I had heard all the reasons to eat healthier – and you have too! But I wasn’t motivated enough to make the change. I love hamburgers, fries, pizza, Mountain Dew, Oreos, and ice cream – and who doesn’t like Chick-Fil-A?!
But here are 4 things that finally motivated me to change my diet:
1. My Sister. Almost a year ago, I was visiting my family in the DC area. My oldest sister greeted me by poking me in the stomach and asking me when I was due. You’ve gotta love older sisters! I’ll never forget it – that’s for sure!
2. Focus and energy. Last year, I noticed that I occasionally struggled to focus on projects and maintain a consistent energy level throughout the workday. I experimented with taking walks, working out midday, stand-up desk – you name it. Nothing helped.
Then I came across the book, Train your Brain to Get Happy. So I read it. Well…I almost quit reading it after the first few chapters – It was the most scientific description of the brain and how it works that I had ever read. Looking back, I’m glad I kept reading.
The middle section of the book detailed thinking and focus exercises. Then, ironically, the last third of the book gave detailed instructions about diet. I’m like you – I questioned whether the diet thing really could improve my focus and energy.
You can read the detailed recommendations from the book and how I changed my eating and shopping habits in my post, Your Diet is Killing You.
After reading the book, I mentioned the diet-focus-energy concept to a friend who told me to let him know if it worked. So I decided to try it.
Well, it didn’t work for me. Several weeks later I was still struggling with focus and my energy level – BUT I was 7 pounds lighter! That’s when it got interesting…
3. Cardio workout. One morning I woke up with the urge to start running – I had never run more than a mile. That morning I ran 3 – cold turkey! I loved it. I ran 3 miles the next day. And the next – 5 days that week I ran 3 miles.
For several months, I ran 3 miles 3-4 times a week. Then it got cold outside – and since I’m a wimp, I got an elliptical. Now I work out on the elliptical 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes and do low intensity workouts at least 2 days a week.
You can read more about my cardio workut in my post, 4 Benefits of Running I Never Considered Before.
4. Sarah and Madison. This is what made it all work – and it’s the only way you will be able to change your diet and lose weight and keep it off. In the midst of experimenting with the diet and taking up running, I was evaluating my life and work priorities.
My wife and daughter are special to me – I love our time together. And I want to enjoy a long, healthy life with them. But I’m 7 years older than my wife – and 31 years older than my daughter. (We have a son on the way too! – I’ll be 39 years older than him.)
I realized that if I was going to maximize my time with my family, I needed to change my health habits. This made all the difference in the world.
So I don’t eat healthy to show off my six-pack – I’m pretty sure I only have a one-pack. My reason for working out is not to relieve stress and improve focus and energy – although it has helped more than the diet. Today, I am choosing a healthier lifestyle because my family is a top priority to me. And since this significant life change is attached to an outcome with lasting impact, I am significantly more likely to stick with it.
A nice bonus – in just over 12 months I lost more than 30 pounds and reached my doctor-recommended weight.
Question: Have you made significant changes to your diet? What made it work for you? Join the conversation in the comments.