Originally published on Whole Foods Market's Whole Story blog
But what about those times when it all starts to seem like a chore? When you know you should make the better choice, but you just don’t wanna? It happens, and it’s totally normal — and you can get past it.
To help you along, we asked our Healthy Eating Specialists to share their favorite strategies for staying committed when motivation begins to flag. Ladies and gentlemen, we present their 5 R’s for keeping on track.
REMEMBER THE REASON
While eating healthier can result in weight loss it’s really about so much more, from feeling more energetic to managing disease. Our Specialists advise tapping into your greater motivation to inform your journey.
According to April Arotin from the Chagrin store in Woodmere, Ohio, “By going beyond the basic reasons for eating well (like weight loss, for example), we’re able to shift into a more meaningful set of motivators. Many of us are compelled to care for ourselves so that we can care for our loved ones. We want to be there for them for as long as we can! By focusing our intention on a compelling reason, motivation becomes something more powerful than just looking good on a beach.”
Emily Forbes of the Pearl District store in Portland, Oregon advises taking it one step further: “Once you have decided your main motivator (you may have more than one), put little notes on bathroom mirrors, in your car, and inside the fridge if necessary. Put them in places you’ll read daily to remind yourself why you’re on this journey.”
Surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded folks is one of the best ways to stay motivated, say our Specialists. That community is your instant encouragement and support. AsCamille Lamb from the Coral Gables store in Florida says, “No one should feel that he is going it alone. Coming to Health Starts Here cooking classes, joining a plant-based meet-up group, going to yoga, and throwing plant-based dinner parties to get other friends excited about healthy eating are all ways to make the journey a social one.”
Don’t forget to enlist your family. As Jennifer Buchanan from the Roosevelt Square store in Seattle says, “Getting the family on board is a very important step in staying motivated. If your family refuses, try remaking meals so that the less healthful foods can be added in small amounts, like a condiment.”
Finally, Linda Judge from the Fort Collins, Colorado, store suggests simply talking to others about what you’re doing. “Everyone has a story and they like to share it with others. I have gotten some really great tips for cutting corners to save time and making a healthy alternative for a not-so-healthy craving in conversation.”
Tangible evidence of healthy changes doesn’t always come at once, which can be discouraging. The trick, say our Specialists, is to think of results in broader terms.
As Traci Barr from the Greenville, South Carolina, store says, “Make small changes, rather than huge ones, at one time. That way, momentum starts and can be maintained. Too often, people try to do too much, only to get frustrated and quit before results can be noticed.”
According to Kathryn McCue from the Sarasota store in Florida, “The journey is not a straight path. It's full of bumps, curves, and roadblocks. Keep your eye on long-term health but celebrate the small victories, too. Do you have more energy, clearer skin, looser clothes? Celebrate it!”
It helps, says Erin Ford from the Upper Arlington store in Ohio to track your progress. “Food journals are a great way to see this. As the food changes, so do energy levels, mood, and overall feelings of wellness. Reading past entries can really show you how far you have progressed.”
That’s right: Your hard work deserves a prize, say our Specialists — so long as it isn’t the unhealthy food you’re trying to steer clear of. Set small goals to mark your progress and reward yourself when you reach those milestones.
As Allison Godfrey from the Tenleytown store in Washington, DC, suggests, “Make goals outside a number on the scale, like being able to run for ten minutes straight without stopping. And create a ‘rewards jar.’ Place a dollar in it every time you work out, then use the money to buy a nice outfit after three months or so.”
And sometimes, the process itself can be its own reward, suggests Kristina Voutas from the Coral Springs store in Florida. “Enroll yourself in an exercise program that will not only give you the results you want but is lots of fun! If I can have fun while exercising, that’s an added bonus!”
REALLY GOOD FOOD
Finally, tap into the vast variety of deliciously healthful foods. As Derek Sarno, Senior Global Chef, R&D, Product Development, says: “Make it a game that’s all about having fun and playing with what you put in your mouth.”
Amanda McDonely from the Louisville, Kentucky, store agrees: “Try to be adventurous and seek out new foods to try. If you are eating the same foods from week to week it will become boring and that may lead to temptation. If you are continually seeking out new recipes, seasonings, and flavor combinations it can turn into a fun challenge.”