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Basic Motivation for a Healthy Diet

Learn to Avoid Actions with Consequences
  -- By Joe Downie, Certified Physical Fitness Instructor

Our bodies are very similar to our parents, teachers, bosses and coaches. They demand we make responsible choices and work hard to be successful. They expect us to wake up on time, show up when we’re suppose to and hand things in when they’re due. Our bodies are just as demanding. Our bodies expect us to eat balanced meals containing complex carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables, healthy fat, and goodies every now and then. They also thrive on smaller meals throughout the day, the proper amount of calories for our body size and activity, and all the little things such as not eating at all hours of the night, not skipping meals and not loading our bodies with innutritious meals.

There are always consequences to your actions. Your mom yells at you when you don’t wake up on time. Your boss threatens to fire you if you don’t hand in the next assignment on time. Your body does the same thing through extra weight, decreased energy and low self-esteem–all results of irresponsible choices in our nutrition habits.

We are successful in so many other areas of our life–career, parenting, education, relationships and hobbies, but when it comes to eating healthy we are about as successful as that 12th grader who did whatever they wanted in high school. You know, the one who realized way too late you can’t have instant gratification all your life if you want to be successful. After realizing this they hoped to turn things around the last couple months after spending their entire high school career making irresponsible choices. How many times have we tried a fad diet or insisted we were going to eat healthy for a few weeks in hopes of changing all of our bad habits over the years.

It doesn’t work that way in life and it doesn’t work that way with our bodies if we want to be successful. Why don’t we go to the casinos more, sleep in until noon, not do laundry, stay up late at night… because there are consequences. Why do we eat 2,000 calories in one sitting, skip breakfast, eat junk food all day long and neglect the nutrients our bodies crave?

Demand more of yourself when it comes to nutrition. Our parents, teachers, bosses and coaches demand more and hold us accountable. Do the same for yourself. Be tolerant and understanding of your imperfections, but don’t justify and forgive yourself every chance you get. The most important consequences of our lives are staring us in the face – our healthy or unhealthy bodies!

Be creative when it comes to nutrition. If you eat chocolate every day, set a goal to eat it only 6 times a week. Slowly work your way down to a more manageable means. Along the way, set up systems that will help you achieve your goal. For example, the day you don’t eat chocolate, you’re probably going to have cravings. When you do, find something that helps you overcome those cravings. Maybe drink a fruit smoothie to combat the sugar craving or sit down and write out all the reasons why you want to stop eating chocolate. Find a way to help you build positive habits.

Make it fun! Get together with friends and family and figure out ways to help each other. We do this at work, school or for a social club, why shouldn’t we do it for our No. 1 priority – ourselves!