6 Ways to Stay Motivated to be Healthy

book

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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Eat Move Sleep

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference (kindle version) by Tom Rath. I actually read this book back in June, but it releases today, hence the review.

I’ve been fascinated by health and fitness for some time, ever since losing 130 pounds and keeping it off. So, Rath’s book was right up my alley.

Two things that are obvious about this book from the title:

  1. Every choice we make matters. They all impact every part of our life. 
  2. Tom Rath looks at how to eat, move and sleep so that those choices make the most positive impact in our lives.

As Rath states,

What seem like small or inconsequential moments accumulate rapidly. When your good daily decisions outweigh your poor ones, you boost your chances of growing old in better health.

Now, if you’ve lived a relatively healthy life, watch what you eat, exercise and sleep well, most of what Rath says will simply be a reminder. While I’ve read a lot about weight loss and health, I still found good tidbits I have never heard before and was reminded of some things that are easy to forget.

Here are a few things that stuck out to me as helpful:

  • The types of foods you consume influence your health more than your total caloric intake.
  • The best performers sleep at least 8.6 hours a day, almost a full hour more than the national average.
  • The top performers in every field typically work/practice in focused sessions lasting no longer than 90 minutes.
  • Losing 90 minutes of sleep reduces daytime alertness by nearly one-third. If you consider all the things that demand your attention in a day, reducing alertness by one-third is consequential.
  • A study of over 80,000 people suggests total intake of fruits and vegetables is a robust predictor of overall happiness.
  • When food is served “family style” from large plates, bowls or platters placed in arms’ reach, people simply eat more.
  • Anytime someone is hungry and in a hurry, it results in a bad choice.
  • The first to order food at a restaurant is an anchor for the rest of the table and sets the tone for what others order.
  • We eat based on the size of our plates.
  • We are more likely to make a bad food choice when a healthy option is available compared with when no healthy options are available.
  • Couples in which one partner has a commute longer than 45 minutes are a whopping 40% more likely to get divorced. 
  • The dish you start with serves as an anchor food for your entire meal. Experiments show that people eat nearly 50% greater quantity of the food they eat first.
  • People consume 167 additional calories per hour while watching TV.

An overall helpful, quick read.