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Healthy Eating
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A thought provoking question

What is the best way to increase motivation to change and adopt healthier habits?

I noticed these threads are full of interesting nutrition discussions on what to do, what not to do, what things to look out for. However, how do we motivate ourselves to change? what are some tips that will help motivate an individual. There are many factors that reduce motivation levels i.e. mental health issues, physical health issues, financial issues, social issues. Taking this into consideration, how can one motivate them self? For instance If an individual is dealing with depression and anxiety and yet still wants to lose weight, how do they become motivated?

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If someone had a simple answer to that question they would be a very rich person! I think motivation has to be something that has a large significance to the individual. Although in the past “wanting to be healthy” was important to me it was too abstract an idea and it would work until life’s stresses would push it down my list of priorities. It’s taken a diagnosis of prediabetes to make me commit consistently which is a shame but it’s working now as it remains very high on my priority list.

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I would have to say that it's something you must really want to do, Stick close to the site for support and advice, read success stories and self help books, finding the right frame of mind is key. Be determined to say no to the wrong food without giving it any thought . You've decided to do this so do it and never question your decisions and if tempted to stray play it through about how you would feel afterwards. It's sometimes hard but so so worth it. Xx

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Something I think is important is to know your limits. I have been through years of taking on too much too quickly, and quitting entirely. Exercise is a great example of this: I'd start with 2 days a week, jump to 5 days a week, then find myself so exhausted I quit everything for months (by exercise I mean gym/fitness classes, I don't count walking). I've recognised now that my limit is 5 vigorous exercise sessions a fortnight.

I think the same counts for diet. A strict diet is a tough thing to dive into, especially if you don't enjoy any aspect of it. Recognizing what is achievable for you (trying a new vegetable each month, gradually increasing veg intake over a few months), that helps make it an achievable lifestyle.

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I completely agree with this philosophy of only doing what your body can handle. I have noticed this myself and I am glad you brought this up, thank you.

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Yep coppers right. I think finding the right diet for you is very important. I love my lchf, I don't get crazy cravings and can eat when hungry xx

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HI iloveorang

Welcome to the Healthy eating forum. You have posed a thought-provoking question, and I will certainly think about it. I think that Motivation is a very individual thing, and different things motivate different people, depending on circumstances and so many factors. Challenges can also come into play from the factors you listed, and therefore it can often be good to seek support to negotiate things.

I hope you'll have a look around the forum and see what interests you - we have various Topics and Pinned posts.

Wishing you a great week - and it's nearly the weekend.

Zest :-)

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Thanks for the question. I find my daily practise of yoga helps me a lot. It helps me think about honouring my body with every mouthful, despite all of the faults in my body.

I think it is also useful to really get a grip on what motivates us to choose to put one food or another in our mouths from a psychological perspective. There are basic desires that the logical brain cannot easily override. We have been bred genetically to ensure our bodies have enough fat, but here we are in a society that can gorge on fat for very little cost meal after snack after meal That fat is often dressed up in very pretty clothes and so the mind finds itself totally unable to resist.

Add to this the social pressure. For example my wife came home yesterday with a "treat" for me - a vegan chocolate brownie. Should I chuck it in the bin and put our marriage in peril? Should I eat it quietly with no thanks. Should I devoir it and risk encouraging future treats?

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Tell it like it is brother :)

How to respond to social pressure from well meaning (I assume) friends and family to disrupt ones diet is huge issue.

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Inadvertently "killing with kindness" . . . 😯 😂 🙃

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Don’t know if this’ll help at all, andyswarbs/ benwl:

. . . • Jotting down a brief list 📝 of ‘safe’ treats you CAN eat (& at bottom of list noting treats you can’t eat), &

. . . • Laminating that list (with a piece of wide clear tape, for example)

[The laminating imbues list with ✨ magical ✨ properties . .. 😂 🤣 🙃 . . . (Sorry . . sorry . . 🤦‍♀️ )]

Lovingly 👩‍❤️‍👩💑👨‍❤️‍👨 handing them this type of ‘gentle reminder’ 📝 that you took time to create (& laminate) demonstrates the importance of the information. And, patiently 😌 🙏 re-re-re-explaining it can help them eventually come to understand ✨🧠💡✨ the significance of our need to strictly adhere to our special/ unique diets.

[For example, my beloved can now order the occasional take-out (or dine-in) meal for me without killing me!! 🤣 🤪 🙃 . . . Significant progress from a person who initially pooh poohed the notion of oils having any adverse effect on our body until witnessing the disturbing (nay shocking 😱 ) effect 1st hand! 😳 😯 . . . Progress!! 😃 👍 ]

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. . . "The road to hell 🔥 is paved with good intentions 😇 "

. . . . . . . (usually by our loving, kind-hearted nearest & dearest). 🤯 🤭 😬

.

