6 Ways to Stay Motivated to be Healthy


I get asked a lot about how to stay motivated to workout, stick to an eating plan or just to be healthy overall.

It is a challenge.

Here are 6 ways that I’ve learned to stay motivated:

  1. Make it the next thing on your schedule. This is crucial. Put working out on your calendar. Currently, I workout 4-5 times a week. I put my workouts into my calendar each week. They are a scheduled appointment like the dentist or a meeting. When the time rolls around (whether that is 6am or 5pm), it is simply the next thing I’m doing. Over time this has helped me to get up and go to the gym. Believe me, I can fill that time with something else, but its a commitment I’ve made. The reality for many people is they aren’t willing to give the time it will take to be healthy.
  2. Pick a plan you like and will stick to. I don’t care if you ride a bike, run, do crossfit, zumba or something else. Pick something you will do and stick with. Too often I’ll see people switch plans or programs because they don’t see changes quickly enough. When I started working out, I saw a ton of changes fast. Then I went almost 2 years where I felt like I looked the same, but I stuck with it. Just recently have I started to see more changes.
  3. Set a realistic, attainable goal. Set a goal. Specific. With a deadline. Now, is it realistic? If you do nothing right now, working out 4 days a week at 5am probably isn’t the best first step. Maybe 2 times a week at that time and then build up. Get small wins as quickly as possible. If you lift, set
  4. Eating well is more important than exercising. This is something most people miss. Eating counts more than working out. Don’t kill yourself at the gym and then go home and eat like a guy living in a frat house. Eat well. Food is fuel. If you exercise regularly, you should drink at least 100 oz. of water a day. Limit dessert and other foods that aren’t great for you. You don’t have to cut out gluten like I do, but eat well. Here are some ideas on what I eat.
  5. Weight gain isn’t always a bad thing. If you lift weights, this will be something you need to learn. I stopped weighing myself 3 months ago. Our scale’s battery died and I never replaced it so it wasn’t a conscious choice, but it has been a good thing. Weight gain is not always a litmus for being healthy. If you lift, muscle does weigh a lot. Have a pair of pants that give you a test to see if your waist is growing.
  6. Health is a lifestyle switch. Don’t quit. I know this is the topic of this post, but don’t. Being healthy is a long-term choice. Sure working out feels good, but I do it to stay healthy for Katie and my kids, to have energy to lead well. I want to stay in the game well into my 80’s.


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When Eating Becomes a Sin

Little boy choosing between a cupcake and apple

I get asked a lot about losing the weight I have and keeping it off. Losing 130 pounds was really hard, but keeping it off and is incredibly difficult. I’ll often get asked about eating habits as that is where most people get hung up.

One of the things that rarely gets talked about is that eating can be a sin, an idol. The reality is, we are told our bodies are the temple of the holy spirit and we are to take care of them (1 Corinthians 6:19). Most Christians use this verse to say drinking and smoking are wrong while eating their next 2,000 calorie church potluck meal.

The reality is that eating is a sin when:

  • We do it mindlessly.
  • We do it when life feels out of control.
  • We do it to feel better or find comfort (ever hear someone talk about comfort food?).
  • Or, when we eat too little to be prettier or skinnier.

So what do you do?

The first thing you must do is understand why you eat. What drives you to food. It is not that you are hungry, we often eat when we aren’t hungry or continuing eating when we are full, so there is more to it than that. If you never uncover why you eat, you will continue to eat in a sinful way by finding your god in food.

Because overeating or not eating enough is a sin and can be an addiction, you have to approach the way you would someone who is addicted to porn, shopping, drugs or working too much.

When you approach those sins, you make a plan, create some accountability around them to keep you from falling into those patterns. It is the same with food.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get an accountability partner for exercising or eating.
  • Don’t buy the snacks that are bad for you. If it isn’t there, you can’t eat it.
  • Make a meal plan so you eat well. If you make a last minute meal it is rarely good for you. If you go out to eat, always know what you will eat before you arrive. Looking at the menu causes you to eat more than you should or food you shouldn’t.
  • Drink at least 100 ounces of water a day. Water fills you up and helps to clean out your system which helps to move things through better. Also, if you drink that much you eat less. If you drink this much water, you are less likely to drink soda. I’ve read cutting soda out of your diet can drop 10 pounds in less than 2 weeks.
  • Eat higher protein meals which will lead to less hunger in between meals. I eat 5 eggs every morning and am rarely hungry before lunch. Not snacking makes a huge difference.
  • Start slow. The big mistake most people make is to jump from what they are doing to eating like Bob Harper tells you to eat on the biggest loser. While that’s great if you can do that, it is often unrealistic. Take small steps and then add to it. It took me 18 months to lose 130 pounds but I went slow and have kept it off for almost 4 years now.


Links of the Week

  1. Thom Rainer on 7 personality traits of effective leaders.
  2. What to do about KONY 2012. This is a helpful perspective. Here is some more information about the invisible children. I appreciate how transparent they are being about things.
  3. Scott Williams on How to effectively handle criticism.
  4. The truth about post-workout nutrition.
  5. Justin Anderson on Reflections on 7 years of church planting.
  6. Leadership lessons from Ed Young Jr. There are some nuggets here.
  7. Charles Stone on Introverts don’t make good pastors. Being a pastor and an introvert, I found this really helpful.
  8. Are you called to be a pastor?
  9. Ben Reed on 5 things a pastor should never say.
  10. Sam Rainer on The trap of availability among leaders.