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Morning!  Happy July 1 – do you like my red, white, and blue breakfast?  :)

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I had a dippy egg with a whole wheat English muffin:

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Plus, watermelon topped with pecans.

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A lighter breakfast because I’m looking at 8 hours stuck in a car and am sure I’m going to snack out of boredom.

 

How to Get (And Stay) Motivated

 

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of comments and emails questioning how to get motivated to be healthy – and actually make it a life-long habit.

 

I was definitely a yo-yo healthy person for many years (which, I suppose, made me pretty unhealthy overall).  I wrote the other day that I really believe you have to do something for three months before it becomes habit.  That means for 90 days, you need to wake up and make the DECISION to be healthy (and being healthy does not require perfection – see below).  After three months, healthiness because a habit, like brushing your teeth, and you’re not faced with the intense decision-making everyday.  You just do it.  And you actually WANT to do it.

 

How did I step off the rollercoaster and make healthiness a habit?  Here’s my easy tips on getting – and staying – motivated for life.

 

Believe That It Is Possible:  You must believe in your heart that it is possible to change your negative behaviors, whether it is overeating junk food, never exercising, or negative thinking.  Look around you for motivation – do you know someone who quit smoking or finally lost weight? I bet you do!  And if they can do it, why can’t you?  Believe in the possibility of changing your personality or behaviors. 

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Commit Yourself to a Lifestyle Change:  If you want to pick up an exercise habit or lose excess weight, frame your decision in terms of a major lifestyle change for your overall HEALTH.  This is key because working towards a larger, somewhat general goal such as “being healthy” frees you from having to get into XX size or running XX miles to be satisfied.  Personally, I find that it is easier to stick with healthy habits when I think about how I want to live a long, disease-free life, have healthy children, and be energetic in my daily activities.  Vanity is a motivator, that’s for sure – but it’s also transient. 

 

Create Social Support:  This is one of the primary reasons the healthy living blog community is so strong – when you have a support network of like-minded individuals who uplift and encourage you, it’s easy to stay committed to your lifestyle change.  Outside of the online world, tell your significant other, friends, coworkers, etc. what you are doing and why.  Ask for support and encouragement.  Even if you find one supportive friend, that’s enough.

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React to Backslides Appropriately:  One of the primary reasons I used to yo-yo is that I reacted poorly to backslides.  If I had a crazy party weekend with my girlfriends, I would feel like I had “blown it” and would eat junk food for the rest of the week.  Thinking about your journey in terms of overall health makes it easier to avoid this problem – what impact does two nights of beer and pizza REALLY have on your overall lifestyle?  Not much.  Each meal or day is an opportunity to make healthier choices.  Reacting with guilt or shame is counterproductive, so free yourself from the cycle.

 

Drop the “All or Nothing Attitude:”  Similarly, it is so important that we drop the perfectionist attitude that so many women and men are prone to adopting.  Healthy living is not about being perfect, so give yourself permission to believe that “something is better than nothing.”  Because it truly is!

 

Avoid Sliding Back to Your Set Point:  I really believe that we all have a healthy living ‘set point’ we kind of slide back to if we get lazy about our motivation levels.  I think this set point is probably determined by a mix of personality, genetics, lifestyle, attitude, and social support.   You know what I mean – if you have a crazy two weeks at work, you might notice that you start snacking on more candy bars and drop your workouts from high intensity to a casual stroll – or skip them entirely.  One way we can avoid sliding back into this set point is to constantly challenge ourselves and mix up our workouts, meals, and mental exercises.  Try new workout classes, sign up for races, buy a bike, go meatless for a month or learn to cook Thai food, read a book on personal growth, or do something nice for someone else.  Keep the journey interesting!

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How did you get (and stay) motivated?

{ 117 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs July 1, 2010, 9:14 am

    Great post! I especially like the ‘drop the all or nothing’ one :)
    I find that picturing where I want to be reaaally helps. Like, I reguarly picture how I’ll be after I’ve finished my marathon in October, and it spurs me on if I’m running and it’s a bit tough! Things like that really help :)

    Reply
  • Chelsey July 1, 2010, 9:16 am

    I go through periods where I really really dislike being healthy (moreso working out than eating well), so sometimes it’s a struggle. Personally, I am grateful that exercise is just part of my day now. When it wasn’t a part of my routine yet, I would motivate myself with special rewards or tell myself “I know you really don’t feel like it, but how about just 15 minutes?” Usually after I was there, it would seem silly to just exercise for 15 minutes and would end up doing it all!

    Reply
  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing July 1, 2010, 9:17 am

    Those are great tips!! I stay motivated by remembering we only have this one body. It’s a gift. We have to take care of it. If we feed it good foods, treat it with kindness, do what we can to love it and care for it.. it will reward us.

    Reply
  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) July 1, 2010, 9:19 am

    I get realllly down about keeping motivated sometimes when it comes to working out, and other times, exercising feels like it’s a giant chore. I’ve just got to remember that it’s not – it really is something I enjoy. I love the endorphins from it, I love the feeling I get from doing the best I can, and I love being able to do new things, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. Usually if I really don’t want to exercise, I’ll stop and think about if I’m actually tired or if I’m just being lazy. It’s usually the latter. :P
    I also keep a journal of my eats and workouts. It keeps me motivated seeing how hard I’ve worked.

