How do I stay motivated to eat right?

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Big me, and not-so-big me.

It’s a question (again with the questions!) that I’m asked often when discussing my diet. It’s something I’ve never given much thought to, because it’s just something I do. When I changed my eating habits (known as a diet in scientific circles), I did so knowing it was a permanent change, and not something I was doing for a short duration. It was a change that I knew was necessary to turn my health around, and to increase my chances of living longer. I also knew that there was no turning back.

With that said, the last thing I wanted to do was reduce my chances for success or to sabotage any of my hard work. I see what others call cheat days as sabotage days, and I am not cool with that. However, every now and then, a special event, occasion, or holiday calls for eating foods that I otherwise avoid. That’s life, and it’s okay to have treats every now and then. But a cheat day? Never.

What motivates me is how good I feel all the time. Even just sitting in my chair typing out this blog post, I am comfortable. My stomach is flat and it feels nice to be able to sit without having a big belly getting in the way of things. When I can run up stairs without getting winded, it feels great. When I am able to reach down and tie my shoes without holding my breath, it feels great. When I look in the mirror and see a healthy and fit 50 year-old, it feels great. In short, it’s all the time between meal times (called life) that feels great. Why would I trade that for the short-term gratification of eating badly?

Think about it; you eat only for a small portion of your day. You have to live with the consequences the rest of the time. Why put something into your body that will make the rest of your day difficult or miserable? For me, the trade off is an easy decision to make any time I’m tempted. Am I willing to trade feeling great all day for a bowl of pasta? Heck no.

Think about what it is you really want out of life and make it your reality. Eating is important and yes, it’s at the center of our existence (without it, we die). There’s no rule that says good food has to taste badly (contrary to what some older people keep telling me). You can have delicious food, it can be filling, and it can be good for you. Concentrate on the good foods you already like that you can continue eating, give up the bad foods (added sugar, grains, beans, soy) and live your life to the fullest! Once you start feeling better and start reaping the rewards of eating right, you won’t want to sacrifice how good you feel to a pizza.

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