Things that motivate me to lead a healthy lifestyle

Embracing an active, healthy lifestyle can be much harder than the alternative. You need to have dedication, preparation, and most importantly motivation. You are much more likely to actually achieve something when you are motivated to do it.

What inspires most people to live a healthy lifestyle? Is it to be a great competitor? Is it to look good? Is it to feel better? I have been thinking about this over the past week or so and decided to come up with some of my motivating factors on why I try to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Family: This is always at the top of my list for everything in life! If I didn’t have my family I would have nothing! My family motivates me to want to live healthy. I want to set a good example for my kids as to why they should follow suit. I want to be able to do things that they want me to do. If I come home and they want me to jump in the trampoline I want to be able to do it. Or if they decide they want to take a walk, or even play basketball in the driveway I never want to tell them that I can’t. If my wife wants me to go for a run I want to be able to do it, even though she kicks my ass every time! These things are so important to me and when I think about not being healthy these are the things that put me back on track.  

Practice what you preach: I talk about fitness, health and fueling your body with the right things to my patients, in my social media posts and in my blogs all the time. What type of person would I be if I just talked about it? I want to practice what I am talking about to show that I too am doing what I suggest. It’s a struggle sometimes and it would be easier just to be lazy, but what would that be teaching people?  

Seeing someone else’s results: Seeing someone go from not being able to walk a mile and being able to run a 5k is one of the most motivating things to me. I see people on Facebook, in my clinic or even just friends that have decided to be healthy and start something new. When you see their results it makes you want to be better. It’s like a domino effect. You want to compete and get better at what you are doing right now. This always helps motivate me to stay on track and knock me out of my funk.  

Being able to stay active: The idea of being able to stay active is a huge motivator for me. I know that if I take care of myself I will be able to do everything that I want to do. I will never have to sit out and watch others enjoy. Just knowing this helps me focus and realize what I am doing is worth it.  

Fitness: This is always a motivator for me because who doesn’t like to see results? I love being able to see increases in my performance, in my waist line and on the scale. I also love to see my energy levels stay high because of a workout I did at 5:00 A.M. Even though it kills me to get up and go I always use results to get me out of bed and stop hitting the snooze.  

I know it can be tough to stay motivated to try and be healthy. It just seems so much easier to not have to try. But in my opinion just like with anything habit and routine always take over. If you get yourself in that mindset and have a continued routine to follow it makes it a lot easier to succeed. What are some of the things that keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle? Leave them in the comments section below! Have a great week! 


What seems to work best for weight loss? Diet or exercise?

Everyone wants to loose weight at some point in their life. Some people have struggled their whole lives trying to figure out the magical ingredient to lose that unwanted poundage that has taken over their midsection. Losing weight and keeping it off is a huge challenge. It’s just not easy for a lot of people, including myself. I have patients come into my office with lower back pain, knee pain, hip pain and they are overweight. Most of the time they will say “If I could just lose some weight I know it would help with my pain problems.” Or “I want to lose weight because I know it will help, but my pain prevents me from exercising.” If you ask most people will tell you that if they don’t exercise they have a hard time losing weight. Is this really true? If we limited our physical activity, would this effect our ability to lose weight? Does the way we eat have anything to do with our ability to lose weight?

Exercise has great benefits for your body. It strengthens muscles, helps your cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure and helps you release the chemical Serotonin the “feel good” chemical of the body. This helps your mood change after a workout. Have you ever felt lousy after a workout? I would probably say no! The bottom line is that exercise makes you feel better, boosts your health and it also can be fun. Exercise helps burn calories, which in turn helps you lose weight right? If we burn more calories than we take in then in turn we lose weight. This equation works well, but it wont last for long if all we are doing is an insane workout routine.

Our eating habits can also help with weight lose. People tend to say “I can’t have that I’m dieting!” Or “I am on this diet for the next 4 weeks to get down to my beach body!” Crash diets are just that…they crash! If you decide to start counting your calories and follow the newest “fad” diet plan it might work for a few weeks or maybe a month. Eventually it will catch up to you, especially when you start to eat the same old stuff you used to. Most people will have short term success with these type of diets and leave them saying “I have tried dieting and I just can’t seem to lose the weight.”

