5 Tips for Getting Motivated to Exercise and Eat Well
Whether you’re a health nut, fitness fanatic, or thinking about starting healthier habits or an exercise routine, motivation is key. As a health conscious person and an avid exerciser myself, I even have days where I have to motivate and pump myself up to eat healthy, or get my butt to the gym, yoga studio, or on a hike. We all know eating well and regular physical activity can help balance your physical and mental health, and your body may feel oh-so-good after releasing those endorphins from a good workout, but sometimes we need a little extra inspiration to get us going. We asked Neil, the friendly Manager and Personal Trainer from our onsite gym here at Medtronic Diabetes, how he encourages his clients to get and stay motivated. Here’s what he had to say.
A few weeks ago, I was accompanying my wife (sitting quietly in a corner) at a clothing swap with some of her friends. I overheard one of the single mothers with diabetes talking to her friends about wanting to start healthier habits, but wasn’t sure where to start. She was working full time and giving as much time to her child as she could. Her friends had plenty of suggestions, but it seemed to be overwhelming her. Wanting to help her out, I sat down with her and gave her these 5 tips for adopting healthy habits:
1. Keep a Food Journal
Begin tracking what you eat by writing it down, or logging it online or in a food journal app. By seeing what you eat and drink every day, you’ll get a better picture of your diet, and can begin to cut out certain types of food while adding healthier food options, such as more vegetables and fruits, to your meals. Reviewing your food journal can also help make you aware of patterns in your eating habits that you may have not noticed before. Over time, your food journal can help you plan out basic meals and snacks to create a more balanced diet.
2. Start Small
If you are just starting an exercise routine and a workout seems daunting, start out slowly by walking 20-30 minutes a day. You can break this up into two 15 minute sessions if it works better with your schedule, too. Don’t worry about the intensity or complexity of the workout, just get moving, even if it’s only once a week. This could be cardio at the gym, a yoga, spin, or kickboxing class, walk around the park, whatever you’d like. Gradually, you can increase your workout time, intensity, and frequency, and start to take on other forms of exercise you think you’d enjoy.
3. Get a Buddy
It is easy to skip a workout when no one is holding you accountable, but it is a lot tougher to do so when someone is counting on you to show up as their workout partner. Exercising with someone you enjoy being around allows you to feed off their energy. A buddy provides encouragement to keep you motivated and push yourself to do your very best. You can also exchange food journals with one another to give each other helpful meal tips and suggestions. There is great power in social connection when you share your health and nutrition goals with someone else.
4. Believe in Yourself
Telling yourself you can achieve something helps encourage you to get and stay motivated. Focus on what feels good to you, and don’t be too hard on yourself for not doing something you think you should be doing (I only worked out 20 minutes today). Remember, some exercise is better than none.
5. Set Small Goals
It is easier to attain behavior and lifestyle changes by doing things one step at a time. Set realistic and achievable goals that are attainable for your body and situation. Write down your goals, and once you achieve them, create a new one or build on that goal. When you achieve your goals, big or small, celebrate in a healthy way, continue to believe in yourself, and never give up. In the end, it’s the simple principles that make the difference and create a foundation for you to accomplish anything.
Of course, always be sure to coordinate closely with your healthcare team about your exercise program, and keep a close eye on your glucose levels by testing your BG frequently.
Editor’s Note: Want to learn more about diabetes and exercise? Check out these blogs: The Lowdown on managing Diabetes During Exercise, Tips for Exercising with Diabetes, My Go-To Insulin Pump Feature: Temp Basal, Life is a Journey, Not a Race – Vince Myers, and 10,982 Miles with Diabetes.
We’d love to hear how you stay motivated to exercise and eat well. Tell us in the comments below!