I know it sounds harsh, but I'm just speaking from experience. I lost 35 lbs and I'm not going to say it was all smooth sailing, but as you get into a routine it gets much easier. Habits are hard to break... and that applies to good habits just as much as bad ones. I came up with 5 tips to keep yourself motivated--even when you're not really 'feeling it.'
1. Keep a motivation photo or board. This is NOT to say that you should post unrealistic 'thinspiration' pictures on your refrigerator door, but it IS a tool to keep yourself motivated to be the best version of YOU!. Maybe you gained a few pounds and want to get back to your 'happy weight' again. Post a picture of yourself at your healthiest and happiest! You can put it wherever you will see it... your desktop, kitchen cabinet, message board, or even in your journal. If you're looking to tone up a bit, then find a reasonable picture of a fit and healthy person from the internet or a health magazine! Whenever I need some motivation, I look back to some of my pictures from this summer when I was my healthiest and most active!
2. Think about how good you feel when you eat right. Sometimes I overdo it and I eat too many sweets. I never feel good about it... I always feel full and a little gross. And that doesn't make me want to eat more of the 'bad stuff', it inspires me to eat better! Instead of getting upset at yourself the next time you eat too much junk, simply use it as a tool to get you back on track. Remember how much better you feel when you eat right "...because eating healthy makes you happy!"
3. Don't be too strict. Seriously, this is probably one of the most important tips I can give you. I know it may be tempting to cut sugar out of your diet or swear off your favorite salty snacks in a brave attempt to be your healthiest and slimmest. While I do believe that the average American eats WAY too many processed foods and far too little fresh produce, being too strict with your diet will almost always backfire. Trust me... I know! Sure, I can go a little while without eating chocolate, but I know, as soon as I indulge again, I want to OVERindulge! Why not just enjoy it in moderation instead of depriving yourself until you feel SO deprived that you go a little crazy?
4. Write down your goals. To quote Jillian Michaels, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." While this may sound a bit extreme, there's definitely some truth to it. Determine what your goal is and write it down. Maybe you want to lose 10 lbs to get to a healthier weight, maybe you plan to run a 5K in the spring, maybe you just want to look and feel your very best... whatever your goal may be, write it down along with a realistic plan to follow through.
5. Start your day off right. While this may be a bit more specific than the other tips, when you start your day off right, you WANT to make smarter choices. If you've been eating too much junk lately, start with breakfast. Make sure that each day you have a nourishing meal to fuel your motivation for the rest of the day. Some great options? A fresh green smoothie with a side of raw nuts, a veggie omelet with low fat feta cheese, a bowl of stovetop oatmeal with fresh strawberries, greek yogurt with a banana and honey. If you're on-the-go in the morning, opt for a fruit and nut nutrition bar with an apple. Seriously, if you start your day off right you'll be ready to face the rest of it and make wise choices!
How about you? How do you stay motivated? What are your tips and tricks?