    Reply
  • Angela July 1, 2010, 9:22 am

    Wow, this post is so well though out. I don’t have a problem getting motivated, its staying motivated that’s an issue. Your points about backslides and set point really resonate with me. I react pretty poorly to backslides – I’ve definitely gotten better recently, but I definitely have the tendency to think “I blew so what’s the point?”

    I’ve never even considered a “set point” but it makes sense. If I don’t have something that I’m especially working towards I tend to slip into this lazier sense of health.

    Thanks for this, I know I’ll definitely keep these things in mind when I’m losing my mojo :)

    Reply
  • Jessica @ How Sweet July 1, 2010, 9:22 am

    My husband and I luckily have a great system to keep each other motivated. We still have days where we feel lazy, but it really helps to have a partner who loves to work out!

    Reply
  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing July 1, 2010, 9:25 am

    I do races to stay motivated to work out. Still working on the food part, though.

    Reply
  • Lauren July 1, 2010, 9:26 am

    Wonderful post!

    Reply
  • Dana July 1, 2010, 9:30 am

    Hm..How do I stay motivated to being healthy? I just remember the benefits of being healthy. I realize I only have one body and one chance to treat it right. I’ve already put my body through so much it’s now time to treat it with respect and nourishment! GREAT post!

    Dana xo
    http://happinessiswithin.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  • allison @ livingoneday July 1, 2010, 9:32 am

    i really liked the part about backsliding. i am a wee bit OCD, so i always liked to start thing on a monday. if on tuesday i ate a bagel with cream cheese, i felt like the rest of my week was blown and id wait til the next monday. this went on for YEARS before i finally realized that i was just procrastinating. now i still have those tendencies a bit, but i try everyday to think, “tomorrow is a new day.” it helps!!! and love the bfast ps!

    Reply
  • Astrid July 1, 2010, 9:36 am

    I am such a black and white person (well, I used to be), so thank you for pointing out that a healthy lifestyle isn’t all or nothing. Keep going for your eating and fitness goals and allow yourself breaks and treats, because that is blanace, after all! My boyfriend has this problem. He will exercise every day for about a week and then he will stop. He makes up so many excuses (weather, tired, busy), but you can’t get mad at him, because he has been eating breakfast every day, which is a huge improvement for him!

    Reply
  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) July 1, 2010, 9:38 am

    I keep myself motivated by constantly mixing things up. I used to have a set pattern which made it easier for me not to stray from routine. But that gets old and boring! I like new challenges and new ways of exercising to stay fit, healthy, and happy.

    Great tips, by the way! :D

    Reply
  • brandi July 1, 2010, 9:40 am

    Great tips!

    I definitely think getting rid of the “all or nothing” mentality is HUGE. That’s one I really struggled with for a few years, and it kept me stuck in the same place for a long time.

    Reply
  • Ilana July 1, 2010, 9:43 am

    I agree so much, three months to make a habit a real behavior. Six months ago I was deep in the throes of some of the worst depressive states I’ve ever been in, in my life, and I finally just couldn’t take it anymore – I WANTED to change. I WANTED to be healthy, which is something I’d never wanted in my life. The “all or nothing” attitude, I think, used to be my downfall and is a rough point for a lot of other people – It was easy to feel like “Well I’m not getting better over night so I may as well give up and give in,” but suddenly four months down that road, when something REALLY BAD happened that would have normally sent me sliding down the slippery slope back into bed for a week straight and back into the hands of my old favorite destructive behaviors, I realized instead I was just functioning, normally. Going through my day, and even though things weren’t great *I* was better, which was such a landmark revelation to me I didn’t care what else was going on. Every day is definitely a chance to start over, every day is definitely a chance to go a little bit father. When I feel myself getting dark again, I ask myself what’s going on. Sometimes, it’s okay to let a little bit of the darkness in – life isn’t perfect and I think it’s even MORE dangerous to ignore your painful emotions than to deal with them when they’re fresh so you understand what’s going on with yourself, why you’re hurting, and then you can move on satisfied that you understand and have the beast under control instead of bottling things up to explode later on.

    Sometimes I look back to literally just six months ago and I cannot believe that was me, that I am the same person at all, that this is even the same body I share with that hurting and lonely girl. But it was me. I had to go through that to get to where I am now, and I am wholly satisfied.

    Reply
    • June July 6, 2010, 12:20 pm

      Oh, Ilana, I so understand! This went to my heart; you are right–you have to keep on with the healthy behvior and the healthy outlook, believing the dark clouds do pass. And they really do, believe me. A good friend, even if you don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, is great medicine, too. But by keeping up your new better behavior and habits you become your own best friend instead of your worst enemy. Then friendship with others becomes even more meaningful.

