7 of America’s Leading Health and Fitness Experts Reveal Their Greatest Advice on How to Get and Stay Motivated to Eat Healthy
According to the American Heart Association…
“Coronary heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the US, killing over 360,000 people a year.”
“Approximately every 40 seconds, an American will have a heart attack.”
“Heart Disease remains to be the No. 1 cause of death in the US.”
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This is so alarming!
The good news is most cases of heart disease can be prevented and reversed by eating healthy.
I know. It’s easier said than done.
You start today and then quit tomorrow. Plan to start tomorrow, but tomorrow becomes next week, month or year.
So I asked some of the country’s most respected health and wellness personalities to share their BEST advice on how to get and stay motivated to eat healthy.
- The four-letter word that will keep you going
- Why “DIETS” suck and how to get over the negative connotation about dieting
- Why finding a community is important
- How to prepare nutritious food with just one push of a button
- How simple tweaks and adjustments with the food you’re already familiar with will dramatically transform your health
- How to make healthy eating not overwhelming
- The joy of eating healthy
Julie Parker Collins
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
When I read your question I had a zillion immediate responses. So I spent some time reflecting on what keeps me motivated and it is one word – hope.
You see, several years ago I lost my beloved step-father to cancer. Upon being given the diagnosis he was willing to instantly change his diet from the worst version of SAD to all an organic, plant-based one. He decided to do radiation and was delayed for seven weeks due to the high volume of patients wanting radiation in his town. During those seven weeks we transformed my parents kitchen, pantry and refrigerator. Out went Kraft American cheese slices and pickled bologna and in came the kale! I was also able to get him cannabis capsules which a doctor friend of mine said had some interesting study results in shrinking tumors….this was before it was legalized so we told no-one. Because so much time elapsed between the initial scan and the start of radiation they had to re-scan him. The tumor had shrunk! He was elated and committed even more to our self-induced protocol. Then he was assigned a new doctor who, during their first ever meeting, informed him that he had three months to live… He stopped his new-found eating habits, stopped the cannabis, submitted to the radiation, took up to 19 pills a day which caused horrendous side-effects and compromised his internal organs so often that eventually they shut down altogether. He did indeed die in three months. He reverted back to his former habits because she was a doctor (a.k.a. GOD) and he believed her prognosis. He had lost his hope.
Eight months after losing him I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My step-father’s results, while adhering to a clean, organic, plant-based diet actually gave me hope. I understood that to live I needed to keep my hope intact. So I took myself off to an integrative clinic and immersed myself in learning and I have never stopped since. There is so much to know! But the essence of health (to me) is hope. Hope means you’ll continue to do the all of the good stuff because you have enough hope to want to live. To participate in the lives of those you love and who love and need you. Hope means you vibrate at a higher frequency and attract healthier people and inspire hope in others. If you never give up hope, you never quit.
Certified Fitness Professional
Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition
Natural Health Advocate
Without further ado, here’s why Diets Suck and how to get over the negative connotation about dieting:
It seems to me that everyone is on a “diet”. When I hear someone say, “I’m on a diet” or “I’m going on a diet”, or “I’m starting a diet on Monday”, it’s not usually said with a smile.
Let’s face it… no one likes to be on a “diet” because dieting DOES suck, but it doesn’t have to, and I’m going to tell you how to make dieting not suck.
Before finding the solution to how to make dieting not suck, let’s start off with the question why does dieting suck?
1. First of all, the word “diet” is negative. Have you ever heard anyone talk about the word “diet” with a smile on their face?? No… I didn’t think so. The words that are rolling around in your subconscious mind when you think about the word “diet” or say the word “diet” is starvation, deprivation, punishment. There is no positive connection to that word consciously or subconsciously.
2. Second, when we think of “diet food”, we automatically think we’re doomed to eating food that is tasteless, bland, boring and blah. And when you think those thoughts about “diet food”, once again, your subconscious mind begins to tell you that you’re punishing yourself.
3. Third, dieting sucks simply because most diets are not sustainable, they tend to be too calorically restrictive, which in turn will slow down your metabolism, which you definitely don’t want and most diets can be unhealthy as they severely restrict your food intake and choices, setting you up for a number of nutrient deficiencies that may set you up for long-term health problems.
