food diary is a tried and trusted tool many weight loss programs use to help track calories. Whether it’s a little notebook you keep in your pocket or an app on your phone, the point of these food diaries is to help you see just how much you’ve eaten (and how much you need to move in order to burn those calories off).
“Accepting yourself only as long as you look a certain way isn’t self-love. It’s self-destruction.” – Laci Green
How Not to Derail Your Weight Loss
Weight loss is a struggle for everyone, but those who have the easiest time shedding unwanted pounds are those who persevere and don’t let minor setbacks or distractions keep them from striving toward their end goal. The key to that dogged determination is maintaining the motivation that got you up off the couch or pushed you to toss out your secret stash of chocolates. But trying to maintain maximum motivation can lead to burnout.
Why Do People Overeat?
Overeating is different than stress eating. Often overeating is carried through to adulthood from habits we learned as children. Those old mantras of “clean your plate” and the tales about the “starving children around the world” we all heard really do have a mental impact on us. We feel that we have to eat everything in front of us or must eat until we’re uncomfortably full.
Eating for Comfort
A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that almost half of American adults report overeating in response to stress. A full 40% report that they have (or currently do) use food for comfort in stressful times. In those situations, the comfort food typically selected is not the healthiest: it’s the fatty fried foods, the high starch foods, the carbohydrate-loaded sweets. While occasional stress eating isn’t enough to throw a regular diet off the rails, 50% of stress eaters engage in this unhealthy behavior at least once per week.
Whether you set out to improve your health, try a new exercise plan or advance your career, each step along the way is an accomplishment (consider that an A on your personal growth report card). Reaching your goal is an ongoing journey, one with both triumphs and challenges. By understanding these three commonly encountered pitfalls, you will be more prepared and likely to succeed.
While cheating is a no-no in many circumstances (from high school history tests to marriage) there are some instances where cheating is not only okay but absolutely essential for your success. Specifically, allowing yourself to cheat may actually help you stick with your diet plan and lose the unwanted weight you’ve been trying to shed.
Have you noticed a fairly rapid weight gain after a certain age or struggled with weight loss for years without seeing any real results? If so, your personal body chemistry might be the culprit. While many people who struggle with excess weight have a history of making bad food choices and limiting their physical activity, a certain percentage of the population may actually suffer from hormonal imbalances that make gaining weight far too easy and losing it next to impossible.
Clinical studies have found that people who are more confident perform better, achieve more, and enjoy greater long-term success than less confident people.
While confidence is something that typically grows over time, when it comes to weight loss there are tools you can use to boost that confidence overnight.
The 1-Year Mark: Science Shows Hitting that Milestone can Predict Long-Term Weight Loss Success
If you have ever dieted or participated in a weight loss program you know that persistence pays off. It’s not just about the short-term gains but the long-term goals. After all, you’re not just dieting, you’re changing your life for the better. But it can be difficult to muster the mental fortitude needed to combat temptation and prevent backsliding. Thankfully a recent study provides some much needed motivation for us to get over those inevitable bumps in the road.
A number of interesting studies in recent years explore the power of self-talk.
- Athletes perform at a higher level when they engage in positive self-talk
- Self-talk can be an effective treatment for anxiety disorder
- Self-talk can even help longtime smokers kick the habit
Positive self-talk can empower you to stick with your diet and exercise program longer, resulting in improved self-esteem and physical health. It should be no surprise then that negative self-talk can have adverse effects, actually undermining our ability to conquer weight loss battles.
Why do so many people who have dieted in the past gain what they lost back (plus some)? Because diets don’t address the real reasons we are overweight. In order to enjoy long-term success, a new healthy lifestyle, and a better future you have to overcome those mental roadblocks as well as the physical ones. But it’s not enough to have a goal in mind. You have to constantly check yourself to ensure you’re not undermining your own success.
Specifically, you have to stop letting your past haunt you.
That can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. Our past is, by definition, what defines us. So how can we overcome it?
Why do most weight loss plans end in failure? Because people fail to shift mental gears and make meaningful changes in the way they see themselves. Adhering to a diet or exercise routine isn’t enough. Sure, this may result in temporary weight loss, but without that fundamental mental shift most people backslide into old habits and poor choices.
When it comes to successful, long-term weight loss you must practice “mind over matter.”
Naturopathic doctors and holistic nutritionists have understood the benefits of detox diets for years. They’ve been using these cleansing “rituals” to clear patients’ bodies of excess weight and accumulated toxins for centuries. Similar to fasting diets, these detox diets limit what an individual can eat or drink for a period of a day or more, allowing the body to process out (or purge):
- Excess waste
- Harmful toxins
- Excess water
- Unneeded calories
Leading a more active lifestyle is the easiest way to lose weight. While diet is important as well, exercise is simple biology: burn more calories, shed unwanted pounds.
The biggest obstacles people face when trying to integrate physical activity into their current lifestyle are time constraints and lack of personal motivation. But you can overcome those obstacles by creating routines and finding activities that are mentally and emotionally engaging for you . And the best part is you don’t ever have to step foot in a gym!
