How to love a healthy lifestyle when you really hate it

It is so easy, delicious, and immediately rewarding to eat that cookie someone offered us or keep hanging out on the couch binge watching that show on Netflix.  How do we convince ourselves that we really love that healthy lifestyle we’re always saying we want when our brain is saying “Just give in!  It’s just one cookie!” or “We’ll exercise tomorrow.”

We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to making a personal change, such as losing weight.  We’re so often putting ourselves at a serious disadvantage.  Just by telling ourselves how hard things are or how much we hate them, we’re making things so much more difficult than they need to be.  So how do we love that healthy lifestyle when our brain keeps telling us how much we should hate it?

Love-Hate-love-and-hate-32359421-320-320

The first source of power when making a personal change is our own personal motivation.  According to Change Anything, “The things we should do are often boring, uncomfortable, or even painful.  We want to do them — in the abstract, just not in real life.”  And it’s oh, so true.

So, how do we get over hurdle and actually make a change?

Change Anything provides five different tactics to  make our brain work for us instead of against us.

Tactic 1:  Visit Your Default Future
Tactic 2:  Tell the Whole Vivid Story
Tactic 3:  Use “Value Words”
Tactic 4:  Make it a Game
Tactic 5:  Create a Personal Motivation Statement

They’re all pretty straight forward.  Really the hardest thing is setting aside the time for an intentional & honest self-assessment.  I highly recommend you read the book so my focus below is on how I personally implemented these tactics in order to start seeing success in my journey.

Tactic 1:  A Visit to My Default Future

I’d spent close to a year and a half attempting to make it to my goal weight.  I think I lost & regained the same damn five pounds at least ten times.  It was infuriating.  So I had to ask myself the question:  If I don’t change anything about what I’m doing, what does my default future look like?

I’m continuing on the rollercoaster of up & down weight but never actually achieving my goal.

Tactic 2:  Tell the Whole Vivid Story

Ok, so the description of my default future is honest.  But some days, it isn’t quite enough to get me to make a better decision such as actually turning down that cookie or marching my butt downstairs for a workout.  If I’m really honest with myself, the whole vivid story is this:

I’ll tell myself I’ll only have one bite or I’ll only have one serving or I’ll figure it out when I get there.  But that’s not what will really happen.  What will really happen is that I’ll eat something that deep down I know I shouldn’t be eating and I’ll eat more of it than I planned.  Then, I’ll be tempted & likely to just blow the rest of the day because the day is “already messed up.”  Then, when I weigh in next, I’ll be disappointed, ashamed and even further away from my goal.  This will continue until we finally have kids and then I won’t be able to lose the baby weight.  After having a kid, I’ll be even heavier than I’ve ever been.  I’ll be pre-diabetic, have high cholesterol & high blood pressure and when I’m out in public with my husband, everyone will wonder why on earth he’s with a “fat cow” like me.

Not a very pretty picture, huh?  But, for me, it certainly hit the nerve where it needs to so that it’s not “just one choice.”  Instead, it’s a series of choices hinging on this one.

Tactic 3:  Use “Value Words”

This tactic is so important that it comes from your heart.  The words you choose have to resonate with you and bring a deeper meaning than any other word.  For me, those three words are strong, confident & in control.

I want to feel strong, confident & in control.  I want my husband to see see me as desirable.  When we’re out in public, I want to feel like we suit each other physically.  Everyday, I want to wake up feeling great, not stuffed & bloated with an upset stomach.  I want to look in the mirror & feel good about what I see.  Everyday, I want to go to bed knowing that I decided what I ate and whether I exercised and I want to be proud of those decisions.

When I have a choice to make about what I’m going to eat or how I’m going to spend that next hour, how much easier will that choice be if this is what I highly value?

Tactic 4:  Make it a Game

A game has three important elements:

  1. limited time
  2. A small challenge
  3. A score

For my game, I defined several behaviors that I wanted to reward.  They were:

  1. Creating my weekly meal plan & putting on the fridge
  2. Preparing my lunches (and dinners if possible) in advance
  3. Logging my food before the week starts
  4. Logging final foods everyday
  5. Completing workouts
  6. Sticking to my plan

Then, each day / week that I completed those tasks, I would get a sticker.  Then, at the end of the week, if my stickers were 90% or above (basically an A) then I’d get a reward.  If my stickers were 80% or above, then I’d get a smaller reward.  And it’s been working well!  😊

Tactic 5:  Create a Personal Motivation Statement

This gets back to the concept that words matter!  Some words mean so much more to us than others.  Here’s my own personal motivation statement using words that resonate with me (both on the positive & negative side).  I keep this on my phone and I made a personal commitment to read it before I make my final decision on those cookies that always seem to be in the cubicle an aisle over.

Personal-Motivation-Statement

 

A simple word change

Regardless of each of the specifics in the tactics above, just answer the question:  How much easier is that choice when your brain is saying “The high protein snack you brought with you is so much better than the sugar crash that you’ll have when you eat that cookie.” vs “You can deprive yourself of one more cookie.”  It’s the simple difference of telling yourself that the choice is misery & deprivation vs. focusing on the positives aspects of making a healthy choice.

 

Which of these tactics do you already use?  Which one are you going to try?  Please share your results!  I’d love to hear what’s working for you.

 

Wishing you an All+SUM LIFE,
Sarah

2 thoughts to “How to love a healthy lifestyle when you really hate it”

  1. Loved the part about changing how you talk to yourself vs “depriving” yourself of certain foods. I like the mindset change and the reminder of feeling good and not waking up bloated and sluggish, not being ashamed to look in the mirror!

    1. Yeah – I totally thought it was kinda hokey till I just bit the bullet & tried it. I was amazed how quickly it made a difference. 🙂

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