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That's a really good idea, putting together a list of acceptable 'treats'. (I have a laminator too :) )

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Remembering the definition of a treat has helped me, too: something unusual, out of the ordinary, special. Anything we have every day or every couple of days can't be classed as a 'treat' in that sense so I found it better just to see it as food and decide which foods were the best option

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Good point. I've read people suggest we avoid the word 'treat' alltogether as it can promote the idea that healthy food doesn't taste so nice, so we need to reward ourselves with unhealthy but nice treats.

But for people who want to 'treat' me to nice food I'm going to suggest blueberries or mangoes :)

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That's what I think. When we start making our meals really good and tasty and enjoyable, trying new recipes and ingredients, starting to develop a more normal relationship with food, I think we'll be on a better footing :)

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Now, that's a great idea, benwl! :-)

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That really is a good idea, if only for myself. It sort of doubles as what could be a shopping list too. I have a plan from a dietician but it’s basic where I end up eating the same everyday. This just might inspire me and help jog the other half’s mind when he’s shopping too😁. Thank you

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Thanks for the share, yes for sure social pressures often cause people to deviate. It also does not help that we live in an obesogenic environment where everywhere you go, you are exposed to unhealthy fast-food restaurants. You enter a hospital and the smell of coffee and donuts immediately sways you in the direction of Tim Hortons, you drive back from work and see McDonalds drive thru, you walk around the grocery store and find the plethora of isles with all the man made foods.

It's almost a challenge to be healthy when everywhere you go, unhealthy foods are screaming "eat me". Thoughts?

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There's no doubt you are right with those obesogenic environment conditions.

That said, it is hard to speak-out against the current healthy eating status quo without facing censorship.

For example, jacket potatoes cause massive glycaemic-loads phcuk.org/wp-content/upload... , yet are promoted as healthy. They demand excess stimulation of insulin that leads to de novo lipogenesis, the formation of visceral fat, dyslipidaemia, and hormonal miscommunication.

Guidelines still focus on the reduction of saturated fat, even though surveys continually confirm that nationally we only eat 1% above what is currently recommended. What logical sense does it make to keep flogging the same horse when so near to the finish line? It's not only a waste of time, it's a dangerous distraction.

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You might be interested in watching "That Sugar Film" if you can find it online somewhere. It's a really interesting look at the "bliss point" - the perfect combination of fat sugar and salt, to cause a freak out in our brains, and trigger us to overeat/keep going back on for more.

What was interesting, is that the guy looked at how we actually would never eat that much fat, or sugar, or salt on their own, but mix them together...

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That Sugar Film, 2014. [~1 1/2 hours]:

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That Sugar Film - Official Trailer [~2 minutes]:

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‘That Sugar Film’ YouTube videos: m.youtube.com/channel/UC3sn...

"That Sugar Film" google search 🔎 : google.com/search?as_q=%22T...

.

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Thanks for sharing, o hadn't managed to find a free version for a while now :)

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(Very welcome, Cooper27. 🙏 😌 ) I know what you mean. Sometimes you find it, link to it, then it goes poof 💨 disappears (leaving behind a blank, rectangular screen) 🤷‍♂️ 🤦‍♀️ . . . A mystery . . . 🤷‍♀️ 🤔 💭

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Sorry if I have misunderstood this, but I think Andy’s point was that humans have survived as a species over millennia by having the ability to eat in a caloric excess when food was readily available so we had back up fat stores when food was scarce. The recent constant availability in the developed world of highly palatable highly calorific food has happened at a much much faster rate than the human race can evolve to adapt to it. The trait that ensured our survival is now our enemy, and so many people have to make conscious choices to avoid our evolutionary instincts. I don’t see that as unkind, it’s not a moral judgement but an understanding of where we are in the process of evolution.

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The longer the obesity epidemic goes on, the more acceptable this explanation will appear. However, people are still able to maintain their weight and feel fully satiated. It's only our society's way of eating that makes the theory about over-eating seem plausible.

The international guidelines are led by the USDA, that promotes the sale of crops.

We're encouraged to eat more and more low-calorie foods, despite this being exactly opposite direction to our evolution i.e. our guts are designed to eat less vegetation than other great apes, yet our huge brains demand lots more energy.