      Reply
  • Jess @ Jessica is Getting Fit July 1, 2010, 9:43 am

    I think for me it’s been losing weight this month. I’ve lost 8 lbs without really doing much other than watching calories. I want to keep that up because I feel better about myself when I’m at a healthier weight. I’m still trying to figure out my tipping point so I appreciate entries like this! :D

    Reply
  • Kelly July 1, 2010, 9:43 am

    Love this post! :) I’ve found the biggest motivation to staying healthy, is how good eating right and exercising makes you feel! It feels good to make the right choices, but it’s also nice to have a frozen pizza night once a week and drink some beer to celebrate a softball win! :)

    Reply
  • Jenny July 1, 2010, 9:44 am

    Losing an all or nothing mindset is crucial- health is about balance. It’s important to take days off exercise too!

    Reply
  • Gwen July 1, 2010, 9:48 am

    I started reading these tips thinking “Oh, GOOD! Caitlin is going to tell me how to do this!” But when I read them I realized – I already am. I already do! Sometimes it is hard to give up that perfect mentality and all-or nothing attitutde and I FORGET that I am living a PRETTY heatlhty life, esp compared to five years ago. Making this realization and seeing how far I’ve come, even if I’m not yet where I want to stick my flag and claim victory, I am a success. These tips are sooo helpful and are a real reminder of how far I’ve come in my life! Enjoy PA! <3

    Reply
  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health July 1, 2010, 9:53 am

    Good Advice!
    As a person who has dipped in the highs and lows most of her life, I understand all of what you are saying.
    One thing that I am focusing on lately is to enjoy the healthy life- to really enjoy that healthy feeling. I also love trying all the amazing foods out there that are good for you and actually taste quite amazing.
    I think one key thing you said which people would really examine is to drop the all or nothing attitude. It is easy to say but it something that should be sought after. I know it is a thing I can struggle with sometimes. I remind myself that life is about living and indulgences are okay in moderation. :-)

    Reply
  • Jo @ Steamed Broccoli July 1, 2010, 9:54 am

    I love this post. Staying motivated is the hardest part but it’s so worth it in the end. I sent this to my sister who really needs the motivation right now (so do I). Thank you for writing this.

    Reply
  • Marissa July 1, 2010, 9:56 am

    I tried to make a dippy egg this morning! But the yolk broke… so sad. :] I stay motivated… by telling myself I have to! At this point, there really is no other choice.

    Reply
  • Christina July 1, 2010, 9:58 am

    Excellent post. I’m learning a lot of these lessons myself through Intuitive Eating. I’d highly recommend the book for anyone with the problems you’ve highlighted here (living in black and white/the ‘I blew it’ mentality/having to be perfect/etc.)

    Reply
  • sarah July 1, 2010, 10:00 am

    Believe it or not I had a classic seeing a picture of myself moment and not liking the person I had become. It wasn’t just the looks but more the fact I was so lethargic and I could not keep up with my growing toddler! The best way for me to stay motivated was to recognize the small victories such as making better choices and notice how much more energy I have. I also loved being out and active with my son and knew that I wanted him to grow up to love being active as well. I am currently pregnant with number two and am already looking forward to more intense workouts and how much better I am going to feel afterwards this time around.

    Reply
  • Annie@stronghealthyfit July 1, 2010, 10:10 am

    Awesome post! I stay motivated by staying positive, and only comparing my health to my own past health (and fitness), no one else’s.

    Reply
  • lisasfoods July 1, 2010, 10:14 am

    I need to have something to work towards, like a race. For a long time I’ve wanted to be able to run for at least two miles, so I worked towards my first 5k for about a year. I just ran it a little over a week ago, and loved running in a race, and it held me accountable for training. Now I’m hoping to run another race again.

    Reply
  • Heather (Heather's Dish) July 1, 2010, 10:14 am

    i love the “drop the all or nothing attitude” part…that’s something that i really had to struggle to overcome, but my motivation has been higher (so has productivity) ever since then!

    Reply
  • Rachel July 1, 2010, 10:21 am

    I joined Weight Watchers July 3rd, 2007 (wow I can not believe it has been three years in 2 days!!!). I found it so interesting that I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as it was within my point range, but that if I wanted to feel FULL, I had to switch to more wholesome foods.

    The weight dropped like mad (40 pounds gone!) and I was hooked. I also really amped up my workouts and that was a big boost as well.

    Getting healthy is awesome. I felt great about how I looked and working out gave me such an endorphine rush that was unmatched in anything else. I was so proud of myself.

    Towards the end of my journey with Weight Watchers I started to really struggle (and still do) with all of the guilt that goes along with not being perfect, or putting weight back on that I worked so hard to lose. I’ve maintained the bulk of the loss, and have to accept that my weight from here on out WILL flucuate, and that is OKAY. Nowadays, I’ve stopped doing Weight Watchers and am focusing on being healthy and happy. I started to run this year which is something I NEVER thought I could do, and I’m running my FIFTH race on Sunday. I can’t believe it! I also gave became a vegetarian! I never realized that not eating meat made me feel so much better morally. The thought of eating thinking, feeling animals now really has a powerful emotional effect on me.

    This lifestyle is so rewarding in so many different ways (physically, mentally, spiritually, my relationships with other people and the new friends I’ve made along with the incredible blogging community), and THAT keeps me motivated.

    After three years, there’s no other option for me! This stuff is for LIFE and I plan on sticking to it until the day I die!!!

