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How Do You Stay Motivated? 4 Tips from a Dietitian


By Angela Hattaway

Stretch

Published online by www.fitday.com, June 15, 2011

Motivation and consistency are the key components to being successful with almost anything one sets out to accomplish. Whether you are working toward weight loss, quitting smoking or winning a race, motivation and consistency will get you there.

Just like your workout, your food intake and daily food choices need some change. Humans are very adaptable, so the same plan day in and day out will reap you... well, the same results. Below are the top 4 tips for staying motivated and keeping on track with your healthy eating and weight loss plan.

  • Keep a daily food journal
  • Weigh your food
  • Understand your nutrient intake
  • Challenge a friend

1. Keep a daily food journal

Maintaining a food journal can be very beneficial to staying motivated and meeting your goals. Be honest with yourself as you record what you eat, and your food journal can help you identify areas for improvement with a quick glance. Experiment with new foods, and be sure to make notes in your journal about the new foods you choose. For example: Review your journal after 2 days and see what changes you can make, like what nutritious foods can you should add and what non-nutritious foods can you eliminate.

2. Weigh your food

Weighing the food you consume really helps you understand and know how much you actually take in. Research tells us that when a person guesses at how many calories they are consuming, they are usually off by more than 50% either way. This means you could be consuming many hundreds of calories more or less than you should be on a daily basis. This can make a big difference if you have a goal of weight loss, weight gain or maintenance. For example: A standard serving of pasta is ½ cup. When you go to a restaurant, however, the serving may be 1 loaded plate of pasta, which can add up to 3-4 times what you should actually be consuming. To prevent overeating, ask for your server to bring a to-go box when he delivers food to your table. This will serve as a reminder that you do not have to clean your plate!

3. Understand your nutrient intake

You should know exactly what you are putting into your body. White breads, processed foods, trans-fats, and the like are not doing your body any good - in the short term or the long term. Increase your daily fruits and vegetables to increase the minerals and vitamins you take in on a daily basis. For example: If you are currently consuming one vegetable serving per day, challenge yourself to include vegetables twice per day. Making slow changes and progressions will help you reach your goals.

4. Make it a challenge

Goals are easier to stick to if you are working with someone else to keep you accountable. This might be a neighbor, a colleague, or a group of friends. Many businesses even offer so-called "corporate" challenges that are meant to motivate employees and hopefully reduce unnecessary time off work.

Motivation comes from within, but if you can find someone with similar goals as you have, make short term goals and work together. A "bad" day is not the end of the line - we are all human! Just pick yourself up and start over the next day. Hopefully, the tools I have provided in this article will help you find the self-motivation to be successful in whatever goals you have. So get out there and make it happen. Good luck!

About the Author
Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at blog.ultimatenutritionnfitness.com. She can be reached via email at at foodjunkie@nutritionnfitness.com.