When you first start on a health kick, the first few weeks are normally great. But then results can slow and motivation decreases.... Here are some strategies to help keep you on track.

When you first start on a health kick, the first few weeks are normally great, in terms of staying on track and feeling motivated. However, after a few weeks, this motivation can lag; especially if results have slowed after the initial push. This can be related to eating healthier, avoiding sugar, regular exercise, reducing alcohol consumption – or whatever you’re aiming to achieve!  

So what strategies can you apply to get you re-motivated?

Re-assess your initial plan and goals

When you’re all fired up to get started, you often feel like you can reach your goal in no time and often results happen very quickly at first and then slow to a steady beat. So, after a few weeks, it might be time to reassess and aim for smaller goals. So, if you want to lose 15kgs then break it down into 5kgs mini-goals. If you’ve wanted to exercise 4 times a week but are struggling and beating yourself up about being too busy to do so, how about committing to 2 x workouts at the gym and then do some exercises at home for another 2 times that week? There are lots of free Apps you can download from 30 day Ab Challenge to Squat challenge to Stretching, all easy to do in the comfort of your home and fun too! Your goals should be inspiring but not so big that they seem impossible and you’re unable to fit them into your lifestyle.

Stressing about your initial goal can de-motivate you, so take this time to re-adjust, re-assess and then get right back on track. If your goal isn’t too far away then maybe taking a few moments to consider it again may be all you need to recharge your motivation.

Give yourself something tangible to motivate you

 This can be entirely up to you – it could be as simple as hanging a particular item of clothing on your wardrobe door that you want to fit into, so you see it every morning. Or write a list of WHY you want to reach your goal – increased fitness, more energy for time with family, for a specific event etc. read these reasons every day if need be. Even going on Pinterest and finding motivational mantras and images can be an easy way of pushing yourself again. Telling those you love about the reasons why you’re following this healthier lifestyle may encourage them to join you, or at least give you the backing you need. 

Deal with negative thinking

Everyone has ‘off’ days and you might have times when you feel overwhelmed by the whole process. If you’re having one of these days then talk to a friend or read some motivational stories.

If you do give in to negative thinking then just write this off and begin again, on your health journey, from the next day. The key to success is dealing with those days and getting right back on track – rather than letting it spiral out of control.

Take responsibility

You’re responsible for your own actions so don’t blame others if things do go entirely to plan. It’s too easy to do this and you’ll be more likely to lose sight of your goal if you can take this easy road. If someone brings cakes or biscuits into the office, don’t blame them for the fact that you eat some. If you do succumb then take responsibility, enjoy every bite and then move on and get back on track. Similarly, if family responsibilities mean you have to skip a workout, don’t get disillusioned and skip the workouts for the week. Life will get in the way, the key is looking at your healthier lifestyle in the long-term not just for the weeks or months it takes to get to your goal.

Have fun with it

Rather than thinking it’s a drag and the fun is sucked out of life, look at your healthy lifestyle in a new light. You shouldn’t be eating ‘diety’ rabbit food on Atkins anyway, so explore some delicious low carb recipes and have fun with food. Even if you don’t enjoy making new recipes, try experimenting with different cuts of meat, or trying vegetables you’ve never had before. You never know you might find some new favourites and it can stop you craving your old high carb foods – such as replacing potato chips with celeriac chips.

Similarly with workouts, if you don’t enjoy running then don’t start a 5k training programme, go to Zumba or trampoline workout classes instead! If you feel intimidated at the gym then invest in a few sets of weights and a Swiss ball and design your own at-home workout.

Posted by Linda O'Byrne
Atkins Nutritionist