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” —Oprah Winfrey
“There is nothing noble in being superior to someone else. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” —Hindu proverb
“Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement.” —Anthony J. D’Angelo
As doctors and researchers take a more holistic approach to wellness, they continue to uncover an ever-increasing amount of evidence showing direct (or sometimes indirect) links between happiness and healthiness. While people have suspected for years that mood can have either a positive or negative effect on a person’s physical health, there is actual scientific proof to back up those claims—some of it shocking.
We all age. It’s inevitable. But did you know living a healthy lifestyle can help you look and feel younger? Dr. Ray Innis, a wellness expert and consultant for the Montgomery Courier, says that living a healthy lifestyle—eating right, exercising, abstaining from tobacco—can stall the visible signs of aging at the biological level. This, he says, can make you look up to 30 years younger!
Healthier eating is the best way to lose weight, live a better life, and be happier with the way you look and feel. But anyone who has tried dieting in the past knows that cravings can kill progress and cause backsliding even after months of successful weight loss. Finding a way to turn those cravings away from the dark side and have them work for you would be amazing. But can you really trick your body into craving healthy food?
Did you know distracted dining could be contributing to your weight gain? Recent research shows that how we relate to food—even as we eat it—may have a much more dramatic effect on our waistlines that we’ve ever thought before. One study even suggests that distracted dining is as deadly as distracted driving!
Can rewarding yourself with small non-food items really make a difference in your waistline? That’s the question researchers from the University of Arizona asked themselves before embarking on a unique study of how positive reinforcement can change our diets. And, the results are simply shocking!
Why is weight so hard to lose? We struggle with dieting and exercise, enjoy short-term success, but then fall back into bad habits within weeks or months. Any of us who have attempted to lose weight in the past know that staying on this path to wellness is difficult.
MYTH: The Faster, The Better
Granted, we live in a world that caters to the human need for instant gratification. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with wanting or needing things, experiences, results, in a timely manner. But what happens when our weight loss expectations aren’t met fast enough?
Burning an extra 100 calories a day may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a few days, weeks and months, those calories will turn into pounds lost and self esteem gained.
We all know weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. Rewarding yourself for accomplishments is an excellent way to stay motivated and focused on your long term goal.
Each little step along the way is an accomplishment. Be proud of that and reward yourself for the hard work you’ve put in.
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, we all start our day at some point. And we all seem to start it differently.
Some of us hop online to check social media, others dive in to email, still others eat breakfast, exercise, or pack lunches for the kids. There are a number of ways your morning could go. But one thing is for sure…….
Transform your relationship with food into a healthy one and you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of success!
There are many events in our lives that shape who we are and who we will become. Food has a way of becoming integrated with these events and the feelings and memories that surround them.
Losing weight is a mental game. Sure, you’re body has to do the work but it’s your brain that does the real heavy lifting. Committing to any lifestyle change is the first and most important step toward making that change. Losing weight is no different. It’s about mentally preparing yourself for the challenges ahead and putting your personal process first, above almost everything else. When you’ve truly “locked in” the rest will fall into place.
No matter what your fitness objectives are, it is just as important to give your body the care and time it needs to recover as it is to push forward to reach new goals. Good nutrition, plenty of rest and caring for your body will help you to be stronger and more efficient.
Stress is often the reason that we overeat or turn to food for comfort. When you’re feeling stressed, the idea of sitting cross-legged, doing nothing might seem silly or pointless. But what if meditation could help you resist temptation and make healthier choices?
Perhaps you’ve heard the old joke that calories don’t count when no one sees you eat them. While we may sagely agree that this is nonsense, we do sometimes live as if it is true. We grab free food samples while shopping, eat some of the kids’ leftovers, or sneak a snack in the office break room. And those don’t really count, right?
Truly changing your lifestyle is more than just eating healthy foods and working out. To make a change that sticks, you have to change the way you think. It turns out, your brain may be the most important body part when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off for good.
We are more than one full month into 2014 and perhaps New Year’s resolutions are starting to get left by the wayside. We know that when you miss a workout or overindulge at dinner it feels like a failure. But we encourage you to keep an eye on the bigger picture. No one can ever be perfect. Rather it is the effort that counts, and the fact that we keep picking ourselves up and carrying on. No one knows that lesson better that Olympic competitors.
Winning Resolutions: 5 Tips for Your Best Year Ever
1. Avoid Universals
If your resolutions start with “I will never…” or “I will always….” or even “I will ____ every day,” you are setting yourself up for failure. It’s tempting to make grand resolutions, since the fantasy is that this is the year you totally change your life. But the reality is, change is hard. If you fail one time after promising an “always” or “never,” it will feel like you already lost the battle and you will be tempted to throw in the towel.
Enjoy Holiday Favorites the Heathy Way
Raw cocoa has a lot of health benefits. It has a high concentration of antioxidants, which can do everything from help prevent cancer and heart disease, to fight aging in general. The polyphenols and flavanols in cocoa have potential health benefits for the skin, the brain, and cardiovascular system.