So what is it that most of us are doing wrong that is causing us to either not lose weight? Or gaining it back after we have lost it? The short answer is we are relying solely on either exercise alone or some fad diet plan. I suggest to patients that they should try and follow the 80/20 rule. 80% food intake and 20% exercise. Most people would think it should be the opposite. But to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul there is a balance that needs to happen and food is usually the main culprit. Changing the way we eat has such a huge effect on the way we can lose weight, get healthy and stay healthy. If you continue to workout like crazy and not get the proper nutrition you are just being counterproductive. You can’t use exercise as your primary source to lose weight. There has to be some sort of balance both ways.

What I suggest for people to do is first get away from those processed foods and sugar! Sodium alone keeps weight on and those foods are packed with it. Usually I will tell people to fill half of their plate with vegetables. Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, asparagus are just a few that I like. You only need about a fist full of protein on your plate and a palm full of your starches such as brown rice or yams. Getting fat in your diet is also recommended. Just make sure it’s good fat. I eat at least 1 avocado a day. Try and eat cleaner foods and drink lots of water. In order to stay fully hydrated throughout the day you should drink half you body weight in ounces per day. This can also help your body stay full and not hungry. Sometimes when you think you are hungry you are really dehydrated. Exercise 3 times per week is plenty for about 25-30 minutes. You can do more if you would like. It’s totally up to you.

These are all suggestions that you can try. I am by no means a nutritional expert or a dietitian. I am solely going by experience alone and what has worked for me. As with all things new I recommend to do this for at least a 6-8 week period to really see results. Let me know how it goes!

Having trouble staying motivated? Try these tips to stay on track!

It can be very hard to stay motivated about things, whether you are in the middle of a fitness program, trying to lose weight or even trying to keep up with your exercise program at Physical Therapy. It’s hard to stay at a consistent pace because things tend to get harder each day and week. We all start off the same with anything new. We are very excited to see the results of hard work. Then we hit a wall and we plateau. We lose interest very easily and start to go off course. Then the excuses come: “I just got so busy and I couldn’t find time.” “After 3-4 weeks it just wasn’t working for me.” “My body is just meant to be in the position that it is I; it runs in my family.” Do any of these sound familiar? They do to me and I have found myself saying one of these a time or two. Being a Physical Therapist I deal with excuses like this all of the time from patients. I wanted to put a little list together of ways to stay motivated. I myself use some of these to stay on task.

Write down weekly and monthly goals:

Writing down your goals makes it that more real. It makes you accountable for what you say you want to do. If you hang them somewhere you will see them each day. It will make you more aware and want to accomplish them.

Surround yourself with like minded people:

Surrounding yourself with people that have the same vision as you can be the difference between a win or a lose. When you surround yourself with these kind of people your mindset shifts. This also holds you accountable to what you have set forth. If you are always around “Debbie Downers”, then you are going to be more apt to act like them.

Be patient:

You have to be patient. Things take time, especially if it’s something new. Everyone that starts a new exercise program or tries to lose weight wants results yesterday. Nothing in life works that way. You have to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize. Remember steady and slow wins the race.

Reach out to others for support:

This also goes back to surrounding yourself with like minded individuals. It helps to have support of others that are going through what you are. I always encourage my patients to talk to each other about what they are coming to PT for. Tell them your story, and what you have done to try and convince yourself you are getting better. Having others to bounce things off of can help keep you focused and motivated to continue.

Read and listen to personal development:

This is a big one, especially for me!! I have never read more personal development books than I have in the last 6-8 months. It helps me stay grounded. It shifts your mindset from “it can’t be done” to “let’s do this!” Personal development in my opinion should be something that everyone should work on. It gives you a sense of direction, greater resilience, improved focus and of course motivation to want to succeed.

Give yourself breaks:

There are going to be times when you want to give up and you feel overwhelmed. Burn out can happen, so you have to give yourself breaks. Take a day or two to refocus on what you originally started for. Rethink your goals and what you eventually want to do. Go out with your spouse, significant other or friend. We all need breaks from time to time.

Make sure to reward yourself:

You have to reward yourself every now and then. If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle you need to be able to splurge on a meal you normally wouldn’t eat. If you are working towards a particular fitness goal you should reward yourself with something that makes you feel good. When my patients accomplish something or are doing well I always tell them reward yourself today you did great! When you reward yourself it helps remind you why you are doing this in the first place.

Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best circumstances. It’s not magic and it is not something you can just drink out of a bottle, but it is something that you can tap into when you feel like giving up. The next time you feel like you are losing motivation try these simple steps to keep yourself on track.
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