    Reply
  • Katharine July 1, 2010, 10:23 am

    LOVE this post. And it’s just what I need right now. I’ve definitely fallen back to my “set point” which is just plain lazy. Staying motivated is the hardest part for me – I’m good for a couple weeks and then go back to my old habits. I’ll be bookmarking this post to reference when I see myself slacking! Thank you! :)

    Reply
  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly July 1, 2010, 10:23 am

    Lots of great tips! I really like the drop the all or nothing attitude! That is so important!!!!!

    Reply
  • Shellybean July 1, 2010, 10:25 am

    One thing that makes it really easy for me to keep eating well is that I feel like utter crap when I don’t. My stomach hurts, I bloat up like nobodies business, my energy levels plummet and I can’t wait to get back on the veggie train. (Note, this isn’t after like one meal, but I had a 2 week stretch recently where during week 1 my dad was in the hospital and I was carting my mom all around town and had no time to exercise or cook and basically lived on pizza, and week two involved a long work trip and all of meals were eaten out- I felt horrible and my stomach hurt after every meal!)
    It’s easy to be healthy when it means feeling great instead of feeling awful.

    Reply
  • Julia @ Brit Bride July 1, 2010, 10:27 am

    Fabulous post – I am motivated by my wedding at the moment, but also by living a more healthful life. Its fab when you realise that you are on that journey!!

    Julia
    http://www.britbride.com

    Reply
  • Mish@EatingJourney July 1, 2010, 10:34 am

    ditch the damn scale—or at least your mental attachment to it.
    ditch DIET
    ditch sitting on your ass
    ditch processed crap
    ditch making excuses

    It’s a lifestyle..not a destination

    Reply
  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) July 1, 2010, 10:36 am

    Love the post!!! I think I have been in the healthy mindset for long enough that I will ALWAYS now be super aware of it and the affects of actions on my health, but I still have problems, like all or nothing (depriving and then when I feel fine because I went for a long run or something, totally gorging myself… neither is good) and also backslides. I went on vacation this week and was pretty healthy, but still indulged a lot more than normal. But for the weekend, I figured that I would be “starting fresh” on Monday, so I ate a ton of crap that was not even exciting–and I think that is where the problem really came from. It is so true that one meal does not do much, it just is a moderation thing!

    Reply
  • Dorry July 1, 2010, 10:46 am

    I have to say that the healthy living blogger community is so positive and supportive which definitely keeps me motivated. I think it is incredibly unique in today’s world to have an outpouring of support from people you’ve never met…but have so much in common with. I love it!

    Reply
  • Jen July 1, 2010, 10:46 am

    Thanks for the reminder; it really does take work! Yesterday I meant to get up at 5 to work out. I accidentally snoozed until 5:30 and thought “Well forget, I’ve already ruined it,” and slept the next half hour as well. This morning, I accidentally snoozed until 5:30 again and started to just reset the alarm for 6, but I resisted. I told myself that “Something is better than nothing” and I needed to get on track, so got up and did the elliptical. Baby steps, right? Thanks again for the motivation!

    Reply
  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman July 1, 2010, 10:47 am

    I think the idea of not beating yourself up if you fail is huge. Moving on from a backslide is the best way to stay on track.

    Reply
  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness July 1, 2010, 10:47 am

    I really like that you know yourself and made it a lighter breakfast because you know there will be snackage in the car… it’s so important to be able to plan well for trips!

    Reply
  • ActiveEggplant July 1, 2010, 10:58 am

    You’re SO right when you say to dump the “all or nothing” attitude. Every little bit counts if you ask me!

    Reply
  • Cynthia (It All Changes) July 1, 2010, 10:58 am

    Once I realized this is my life and I need to be able to adjust to different situations like big meals and injuries and stuff.

    Instead of beating myself up I just get back at it. It is so important that this isn’t a diet and exercise plan but just part of who I am. I am the healthy girl.

    Reply
  • Camille July 1, 2010, 11:00 am

    I really like this post. I used to be the same way about just letting myself backslide after 1 misstep but now I know that I wont gain weight after 1 cookie, but after 15, maybe… probably… likely.

    Reply
  • *Andrea* July 1, 2010, 11:05 am

    i loved and appreciated this post! it definitely resonated with me. truly believing is 99% i think. as well as goals for overall health and wellness rather than fitting into a dress or a certain size, etc.

    did you see Live Life, Eat Right’s post on you today??? so true :)

    Reply
  • Marie July 1, 2010, 11:16 am

    What motivated me to even begin to work out was a girl I knew but didn’t really like. She lost quite a bit of weight and I thought “if she can do it than so can I.” And so I started working out and eating better and have been now for about 8 years. I lost weight and feel great (she has since gained all her weight plus some back). I guess now what movitates me is just knowing how crappy I feel if I don’t workout and eat healthy.

    Reply
  • Cassie @ Tasteful Tales July 1, 2010, 11:23 am

    The “All or Nothing” attitude is something I have always struggled with. I am a perfectionist in all that I do so it comes without saying that I am the same way when it comes to exercise and diet. It was a year ago that I decided it is not worth torturing myself.

    And if I am being honest it was food blogs like yours that made me realize, I am human!! And my approach to diet and exercise is just not the right way. Seeing you as a healthy role model who sometimes skips a work out or eats dessert really helps other women realize that being healthy is a way of life that takes time to adapt. And that it doesn’t mean being perfect 100% of the time.

