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Staying Motivated: Nourishing Your Body and Mind

Written by Vitality Expert Jake Sanders
As cold, dark February hits, the waves of “new year, new me” conversations in the office, posts on social media, and appearances in the gym start to rapidly disappear; our motivation to live a healthy, more active lifestyle starts to wane, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed. The most recent #10YearChallenge on social media showing how everyone’s appearances have changed over the last decade may have actually demotivated you. With that in mind, how can we stay committed to ourselves and our health?
Be Realistic

Your goals are meant to positively inspire you! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by goals you have set yourself in January, or before, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and reset positive goals. A really easy way to do this is instead of looking at things you should stop doing and look for new positive habits you can add in place. Take the stairs instead of the lift to increase your activity. Substitute your daily fizzy cola with carbonated spring water. Sign up for a sporting event or obstacle challenge so you have something to train for and look forward to. Even better, get your colleagues together and form a team so you can start training in your lunch hour!

Avoid All or Nothing Thinking

With daily nutrition, following a rigid meal plan or a restrictive diet can create a sense of “I’m on plan” or “I’m off plan”. This thought pattern can be detrimental towards achieving our nutrition goals as it can lead to us having an unhealthy relationship with food, and create the opportunity to binge. Accidentally eating one chocolate treat, and then using it as an excuse to eat the whole box is like getting a flat tire, and then slashing a hole in your other three! As opposed to trying to avoid bad foods, try and think inclusively of adding in healthier foods high in essential proteins, vitamins and minerals in their place. Practise mindfulness when it comes to food selection, whether it is in your work café or favourite lunch outlet: think of what your body requires and fuel accordingly.

Optimal Nutrition for You

We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule: Eat 80% healthy and treat yourself for the other 20%, but what does this actually mean? 80% is the staples of your diet, the things you eat and drink most regularly day in day out. 20% are your indulgences and experiences! Drinks with friends, eating out with your family or a movie night at home. 

So how do we make the 80% optimal? 

Focus on Protein: Have four servings of high quality protein like lean meats, fish, beans and pulses or dairy each day to support your body’s regenerative processes.

Eat the Colours of the Rainbow: Variety in the colour of our fruits and vegetables reflects the variety of essential nutrients and fibre in our diet, often with fewer calories per bite than highly refined juices. Aim to consume 5-7 different colours each day.

Fuel Up: Starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta and root vegetable, along with fruit, provide us with key energy for our exercise and general day-to-day activity. Wholegrain options or skin on also come packed with fibre with each bite.

Stay Hydrated: Keep a water bottle with you to drink regularly throughout the day. Aim to top it up every hour to get you up on your feet away from your desk.
Be Easy on Yourself 

You're not always going to be motivated and that's okay! No one is always motivated. It's neither possible nor realistic. Social media tends to give us the impression that everyone is bouncing out of bed or eating grilled chicken and broccoli every day for lunch and it’s just not true. Focus on you and your reason why to be focused on your health. 

Ultimately, don’t restrict yourself from that chocolate bar, glass of wine with your partner, weekend brunch with friends or dinner with your family. Moderation is key.

Think of the saying “life is like a box of chocolates”; you can’t experience your whole life at once, so don’t eat all the chocolates at once!