Motivation doesn’t just appear magically, alas. (I’ve tried waving a magic wand, but it doesn’t work.) Getting motivated to eat well and developing a healthy relationship with food will set you free from all those nutrition-related demons in your past. That inevitably means learning about nutrition, debunking myths and finding smart solutions, discovering new foods, cooking techniques and sources. How can you make pleasure your new default setting at mealtime, I hear you ask? Read on…
What does motivation mean?
Motivation and learning go hand in hand. Learning about yourself, and others, because motivation doesn’t only come from within. External circumstances can motivate you to take action or behave in a different way – for example, losing weight to please your partner. Intrinsic motivation is the best kind, because it flows from the delight we find in doing something – eating well – with no expectation of reward. You do it for yourself, simply because you love yourself and want to stay healthy and boost your self-confidence.
Why get motivated?
It should come as no surprise that motivation for healthy eating is strongly associated with healthy lifestyle habits. Obviously, the people who are most motivated to eat well have better food profiles, get more exercise and watch less TV than those whose motivation is a bit weaker. For example, people who are highly motivated to eat well tend to eat more fruit and vegetables than the population at large.
What influences motivation?
Social and demographic factors go a long way to explaining your motivation level. Researchers have observed that most men fall into the “not really motivated to eat well” category, while most women are more health-conscious and therefore more likely to make savvy decisions at the grocery store and understand the benefits of healthy eating.
Researchers also tell us that age is an important factor, and for once youth is not necessarily a good thing. As we get older we get more mature, and sometimes the premature appearance of health problems, often connected with a poor diet, can prove to be a real motivating factor. Compared to those in the 18-to-35 age group, people over 65 are six times more likely to be highly motivated to eat a healthy diet. There’s no escaping it, being single is associated with low motivation, while being in a couple motivates most people. Why would that be? Well, having someone you can count on, someone who’ll support you, and wanting to stay in shape (not to mention looking good for your partner) can explain the difference between people who are attached and those who are unattached. Our emotions also affect the way we eat in many different ways. Why you eat what you eat, choosing food that’s good for you, emotional eating, how well you chew your food, how long you linger at the table, how much you eat, and your metabolism and digestion can vary a great deal from one person to the next. Your eating profile and emotional responses are yours alone. Finally, paying attention to all the positive things around you can help raise self-esteem and… boost your motivation at the same time!
What it boils down to is this: to change your behaviour for the better, you need to change your attitudes and get motivated. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to develop strategies for balance. Balance your diet, balance your attitude.
Thanks to our collaborator
Nutritionist & Doctor in Nutrition, Hubert Cormier's mission is to demystify and democratize nutrition.Visit his website