    Now I can say that I am all about the 85/15 rule. I am healthy and active 85% of the time, and that is ok! And the other 15% of the time I enjoy what I want, and that is ok too! I have been living this way for a full year and couldn’t be happier. I even got enough confidence in my way of life now to start my own blog.

    Thank you

    Reply
  • Lauren @ Lauren Loves Good Food July 1, 2010, 11:24 am

    I don’t know where I’d be without the healthy living blog community. It’s hard to read so many blogs written by positive female role models and NOT be motivated! I especially like your point about reacting to backslides appropriately. I used to think if I overate at one meal I was done for so I might as well overeat for the rest of the day, but now I’ve realized that each meal is a chance to start fresh and I feel so much better when I make the choice to eat healthy at that meal! Thanks for being an inspiration, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Katheryn July 1, 2010, 11:26 am

    Great post. Good reminders for us all.

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  • Wei-Wei July 1, 2010, 11:29 am

    I think just positive feedback and just knowing that people respond is a great motivator. I love seeing people’s reactions to what I do, and it drives me to go further. Maybe using other people’s reactions as motivation isn’t so good since people’s opinions are objective and subject to change, and it would be best to do things for myself, but I think motivation usually is inspired and rarely comes from within. That’s what I think!

    Oh, and thank you for the all-or-nothing reminder. I constantly am still thinking in that way :(

    Wei-Wei

    Reply
  • Amanda @ Amanda On Foot July 1, 2010, 11:31 am

    Great post, Caitlin.

    Lately, I’ve been having trouble deciding if I want to invest more time into road cycling to see if I could eventually learn to love it. I think that’s something everyone struggles with when starting a new sport. I lack motivation to finish hard climbs all the time, which makes me wonder if this lack of motivation originates from laziness or just a genuine disliking of the sport. Time will tell, I suppose.

    ~Amanda

    Reply
  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances July 1, 2010, 11:32 am

    So many great thoughts, Caitlin! I really love your attitude when it comes to overall health and backsliding. What keeps me on track is thinking about exercise and eating well as something awesome I’m doing for myself that I am fortunate to be able to do. It is a privilege to be able to exercise and to have healthy foods available to eat. When I think about it that way, making the right choices becomes a lot easier. :) Thanks for another thought-provoking post!

    Reply
  • Nicci@NiftyEats July 1, 2010, 11:32 am

    I stay motivated by trying new fitness classes at the rec center and with support from family and friends.

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  • Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) July 1, 2010, 11:38 am

    Thanks so much for the post! These are such wonderful tips, I’m definitely going to bookmark this post. My husband and I are very much the all or nothing type which is why I decided to take control and start blogging to keep track of our eating.

    Reply
  • Kelly July 1, 2010, 11:49 am

    Love this post! My motivation comes from signing up for races, because I know if I slack off on exercise I won’t be able to accomplish my goal

    Reply
  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter July 1, 2010, 11:50 am

    Sometimes movies make me feel motivated. I watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants last nigh with my good friend and seeing Bridget (Blake Lively) kick some major bootay on her run on the beach inspired me to get out there.

    Reply
  • Amber K @ sparkpeople July 1, 2010, 11:50 am

    I definitely think staying involved in the online healthy community has helped me. Obviously I am a huge fan of SparkPeople as it helped me lose over 90 pounds! I can’t even imagine where I would be on my journey if I didn’t have the support over there.

    And just recently I’ve started reading more blogs and just reading about what is possible inspires me.

    Reply
  • Liz July 1, 2010, 11:54 am

    Those are great tips! I think it’s always better to focus on the act of getting healthy instead of wanting to lose a certain number of pounds. Being chained to the scale is not always a good thing because the scale is not always reliable. If you strength train you could be slimming down but not losing weight.

    This is sort of a random comment on your last post but that vegan pasta looked DELICIOUS. Just shows that vegan food doesn’t have to taste or look like cardboard :-D

    Reply
  • Amanda July 1, 2010, 11:56 am

    Hey Caitlin!

    I have a coffee question for you: I know you said you put regular creamer in your coffee but do you use sugar as well?
    I recently switched from artificial sweetner to real sugar (I need to have sweet in my coffee!) but I am afraid that I am adding too many calories now..any suggestions?
    I feel like it’s better to use the real thing but I also don’t want to gain weight!
    PS Love your blog..it is truly inspiring and motivating to read everyday!

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    • Naomi July 2, 2010, 4:25 am

      Hey Amanda what about stevia? That’s all natural but no calories, may be worth checking it out.

      Reply
  • Scargosun July 1, 2010, 11:59 am

    I am still working on it on account of the guilt I still feel if I eat something that is not the greatest or miss a run. At least I know at this point feeling that way is counterproductive. It’s a process. I think that people can vary when it comes to “how long before I just do it without thinking about it”. For me, I have to think about it every day but in a positive way. The social aspect is big too although I get most of it on-line.

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  • Tina July 1, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Those are such great tips! I think what helps me motivated is to do things I really enjoy and love. If I try to force myself into an exercise I don’t like or to eat something because I “should” then it is harder to stick to healthier choices.

