Staying motivated on a diet is super important, especially a plant-based diet. Like many worthwhile things in life, adopting a whole-foods vegan lifestyle may have its challenges, often requiring major changes to familiar routines.
It takes intention to be food-conscious at every meal, change shopping habits, and make food from scratch. But most of all – to release longstanding habits such as eating on the go, late at night, to excess, and over-relying on highly-processed convenience foods.
We can also feel challenged socially as our dietary choices start to veer from those of our loved ones, coworkers, neighbors and friends. Read on to learn how to have plant-based motivation to stick to your diet.
It’s Not Easy Staying Motivated
Diet Motivation on a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet
A whole-foods, plant-based diet brings great benefits. This includes losing weight and sometimes reversal of serious conditions, but one thing is that it’s not always a quick fix.
Just as our motivation for New Year’s resolutions can ebb over time, so can our initial burst of plant-based diet motivation as the novelty wears off and the reality of our day-to-day commitment sinks in. And, when all is said and done, the long haul is what matters for achieving our health and fitness goals, no matter how ambitious or modest those goals may be.
With diet motivation in mind, here's 9 strategies to help you go, and STAY, the distance.
How to stay motivated on a diet
1. Get Your Motivation on: TED Talks
Need a shot of inspiration? There’s no quicker or easier way to reinvigorate your enthusiasm and passion for healthy eating than by watching dynamic and informed vegan speakers. Learn some tricks on how to be motivated to diet.
Here are ten dynamite TED talks to get you started, each one is 20 minutes or less. What are you waiting for?
2. Easy Does It Meal Planning
This can be a game-changer, particularly for diet motivation. It can help you save money with bulk purchasing and by not resorting to fast or convenience foods, which tend to be pricey. And with a foundation of well-planned, balanced meals and snacks, you keep your blood sugar regulated, which keeps you feeling your best and also helps to reduce binge eating.
Read my article, "Beginner's Guide to Easy Plant-Based Meal Planning," to discover how to take the stress and confusion out of meal preparation and stay on track. It's a great step to staying motivated to eat healthily. You can also sign up for my newsletter and receive my 8.5” x 11” weekly meal planning worksheet.
I usually fill out the worksheet over the weekend, after looking at the recipe categories and my favorite websites and cookbooks. I create my shopping list after I’ve selected my menu for the week. And then I’m all set!
3. Do the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart
The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart offered by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, based on research by Neal Barnard, MD, is a structured way of getting going on a healthy, plant-based diet or reigniting your existing commitment.
Sign up for free online to receive a daily motivational email with helpful tips and delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes complete with ready-made shopping lists and gluten-free options.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, give this a try for a much-needed boost – you’ve got nothing to lose.
4. Inspire Yourself with a Motivation Bowl
How to get motivated to diet? Salads are a delicious part of healthy plant-based eating. Having a special bowl that you enjoy using can help keep you motivated.
Each day fill it with beautiful, colorful fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Whether ceramic, wood, or some other material, it’s worth finding and investing in a bowl that you love to look at and use.
5. Create a Vision Board
A vision board represents your goals, dreams, and visions using images, text, and lightweight objects. Making one is a fun, one to two-hour creative project that can help you clarify your intentions along the way and how to keep motivated on a diet.
Click here to get started with step-by-step instructions to create your own vision board and how to stay motivated to diet.
6. Track Your Weight Loss
Who doesn’t love to look and feel better? If you’re trying to lose weight, tracking your weight on a daily basis and seeing evidence of your progress is a surefire way to stay motivated.
To help you do this, I’ve created a cute WEIGHT TRACKER that you can print out and keep on the fridge for tracking your progress. It's free and all you need to do is click on the blue image below and enter your email.
7. Make Willpower Work for You
It’s not your imagination – it really does take energy to change habits. Recent research tells us that willpower is a “finite resource,” meaning we have only so much of it to use on a given day. On a practical level, this means it’s essential to be clear about your priorities.
You might have enough willpower to fuel your whole foods, plant-based dietary exploration, but not enough to simultaneously start training for a marathon, launch an early-morning daily meditation practice, and commit to a tidier home.
The key here is to be mindful of embarking on too many new habits at once. Be clear about what matters most. If healthy eating is a priority, consider putting your other worthwhile but willpower-taxing goals aside until your new eating habits are well-established, and you're comfortable staying on a diet.
Changing habits is ultimately, as they say, an “inside job,” but you don’t have to do this alone. Here's a few things you can do, especially if you're asking how to get motivated to start a diet or keep yourself motivated.
- Join an online forum such as the Vegan Support Group.
- Get involved with a local meetup group or club - search for "plant-based diet support group near me."
- Get together with a few close friends or find another way to exchange support and encouragement with like-minded people with similar goals.
Human connection can often make the difference between success and struggle when the going gets rough. If you need additional help, seek out an eating coach or therapist.
There are many great tools available for helping yourself, below are a couple of favorites to get you going. If you already have self-care techniques that work well for you, be sure to apply those to your dietary goals.
- Journaling – Whether you do it regularly or just occasionally, putting your thoughts and feelings onto paper can help you process and integrate the changes you’re making. Be sure to start with a new notebook and use it for this purpose only.
- Affirmations – Identify any negative thoughts or beliefs that might be undermining your confidence and then turn these around, one by one, to their positive opposites. Say these at least twice daily, especially good times are first thing in the morning and when you go to bed at night. If the affirmations start losing juice, repeat the process and develop new ones.
Celebrate Your Success
Just remember that all work and no play make Jack or Jane a dull person! Pick an interval - it could be a week, a month, or 90 days, and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Acknowledge your effort and accomplishment and reward yourself with a special purchase, by going out to eat with a friend at a vegan restaurant, or in some other meaningful way.
And by “success,” we’re not talking about perfection, just honest effort - focus on what you HAVE done, not on what you haven’t.