December 17, 2010 in Health, Nutrition by Mary Ireland

In my last two blogs, I’ve talked about exercising during the holidays and given you good reasons for not putting on additional weight. If you have been exercising and have been able to avoid eating fat-laden, sugary foods, you can probably skip the rest of this post. Now, if you are still with me maybe you will find some ideas about motivation helpful.

There are so many ways to approach the subject of motivation. As I sit in front of the blank screen, I have thought of many of them. I have read a library of self-help and self-improvement books. (My husband once asked why I didn’t write one, since I had read so many of them.) In addition to all of the books, I have attended classes on self-hypnosis and neurolinguitistic programming – I’m an unofficial expert. 🙂 What I believe motivation comes down to - spring-boarding from Dr. Grandma’s post Starting with the Bottom Line - motivation is about what you tell yourself and what you believe. The essence is captured in the quote: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t – you are right.”

I once worked with a woman who - whenever treats were around - would continually say, "I can resist anything except temptation." It was amusing, but deadly to her plans to shed herself of the extra 50 pounds. Think about it, when you tell yourself – “it is impossible to ____ lose weight, exercise during the holidays, give up the foods I love, eat vegetables – you fill in the blanks – you make it so. But, you say, that is really true, I can’t do those things; it is just too hard! Try on this quote from

"Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing." - Adidas

Surely, you know the story about Edison and the light bulb – and in trying to achieve a health goal, you probably have tried at least ten different ways that didn’t work. Realize however, there are probably hundreds of other things that you haven’t tried and won’t try if your attitude is that those ways won’t work for you. If you really believe that you can’t eat healthily and exercise consistently, then quit torturing yourself (and probably others around you who have to continually listen to why you can’t) and accept your situation. Be happy about eating whatever you want and gaining however much weight you are going to gain; accept that perhaps you are going to be on diabetes medication, cholesterol lowering medication, arthritis medication, and blood pressure lowering medication; that maybe you won’t be able to get around so well or for so long. Fine -- but before you do, make sure that you are fully aware of the ramifications of what you are accepting. One of the more difficult moments in life is realizing when all of your poor choices have caught up with you. If you don’t want to accept giving a large portion of your paycheck to drug companies and living a physically compromised life, start changing what you say to yourself. When you start changing what you say to yourself, you start changing what you believe. Calm yourself with this little video clip and commit to yourself to find ways to succeed.

Note from Dr. Grandma: I spent decades saying that I had to get up early and do my exercise, because if I didn’t do it, I couldn’t do it at night: I’d be too tired. So any time I didn’t get up in time to get my 45 minutes in translated to not doing any exercise. Then once - I can’t even remember why -- I exercised at night and -- nothing bad happened. There may be more benefit from exercising in the morning, but it is much better to exercise in the evening, than to skip the exercise. I tell this because I believed myself, that I could not exercise late in the day. It was all about what I believed – it was not a reality at all.

This same thinking experience has happened to me as related to portions. I used to think that I could not be happy with a sliver. Something ‘clicked’ in my mind and I now KNOW that just a taste often delivers complete satisfaction. This ‘mind-remodeling’ of numerous eating/exercising pitfalls, has led to easier work for weight management and is part of no longer ‘going on a diet.’

Thanks to Dr. Grandma for the anecdotal verification! The most significant thing you can do to change your self-talk and beliefs is to be aware of what you are saying to yourself. Most of us speak negatively to ourselves out of habit, repeating destructive things we heard growing up or negative attitudes we have picked up since. Then after listening to what you are saying/thinking, challenge what you hear. Just ask, “Is that true? Is that really true?” The third step is to change false, self-defeating statements to statements that will enable you to succeed. In implementing your nutrition and exercise goals, find ways to set yourself up for success. Dr. Grandma has a lot of experience and great ideas for helping you implement a program for a healthier you. On our site, Dr. Grandma shares her extensive knowledge in helping people to achieve their weight goals. In the Tips section of the Library, you will find:

Blogs that contain really helpful suggestions are:

In addition, surround yourself with positive people, visit sites with positive messages and read about people who have overcome obstacles to their goals. Check out Dr. Jen’s Diabetes Diary, especially the entry titled “No one (Not Even You) Lacks Motivation.” Dr. Jen’s site has a lot of good tips – even for those of us who don’t have diabetes.

And finally, don’t deprive yourself. Going to a party buffet when you are very hungry is asking for disaster. Eat nutritious food before you go so you won’t be so tempted beyond your ability to resist. In setting yourself up for success, remember that Good Health can be Yummy! Fill up on fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks like Dr. Grandma’s muffins or Cheery Cherry Nut Bread. I especially like to eat soups because they are so filling and can be very nutritious. I’ve included this Carrot Soup recipe that is loaded with nutrients and very satisfying. I wish you the best in your healthy endeavours.

Carrot Soup

2 tbsp. oil olive
1/4 c. finely chopped ginger root or 1 tbsp. ground ginger
7 c. vegetable broth
1 1/2 c. carrots, peeled, in 1/2 inch pieces
Pinch curry powder
1 lg. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Snipped fresh chives or parsley

Pour olive oil into large pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic. Saute for 15-20 minutes. Add vegetable broth and carrots. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor. Season with lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper. May be served hot or chilled.

Saute onions, garlic and ginger.

Cut carrots into 1 inch chunks, add with broth to onion, garlic and ginger; then bring to a boil.

Add lemon juice and puree.

Add parsley, stir and serve.