Obesity rose dramatically over the last century, so what changed in the way we eat? Macronutrient-wise, the USA went from getting 42% of their energy from fat, to 34%. All of the nutrition surveys demonstrate that the developed world ate more carbohydrate. The latest rumblings are to change the focus to food groups (artificially compiled again of course) to enable a 'balanced' diet. The 'unintended consequences' would be to hide those inconvenient truths.

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Well the post I replied to has been deleted - seems I misunderstood it’s meaning and the poster was probably joking/bantering, so my post has now gone off topic of the original thread. I’m completely with you on the carbs/fat debate and the dreadful advice we were all given in the second half of the last century based on flawed research, and I agree it is possible to eat comfortably to satiation if you eat satiating foods which don’t cause a glucose/insulin rollercoaster . I’m currently losing weight (intentionally) by eating lower carb and I haven’t eaten anything “low fat” for a few years now. I agree governments have got dietary advice wrong and are being very slow to change. I still think part of the obesity problem is that there is too much junk food (high carb, high sugar, high calorie, poor quality fats, cooked in rancid re-used oils, low in fibre and micronutrients) easily available and affordable and that also happened for the first time during the second half of the last century. I’m not defending the current government healthy eating guidelines, but they don’t advise daily gorging on takeaways, however some people still do it because they can afford it, it’s easy, and the food is hyper palatable to them. I’d love to see the official guidelines change to something similar to Dr Unwin or the Public Health Collaboration, but I think that would only solve part of the problem, people still have to make choices from the vast array of what is available and I suspect the people it would benefit most are people who are already conscious of trying to eat healthily but following flawed advice. I don’t know what the answer to the junk food problem is, it would take something of the magnitude of the public smoking bans and raised taxes to make it financially less appealing and less socially acceptable.

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I agree entirely, except in relation to taxes. I remember when they were on about a fat tax. How dreadful would that have been? If people make poor choices, we've kind of lost already, and naively I'm not looking for ways to make a profit out of their detriment.

A lot of the problems we have in the areas of high deprivation are complicated by their paradigm. They don't relate to what we see in the news. People aren't living longer here, and often they wouldn't want to because old age means chronic ill-health in their eyes :-(

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No a fat tax would be horrible, I wouldn’t want to profit from people’s unhealthy choices either, it’s a very complex issue trying to find ways to make unhealthy choices less appealing ☹️

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One idea I had was for a charity to give people the opportunity of an all-inclusive healthy (see ICS-NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme) holiday. The experience they enjoy they can, in an ideal world, take back to the community.

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Nice idea!

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When I talk about the insatiable desire for fat it is directed at our ancestors. When I grew up we were able to afford meat twice a week. Soon you may be able to get salmon and chips at your local chip shop.

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If they fried in beef fat/lard, avoid batter, and the GL for mushy peas with chips was kept below 20, I'd go for that occasionally :-)

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iloveorang

>>What is the best way to increase motivation to change and adopt healthier habits?<<

Stay on this forum, read the experiences of other participants, interact/participate in the discussions/solutions etc.

Soon you will realise you got motivated without any extra effort. That is the power of community.

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller

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That's exactly right, Praveen55. That saying by Helen Keller is true. If you try to do something on your own, you may or may not be able to get it all done. If you have a team and friends helping you, then you know everything can get done for sure. :-)

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A thought-provoking question indeed, iloveorang ( 👁 ♥️ 🍊 ) ! . . . 😃

To my mind 🧠 , step 1️⃣ is to look at a (the?) major influence in our physical & mental well-being — what we out in our mouth 👄 several times a day. . . . 🤔💭

Maybe an avenue to increasing motivation is to decrease mental (low moods/ depression, anxiety, …) & physical (excess weight, pain, illness/ disease, … ) issues? 🤔

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Look at 👀 what we eat.

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Dr. David Perlmutter ( drperlmutter.com/focus-area... ) may be a jumping off point:

. . . • Decrease inflammatory process by increasing anti-inflammatory foods (& reducing/ eliminating inflammatory foods): drperlmutter.com/diet-and-d...

. . . • Restore healthy gut bacteria by ingesting pre-biotic & probiotic foods: drperlmutter.com/probiotics... , drperlmutter.com/benefits-o...

. . . • Increase exposure to sunshine (Vitamin D/ hormone): drperlmutter.com/sunshine-a...

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Once we start feeling better (physically/ mentally), THEN our motivation naturally (automatically) increases. 👍👍 We get into a ‘positive feedback loop’ 🔄 🔃 ♻️ / groove.

1st step though, is to look at 👀 WHAT we put in our mouth 👄 .

Best wishes, 👁 ♥️ 🍊 ! . . . . . .☺️ 🙏 🍀 🌺 🌞

.