4. Most fad diets can be hard to follow and become more trouble than their worth. Seriously… who wants to be keeping track of points, or counting calories, keeping track of carbs, fat and protein? I certainly don’t and I know you don’t want to either.
After all is said and done, in the end, you end up cheating on the diet and throwing in the towel.
Now that we’ve established some of the reasons WHY dieting sucks, here’s some ways to make it suck a whole lot less or not suck at all.
1. Do NOT go on a diet. Instead of telling yourself, your friends and family that you’re on a “diet” just say that you are improving your nutrition by making better food choices. That has a much more positive impact on your conscious and subconscious mind and those around you.
2. “Diet Food” usually tastes like cardboard because in most cases, you are eating it out of a cardboard box. Ditch the “diet food in a cardboard box”. Eating REAL foods that don’t come in a cardboard box is not only healthier for you, but is much more flavorful.
You can be eating mouth-watering meals that are quick and easy to prepare such as Asian Turkey Burgers, High Protein Blueberry Pancakes, Ginger-Soy Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Ginger Broccoli, Fajitas and much more.
3. Diets are NOT sustainable. They are very temporary and short term which is why most diets fail you. Making better nutritional choices is sustainable and not only are you eating more foods and not severely restricting your food intake and choices, you’re not left feeling hungry and deprived. I call that a win-win.
4. When you’re eating real, whole foods that nourish your body, it takes the complication and “work” out of keeping track of calories. I know you’ve heard the saying that a calorie is a calorie but I disagree with that. It’s not just a matter of how many calories you’re eating, it what kind of calories you’re eating. Think of it this way…. is a 100 calorie snack pack of cookies the same 100 calories as a grilled chicken breast with broccoli and a sweet potato?
I can honestly tell you that I have never kept track of my caloric intake, how many grams of fats, carbs or protein I consume a day. And…. more importantly…. I don’t DIET. I EAT real foods that nourish my body.
If you want to know how I not only banished my belly fat, and kept it off for life without following a “diet”, check out my 12 week fat loss transformation program TransformationOver40.com.
Registered Dietitian, Certified in Sports Dietetics
Find your community. Surround yourself with people that understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and will support you in your journey. You may even inspire others to become healthy in the process of pursuing your own health. Find people who will cheer you on and give you the tools you need to be successful.
New York Times Best Selling Cookbook Author
Founder of the A Year of Slow Cooking website
Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking
365 Slow Cooker Recipes
My one piece of advice is to cook at home, as much as possible. Cooking from scratch sounds daunting, but that’s why I love my slow cookers so much! There truly is no easier way to cook wholesome, homemade meals at home than to fill it up with good-for-you food, push a button, and walk away!
Joseph “Joe” Piscatella
President of Institute for Fitness and Health
The Road to a Healthy Heart Runs Through the Kitchen
My advice to your question is to always prepare healthy meals that look and taste great. No one wants to eat tasteless food no matter how healthy it is. I have found that making familiar foods healthy is often more successful than eating someone else’s recipes. That’s because the data show that Americans prepare 12 recipes 80% of the time. So, simply identify your family’s 12 recipes, make small adjustments to make them healthy, and enjoy tasty, familiar foods your family already likes.
If you want to get and stay motivated to eat healthy, my biggest advice is to start slowly. Choose one thing to change in your diet and then start there. Maybe you want to try intermittent fasting, where you eat for 8-10 hours and then fast for 14-16 hour. Or you may want to swap your standard breakfast for a smoothie made of frozen fruit, coconut milk, and bone broth protein. But whatever you choose to do, do that one thing ONLY. It’s when we overwhelm ourselves by trying to change multiple things at once that we give up and go back to our unhealthy ways.
Dr. Rachel Sterry
Owner/Director at FitMamaPdx.com
Keep it simple and never lose your joy – Food can act as medicine and as a part of many celebrations, so don’t put such rigid boundaries on your diet that you feel deprived. I know that I feel better when I eat balanced meals at regular intervals, but there are times that indulgence is just what is needed!
Now, over to you! What’s your biggest challenge or frustration when it comes to eating healthy? Go ahead and let us know in the comments section below.
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