    Reply
  • Desirae July 1, 2010, 12:14 pm

    What a perfectly timed post!! I have had a cah-razy 2 weeks at work. And instead of pigging out, I am forgetting to eat! And then I had a girlfriend weekend, and ruined my pristine eating habits! I’m burned out and missed an entire week of working out.. and I can feel myself slipping! I’m back to my normal eating, but my hours at work are still long.

    Just the post i needed! Thanks for the motivation! My Jillian Michaels DVD’s came in NMTZ, Boost Metabolism and 30 Day Shred. Now if only I can get my work days to 10 hours per day instead of 12….I can finally squeeze in some Jillian!

    Thank! ;)

    Reply
  • Lexie July 1, 2010, 12:16 pm

    Great post Caitlin! I try to act fast when I notice myself sliding back. I’ve had to relose about 10 pounds of the original weight I lost because I let myself slide back that far.

    Reply
  • Kellie July 1, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Like so many others, the all or nothing mentality is hardest for me. I seem to feel like I have to work out super hard all the time. I need to learn to let my body rest too. Balance is so difficult.

    Reply
  • Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales July 1, 2010, 12:27 pm

    This is a great post and really timely for me as I am currently trying to give up some bad habits. I definately need to work on the last three points you made as I can be hard on myself if I think I’m not doing well. However, I try and tell myself that the habits I am adopting now are for life and that a little deviation from the path won’t hurt as long as I get back on it at the next opportunity.

    Reply
  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston July 1, 2010, 12:34 pm

    I really loved your post, but what I really want to comment on is your use of the word “dippy egg.” Whenever I say dippy egg, especially in restaurants, most people look at me like I’m nuts!! Then I correctly myself to the term other people know as “overeasy” and they understand.

    Anyway, just felt like sharing that I think it’s fabulous that you say “dippy eggs” as well!

    Reply
  • emily July 1, 2010, 12:37 pm

    I really NEEDED this post. I am such an all or nothing person. If I feel like things are not perfect (like ridiculously perfect, I usually get up at 9 but I think that my “start” day I’ll magically get up at 6 and go for a run) then I just throw in the towel. And it’s even worse because since I feel like “the next day is going to be it” I feel like I have to make the most of my “last day” and eat a bunch of crap.

    Reply
  • Nikka @ neekadeek July 1, 2010, 12:50 pm

    You always seem to post the perfect things right when I need to hear them! It reminds me that this world/life has my ‘back’ and isn’t working against but wants me be to be the best/healthiest/happiest I can be! So thanks for relaying that message from the Universe to me! (did I just write that??) HAHA!:P

    Reply
  • Candice July 1, 2010, 12:55 pm

    The blogging community has definitely helped me to become a healthy person. I love being able to call myself that. For a long time I felt that I couldn’t call myself a healthy person if I ate pizza one night a week or indulged too much in chips and salsa (my love:) at a Mexican food restaurant. The support and encouragement from healthy living blogs brought me to the point where I realize it isn’t all or nothing.

    I appreciate you pointing out that it isn’t about perfection. I still struggle sometimes with feeling inferior if I land anywhere short of perfection in any area of my life…but I’ve gotten so much better!

    Also, the more I experimented with new healthy foods, the more fun being healthy became. I can’t imagine my life any other way now! Even though many of my family and friends think I’m crazy:)

    Reply
  • Heather July 1, 2010, 12:55 pm

    What a great, helpful post! I agree whole-heartedly with losing the “all or nothing” attitude. I used to have an all or nothing approach when trying to perfect a healthy lifestyle, and it backfired on me every time. It’s only when I took the balance approach that I’ve found success in mastering a healthy lifestyle. I’m 2 months in, and I’m confident I can get to that 90 day mark!

    Reply
  • Michelle July 1, 2010, 12:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I am running a high school girls’ fitness group this month and this fits in to what I want to teach them… half of them just want to lose weight! So sad!

    I had to work really hard at it, but dropping the all-or-nothing attitude was huge for me. If I missed a day, I would think I blew my whole workout and go back to non-healthy ways. Also, blog/Twitter land is a huge help for me! :)

    Reply
  • Brie @ Brie Fit July 1, 2010, 1:11 pm

    Honestly, I think motivation is overrated. I think many non-exercisers are afraid to start exercising because they think they have to have these crazy, unattainable goals, like running a marathon or looking perfect in a bikini. Everyone’s always harping on “getting pumped to go the the gym” and “staying on the wagon” and such.

    For me…at least in the beginning, I just looked at exercise as another damn thing I had to do every day to be a responsible adult. I am not thrilled to scoop the litter box every day, but I do it because the positive (my house not smelling like cat pee) outweighs the negative (one minute of having to scoop). Exercise is the same thing–I don’t have to LOVE doing it, but the positive (being healthy and at a happy weight) outweighs the negative (the suckitude of dragging my arse to the gym for a little while a few times a week). It’s just another part of being a responsible adult, and I don’t have to be thrilled about it or super driven all the time–I just have to do it!

    Reply
  • Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries July 1, 2010, 1:13 pm

    I am officially making a “dippy egg” asap!
    And I constantly need to tell myself to forget the “all or nothing” concept because it is just not true. Thank you for the much needed reminder!