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I have been T1 diabetic 53 years this June. If I had the choice & was T2. What do you think I would do ?

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Thanks for the amazing input everyone. I was actually just interested in hearing peoples perspectives to my question. I myself try to take care of myself however I know a few people who live with mental health conditions that find it difficult to find motivation. I found all your posts very thought provoking and interesting to read, thank you for that.

It's interesting to me that when an individual gets diagnosed with a chronic condition, they immediately take steps to prevent it from getting worse or steps to even fix the condition. I often wonder how important it is to start from a young age and to prevent a health issue from occurring rather than to fix it. Prevention is better than cure always. What are your thoughts on how to encourage individuals to prevent themselves from adopting unhealthy habits in the first place? What would you have told your younger self?

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Earlier self 👶 🧒 🧑 🧓 :

"Go Whole Food Plant Based 🌿 . . . . Never look 🔙 👀 , never doubt 🤔 🤷‍♂️ . . . . (Pay no mind to ‘dissuaders, naysayers, FUDsters, ‘n fear-mongers …) . . . You’ll decrease the probability of acquiring (turning on genes 🧬 👖 ) illness that’ll begin a lifetime cascade ⛲️ of crippling/ debilitating pain, suffering, etc. & avoid spending a lifetime ⏳⌛️ trying to reverse ↩️ illness. . . . (Oh, by the way, you’ll meet wonderful people 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 (& the right person) along the way & will be very happy!! 😳 😂 ☺️ ). . . Now, go make a delicious green smooth 🍹 & drink to good health! . . . l'chaim!! . . . 🥂✨" . . . ☺️ 🙏 🍀 🌺 🌞

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The two things I'd wish I'd done earlier in my life is to go vegan, and cook almost all my meals myself from scratch.

As for encouraging individuals, your point earlier about obesogenic environments is spot on. The problem is largely structural and expecting individuals to solve it on their own, in such an environment, is close to victim blaming.

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I have to disagree from my own point of view and how I am /have been and I can’t be on my own with this. When I was told to change my intake of everything that passed my lips I didn’t do it immediately, I buried my head in the sand. Yes I know that’s wrong, idiotic and many other things but that is what I did, I just couldn’t get my head around it. For me I just had to somehow get in the right frame of mind and it was an accumulation of a lot of the things all mentioned on here. The biggest I think was eating something and then thinking ‘well was it as good as you thought’ the answer was usually ‘no’ but it’s the thoughts before you eat it ‘ooh I’d love that, ooh my taste buds are tingling, ooh last time I had that was a great day’.

I would love to have told my younger self but would I have changed, I honestly don’t know. Just to add, I ate my first burger when I was 23 (my husband introduced me to Burger King) my first ever take away, Chinese. I was brought up as a meat 3 veg and fruit salad or rice pudding for afters child. 😁

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Wouldn't it best to be open with what your post was really about?

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I would go with Michael Pollan’s quote: “Don’t eat anything that your great grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food”.

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I dunno, my great gran lived to be 105 years old, and died in the 90s, so there's not a lot to be ruled out by those standards ;)

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Yes, it is a complete oversimplification 😊 but I guess the message is to try to avoid highly processed foods. My granddad lived to be a lively 95, a strict meat and potatoes man, who never gave up his roll-ups.

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Nature motivates us to eat. The foods we enjoy from nature point us in the right direction, driving us to avoid excess and deficiency.

It's when man started to exploit those tastes, by genetically selecting the sweetest fruits for instance, that things started to go astray. We can't eat grains in their natural form; they have to be processed to make them digestible, and so could never have been a major part of our natural diet. The overabundance of sugar, extracted from their natural dilution has tipped the balance nice.org.uk/guidance/ng28/r...

I would tell my younger self to listen to the ICS-NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to make informed decisions.

Keep to the RNI of protein.

Have sufficient, low Gi carbohydrate to replenish what the body uses; halve the RDA

Make up the balance with natural fat, the ideal ratio being that of our body-fat honed through evolution.

Eat only two or three meals per day with no snacks in between, to enable insulin levels to return to baseline.

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I've suggested this earlier, but also think you might like "that sugar film" if you can find it anywhere online and haven't seen it. It's a bit of a "supersize me" style documentary that covers a lot of the stuff in your post :)

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I've got it, ta.

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Have you seen Fat Head, the Movie, In Search of the Perfect Human Diet, or The Big Fat Fix?

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No, but I'll definitely save them for my next night with the TV to myself! Thanks :)

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Maybe by helping someone else in need you can help yourself? You may appreciate yourself more and realise what you have. Also it is good to get outside more especially in woods or a local park shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yo...

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