One of the biggest challenges we often face when it comes to starting a new eating or training program is staying committed. Having the willpower and motivation needed to break away from bad habits while implementing healthier lifestyle changes can be tough at first, both physically and mentally. However, our ability to resist short-term temptations in order to achieve a long-term goal is a key component to making lasting changes, especially when it comes to eating behaviors.
The problem is that when we don’t see immediate results, we can lose the motivation to persevere, which often causes us to fall back into unhealthy habits. While the motivation to decide on a healthy lifestyle is an important first step, the real challenge is maintaining willpower and the long-term commitment to healthier choices.
F45 Nutritionist Kim Bowman has highlighted a few strategies below for boosting willpower and staying accountable to healthy habits. Following a meal plan based on functional nutrition instead of focusing solely on calorie restriction is a great way to gain awareness around the importance of food quality and meal timing. Additionally, setting daily challenges for yourself that benefit a specific long-term goal—while incorporating regular positive affirmation—can help build confidence and boost willpower.
Meal planning and mindful eating
Most diets are often unsustainable, as they rely too heavily on calorie or macronutrient restriction rather than on the importance of making small yet consistent changes to overall food quality. Functional nutrition, on the other hand, focuses on incorporating quality, nutrient-dense food and a mindful eating pattern.
The F45 Challenge Meal Plans (Mainstream, Vegan and Vegetarian) are budget-friendly and make it easy to stay on track and accountable to a healthy eating routine. These plans incorporate a number of tasty, healthy meals made with a balance of quality carbs (whole grains, veggies, fruit), healthy fats (avocados, fish, nuts and seeds) and lean proteins (turkey, chicken, grass-fed beef, beans, tofu, tempeh). From quick and easy breakfast options to pre- and post-workout snacks, following a weekly meal plan simplifies healthy eating and makes us more accountable to our daily food choices.
Set daily challenges
Stepping out of a comfort zone to form new, healthier habits on a consistent basis is never easy. In fact, when it comes to cleaning up our diet, breaking away from our favorite comfort foods can be extremely challenging, especially during times of stress and uncertainty. While sugary, salty, highly-processed snacks and sweets may provide temporary feelings of comfort, they don’t provide us with any real nutritional benefit.
One of the most effective ways to break away from comfort food cravings is through small changes from daily goal setting. For example, if your goal is fat loss, rather than cutting out all of your favorite comfort foods at once, set a daily goal to cut out late-night snacking and hold yourself to it every day. Once you’ve mastered this, you can add another habit to break. Setting small daily goals or personal challenges can be a great way to boost intrinsic motivation and willpower for sustainable progression towards a long-term goal.
Daily positive affirmation
Reflecting on daily or weekly personal accomplishments is a form of a positive affirmation and a great way to build confidence, boost motivation, and break out of comfort zones. It allows us to become more mindful of the current changes we’re making to avoid falling back into unhealthy habits. We all have days when we struggle more than others, however, consistency is rooted in our ability to stay focused on a long-term goal.
Positive reflection, either through journaling or speaking with a nutritionist or dietician about how we’re progressing through a program or meal plan, can be a great way to enhance willpower. Especially when it comes to adopting a healthier eating routine, it’s easy to get caught up in the details rather than reflecting on the positive progress that we’ve already achieved throughout the week. Reflecting on daily or weekly achievements is a great way to develop a more positive and motivated mindset to boost willpower.