    Reply
  • Lauren @ Running Examiner July 1, 2010, 1:13 pm

    Great post, and oh-so-true!

    Like you, I stay motivated by focusing on the desired result of my efforts: a long, happy, healthy life, where I can travel, be mobile, exude confidence and strength, and have the physical and mental stamina to raise a child (or children).

    To paraphrase your(very apt) words, vanity is a motivating force–but it’s not the be-all, end-all. The immediate pleasure of shattering a personal record, mastering a new yoga pose, etc., combined with the knowledge that I’m paving the way for a very healthy future, keeps me motivated. It has for over 10 years, and I don’t expect it to change any time soon. :)

    Reply
  • Ashley (whole-ier) July 1, 2010, 1:39 pm

    Great post! I stay motivated by having my vision board in my bathroom. It is a daily reminder of what I want and where I want to be in my life.

    Reply
  • Hedda July 1, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Thank you for a very important post, Caitlin.
    Your attitude towards life is incredible, and never stops to amaze me.

    My motivation came gradually, as my mind became more and more aware of the fact that the way I lived slowly killed me.
    My malnourished brain was to suppressed to disorded thoughts to realize, but when being forced to eat more and better food the desire to live was activated in me. Looking back at old pictures scare me, and make me wonder how it got so out of control.
    The experience of eating more and noticing the incredible effect it has on my body and brain is a motivator good enough to continue, and it is the only way to get back to life again. As you, I also sometimes ask myself what type of future I want. I want to have a strong body, a healthy spirit, I want to be a person living, not barely breathing.

    Keep it up, champion :)

    Reply
  • Katherine July 1, 2010, 1:49 pm

    the say makes it so much harder. I can get mini-motivation going but it’s hard to maintain that high. It’s nice to have a race or goal to strive for or look forward to achieving/completing

    post on goal-setting? I would love to get inspiration for setting some of my own.

    Reply
  • Katherine July 1, 2010, 1:56 pm

    This is a great post! “Something is better than nothing” is a great attitude for a healthy lifestyle and life in general.

    Reply
  • elaine! July 1, 2010, 1:58 pm

    I think another key is not overdoing it… always leave yourself wanting more. I’m training for my first half marathon, and I’m running a conservative 3 days a week, with 3 days of cross training and a yoga day. If I ran 5 or 6 days a week, I’d be so sick of it. But doing it 3 days a week, I totally look forward to my runs! And sometimes I sneak in sprints or something on my cross training days just for fun. Yes, for fun. I never thought I’d say that about running, lol.

    Reply
  • ari July 1, 2010, 2:15 pm

    the biggest motivator for me is how i feel. being in argentina with inadequate healthful foods has made my diet go down the drain, and i feel it in my whole body. my stomach is constantly upset, i have no energy, i’ve lost muscle. i can’t wait to get home and be healthy again!

    Reply
  • Beth July 1, 2010, 2:21 pm

    This is very much like something I read the other day. Growth takes Intention and Attention. Short and sweet. Beth

    Reply
  • Ellen@FIrednFabulous July 1, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I can so relate to this. For me, working out is no problem. I grew up doing competitive sports at a young age (swimming and soccer), so exercise is just kind of a part of my routine. I feel WEIRD when I don’t work it. One thing that has helped keep me motivated to push myself harder (bc sometimes I get lazy and just kinda hang out on the elliptical) is to take boot camp classes at my gym and do more challenging moves like man makers and squat jumps. It makes me feel like an athlete again, and I love that :)

    Food is my issue. I’ve been on a rollercoaster most my life, but I am happy to report that I have gotten MUCH better. I drink a lot less (which cuts back on late night binges and skipping workouts) and I’m not as hard on myself. I finally have learned that one meal or day isn’t going to RUIN me. It’s usually not WHAT I eat that is the issue, but WHY I’m eating. For instance, I had a big veggie loaded salad for lunch, a soft serve cone as a treat, and now I just ate a small bag of Pop Chips. The calories aren’t the issue, but I didn’t even WANT the chips…I just ate them because they were there. If I can just learn to listen to myself better, I think that will really help!

    Reply
  • Paige (Running Around Normal) July 1, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Great tips, Caitlin. It really is key to make it a part of your lifestyle – a part of who you are! :)

    Reply
  • Chinye July 1, 2010, 2:50 pm

    It’s all about having a goal!

    Reply
  • Carla July 1, 2010, 3:20 pm

    This is a very timely post for me! I think for me one of the most important things is to avoid all or nothing thinking, or trying to be perfect. I am looking at it as a new lifestyle and something that I want to maintain for the rest of my life!

    Reply
  • Katie July 1, 2010, 3:21 pm

    is this YOUR Maggie?! I was googling recipes for our boxers birthday cake and saw this!

    http://www.dog-treat-recipe-exchange.com/dog_birthday_cake_recipes.html

    Reply
    • caitlin July 2, 2010, 2:46 pm

      Yes it is my Maggie! She’s famous!

