Motivation: Take charge of your commitment to stay on your plant- based path
Note from Lou: Because a vegan diet can contain many processed food choices and still technically be called vegan, I refer to how I eat as plant based. It's a vegan diet without processed versions of the vegan food.
Motivation or stick-to-itiveness.
Becoming a plant eater is a huge change to not only your eating but to your lifestyle as well. Suddenly, you are having to think before you eat, having to shop differently, cook differently, and eat out differently. And, when you go to parties, or any events, you'll soon realize that the whole world revolves around food. From doughnuts in the break room at work, to appetizers offered at Happy Hour on the way home from work, you'll find few choices that are made to fit your new way of eating. At first, It doesn't bother you. You're trying something new and are just bursting with motivation .
This article is not specifically for those of you who are just starting out and ready to starve rather than take a bite of cheese. This article is for when that day comes when the honeymoon ends and you'll need to tap into some motivation deep within to stay the course.
When you're in need of a little extra motivation. Think about...
Remind yourself of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Just that reminder might be enough to boost your motivation to continue. Here are some of the many benefits...
Better glucose levels
Better cholesterol levels
Reversal or partial reversal of chronic illnesses
what to do
If just reciting the benefits of plant-based eating isn’t enough to recharge your motivation and you are like Humpty Dumpty teetering on the wall between plant-based eating and resuming eating animal products, read on. Here are a few ways to motivate yourself..
If you started plant-based eating for an event, such as to train for a marathon or to diet to lose weight for a wedding or reunion, stop thinking of it as only a solution to that event. Develop a new reason to eat plant-based before the end of your short-term reason. It is so much easier if you choose a long-term goal to motivate you, rather than an event with a short-term end date. Examples of long term goals are: to avoid long-term health problems, to feel great everyday, to have easy criteria for making food choices, and to feel more energy.
Re-align your thinking to put non-plant-based foods into the NO-EATING CATEGORY. For example, when you quit smoking, you promised yourself to resist smoking even when you have a driving urge for just one cigarette. Likewise, it is very helpful to categorize animal products into a non-eating category. It just might be enough of a deterrent.
Educate yourself. I have always found that knowledge builds motivation. The more you know about the benefits of food, the easier it will be to make choices.
Motivational decisions should not be made lightly. Once you have restructured your life and accepted plant-based changes, it is important to not jump back and forth between plant-based eating and eating animal products. Your motivation will be much stronger if you make it hard for yourself to bypass the consequences of reinstating any animal products into your diet.
A good boost to motivation is to find a person or people to accompany you on your journey. Pair up with a friend and share ups, downs, and ideas.
When establishing new eating habits, accept that you are in it for the long haul.
Try not to celebrate by calling a "free day" where you allow yourself to eat whatever you want. Your mind becomes confused by switching back and forth between old and new habits. And your mind also becomes confused by using food as a reward. You are working on food issues here; therefore, it is not helpful to use food as your reward.
Identify yourself as a vegan or plant eater, or whatever you want to call yourself. When you establish your identity around a label, it will be much easier to stick with it. For example, if you call yourself a dancer, you are more apt to live the lifestyle of a dancer. Likewise, if you call yourself a plant eater, you are more apt to live the life of a plant eater.
Take charge. Don't think, I can't eat that rather think I don't want to eat that. This difference will change the conversation from you being deprived to you being in charge.
Success breeds success. Remind yourself that staying motivated for today, makes it easier to be motivated tomorrow.
Motivation comes from within. You have control over it. If it helps, read this blog post daily until it all becomes second nature to you. Enjoy!