“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
This post is going to be the second (and final) part in my mini staying motivated series! If you didn’t see Friday’s post, you should check it out after this one! It features my top tips for staying motivated to workout, and an in-depth look at why each piece of advice is useful.
Today’s post is about food. More specifically, healthy food, and how we can keep on track with our healthy eating goals. I’m not going to pretend that it’s all rainbows and sparkles on my plate, and I’m not standing here telling you all that my diet is perfect and my nutrition is on point and I’ve never touched McDonalds’ fries in my life (because, as we all know, that would be a big, greasy lie. And I don’t do lying). I like to be open and honest wherever I can, so I’m going to be honest here, too.
Most of the time, I do try to eat healthy. For me, this means simply making sure that I’m eating some form of fruit or vegetable every single time I eat. So, for breakfast, if I fancy toast, I’ll have a banana with my toast. For lunch, if I fancy pasta, I’ll probably eat a whole head of lettuce alongside my pasta. For dinner, say I want a curry, I’ll make sure I fill the curry with heaps of veggies and potatoes and squashes and all that good stuff. I don’t think that eating healthy should be a limiting process, it should be an abundant one. The amazing thing about fruits and vegetables is that. as a general rule, it’s ‘the more the merrier’!
I don’t rule out any types of food, I have no ‘rules’ other than my food has to align with my ethical values (which has nothing to do with my body per se, but rather, it has a lot to do with my personal impact upon our world and what kind of a mark I want to leave on it). So, my food has to be vegan. Other than that, I’m easy. I’ll eat cakes, chips, fries, chocolate, pastries, donuts, bread, pizza, pasta.. anything you can make vegan, I’ll eat it. My only rule is that I eat some healthy food alongside it (or, if that’s inconvenient, I’ll try to eat some plant foods later in the day)
Honestly, I just feel my absolute best when I’m eating mostly plants, and I definitely notice when the food I’m eating isn’t healthy. I have an extremely sensitive stomach. Just one day of neglecting to eat healthily (ahem. Today. *cough cough*.. it was my birthday last week so I’m cutting myself some slack) will trigger my gastritis (same goes if I go more than around 3 hours without eating anything!) which then causes symptoms like awful bloating, painful wind, acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea… all that fun stuff. Thankfully, since plants are mostly alkaline, a few days of eating mostly plants again will send those symptoms running!! So, I’ve made it a priority in my life to always eat as healthily as I can, and here’s what I do to motivate myself.
- Remind yourself of why you’re doing it.This could look different for different people. For me, I remember how awful it feels when you can’t keep anything down (when you’re either vomiting your guts up or spending hours on the toilet…) and that’s pretty much motivation enough for me to eat some extra veggies!!! For other people whose stomachs aren’t quite so sensitive, you may need to dig a little deeper with this one. Why is it that you want to be healthy? Is it so that you can run around with your kids without getting worn out? Is it to fight an illness that you currently have? Is it to look better? To have more energy? Are you training for something and you need to get in shape? Is it just to set a good example to those around you? To support a healthy industry? Whatever it is that caused you to start looking into a healthier lifestyle, remind yourself of it. Make it the lock screen on your phone, your desktop wallpaper, stick it to the fridge, to the wall in your office, above your bed if you need to!! Hold fast to that purpose and you will be so motivated by it.
2. Write a shopping list before you go shopping.
This is such a small thing to do, but it makes such a huge difference. Make a list of the food that you’re going to buy and want to eat at the start of the week, and make sure that you fill that list full to the brim with healthy plant foods. If you buy yourself lots of healthy food, you’ll end up eating lots of healthy food. fact.
3. As a follow up point to the previous one, try to eat out as little as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I love eating out just as much as you do!! But it’s pretty costly, and pretty unhealthy to do regularly. If you’re prepping your own food, you can be sure to use heaps of healthy ingredients, and you’ll be able to save a lot of money in the process. It’s a win-win-win; you get better at cooking and more creative with your dishes, you get healthier, and you save money!
4. Social Media!
I am constantly supported and motivated through social media. I mean yes, I realise that for impressionable young people, social media and the glorification of health can be damaging, and I fully understand that. But if you’re careful with who you follow and who you take inspiration from, whilst also having your own head screwed on, being wise enough to know that what we all portray online is basically a highlights reel of our lives, social media can be super beneficial to your healthy lifestyle. Pinterest have heaps of amazing healthy meal ideas, as well as workout routines, and so many influencers on instagram, bloggers, youtubers, etc. offer healthy motivational content and healthy recipe ideas! There isn’t a single person who can use the excuse ‘but I don’t know how to eat healthy’ anymore. We all know what to do, and if we don’t the information is literally at our fingertips. If you’re reading this now, you have internet access and some form of computer or smartphone, and thus are able to research healthy recipes and meal ideas.
Maybe this seems obvious to you, but it didn’t originally seem obvious to me, so I thought I had better include it! Exercising is amazing motivation to eat healthy. If you are pushing yourself in the gym, then you’re not going to want to throw that away by eating unhealthily. Also, you’ll be needing a lot more energy when you’re working out, and so will naturally be craving good, healthy, nutrient-dense meals in order for your muscles to repair themselves! If you’re struggling to see a reason to eat healthy, then starting up exercise is a great way to give yourself a reason to do it. You won’t see much progress in the gym if your diet isn’t in check.
6. Have a couple of go-to healthy recipes
This is important because life happens. You’re not always going to have the time to make a big meal from scratch, you’re not always going to have the most fresh fruits and veggies in the house, and you’re not always going to feel like eating healthy. In these situations, it’s important to have some healthy, but quick, options. One thing you could do, is bulk make a lot of one meal, and freeze it so that you can defrost portions of it whenever you need to. Another option would be to always keep a supply of dried fruit or dates or something similar aorund for you to munch on whilst you’re cooking (we all know the feeling of just being too hungry to cook). Come up with some super simple meals that you can add veggies to and just eat whenever you want to (for me, this is just rice veggies and beans). The easier you make them, the better! You’re more likely to stick to your healthy lifestyle if you know that it’s not going to be too much of an effort.
Most of all, you need to decide that you want to be healthy for you, and you need to forgive yourself. You need to forgive yourself for the years you spend eating badly and mistreating your body. You need to forgive yourself for every time you have decided that your health doesn’t matter. You also need to realise that it is okay to eat unhealthy food. I know I may be in the minority in saying this (but hey, it’s worked pretty well for me over the past few years!) but it is definitely okay to eat ‘unhealthy’/processed foods, as long as you’re eating nutrient dense, plant foods as well. Eating only ‘healthy food’ is not healthy. Not for our minds, and not even for our bodies. The healthiest way to live is to live in balance and to live in abundance. That’s a balance between the food your body needs and your heart wants, and the abundance of fruits and vegetables and plant foods that we should all make more of a priority!
I’d love to hear from you guys!! What do you do to stay healthy? What have you found motivates you the most?
“A friend loves at all times”