      Reply
  • Katie July 1, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Caitlin! So Good! About 4 months ago, I decided it was time to buckle down and shed the college weight that I had accumalated over the years and kept on. As a health promotion major, I was feeling pretty guilty about my not-so-healthy lifestyle. Anyways…a group of about 6 of us, decided to start this journey together, only problem we were spread all over the map (WA, FL, NH, BC canada, and atlantic canada). I started a private blog for us to keep each other accountable and encouraged. IT HAS WORKED FANTASTIC!! I have stayed motivated and have lost about 18lbs. so far woo hoo!! How cool that though we are thousands of miles apart we can help each other adopt healthier habits! Thanks for your tips =)

    Reply
  • Kelly July 1, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Great post!! Thanks, I needed that! :O)

    Reply
  • Kristin July 1, 2010, 3:31 pm

    reading your post made me motivated to step away from my desk and hit the gym during lunch. and now i feel so much better!

    Reply
  • Joanne July 1, 2010, 3:58 pm

    I have to have a goal. If there is no goal, there is no motivation. It’s a series of little goals that escalate toward the ultimate goal. Each victory drives me towards the next. If there is a set back, I see it as a challenge and move forward in a different way.
    Guess it boils down to 1. having that type of personality and 2. never giving up.

    I think to break a habit, it is supppose to take 21 days and I thought it would be the same to get into a habit? Maybe it just depends on the person.

    Reply
  • Jess July 1, 2010, 5:00 pm

    Thanks, Caitlin, for a great post! I think that what’s important about keeping motivated is to find a level of moderation. Often times, with the all or nothing thinking, after a “bad” day/week, we decide that we are going to be better than we have ever been before. This is exciting and we think that this is going to be THE time. No wonder we’re always so disappointed when we slip again because maintaining what we perceive to be “perfect” is impossible. Finding a way to be healthy while indulging every once in a while is so important! Thanks again for all your wisdom – you are truly an inspiration!

    Reply
  • Danielle July 1, 2010, 5:17 pm

    YOU ROCK Caitlin.

    Thanks for this a million times over!

    Reply
  • Kristie July 1, 2010, 5:45 pm

    What a great post and great list. You’ve hit it all nail on the head. I’m definitely pretty relaxed but still consistently diligent with my healthy lifestyle. I’m no purist in healthy eating but I try to load in the veggies and fruit as much as I can and still enjoy the good stuff on the regular. And I always try to challenge myself and switch it up with workouts to keep it interesting, keep boredom at bay, and stay motivated by getting excited about different routines. I get bored easily so switching things up often and allowing myself freedom and budge room with workouts AND with eating is pretty key to being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and not go insane! haha

    Reply
  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) July 1, 2010, 6:13 pm

    What a great post Caitlin!!! And some wonderful tips :)

    Reply
  • Jamie July 1, 2010, 6:31 pm

    Best post *ever* on any health blog I read. Your tips make so much sense. Thanks Caitlin :)

    Reply
  • Sarah July 1, 2010, 6:40 pm

    Fantastic post, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Emily July 1, 2010, 7:33 pm

    This post is so motivating!! Thank you for that! :)

    Reply
  • Kelly July 1, 2010, 7:36 pm

    Totally agree with this post- especially I needed a higher motivation then “looking good” :)

    Reply
  • Michal July 1, 2010, 7:39 pm

    I really liked this post. These are exactly the mental attitude changes that have helped me become a truly healthy person, instead of an unhealthy person approaching health as a “job.” I’m still working out what exactly motivates me to stay on track…healthy eating is a habit by now, but the regular fitness is newer. I think it’s how much I enjoy it! I know how much I love yoga, so if I do fall out of the loop, I can remind myself how good I’ll feel once I get back there.

    Reply
  • Mindy July 1, 2010, 7:46 pm

    Oh, this was exactly what I needed to read today! Thanks Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Gracie (complicated day) July 1, 2010, 8:31 pm

    Live somewhere hot, where you’ll have to show lots of skin all the time. That’ll keep ya motivated!

    Reply
  • Kelli July 1, 2010, 9:40 pm

    Great post! This is just what I needed today. I am an all or nothing gal and it isn’t working for me. You are an inspiration! I love your blog.

    Reply
  • Vicky July 2, 2010, 4:59 am

    Such a great post! Thank you for all of the inspiration!!! Have fun in PA!

    Reply
  • John July 2, 2010, 6:36 am

    Nice post! Except for the all or nothing that’s basically what I’m doing to get healthy again.

    Reply
  • Fal April 16, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I’m so glad I stumbled on this post at exactly the right moment; I’ve been battling with unhealthy habits and yo-yo dieting for a few years now, binge eating and not working out for certain periods of time and then eating nothing but celery and carrots others to “make up” for it. It’s gone to points of extremes, and actually ended up becoming quite dangerous for my health overall. It’s felt like an uphill battle and a never-ending struggle that I try (and fail) to conquer every day. What you’ve written in this post is very substantial and I applaud your outlook on the topic; I plan on putting this advice into action in my own life.

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 16, 2011, 5:58 pm

      I really wish you the best!

      Reply
  • Lee @ in the pink of condition June 21, 2011, 5:49 pm

    I totally agree with the running XX miles point that you made. I recently started running for time and not for distance, and it has definitely helped motivate me more than telling myself I have to run a certain # of miles, because this isn’t always obtainable on a certain day. Great post!

    Reply

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