Motivation is a scary word.. It can open doors and can lead us to happiness. But on the other hand without it we can find our goals or possible achievements getting further and further away until they are out of sight. That's not even the scariest part because, when we finally find it, that does not necessarily mean that it will stick around for long.
The purpose of this blog however is not to give you a motivational speech, but rather to understand the science of it and how we can stay motivated for longer.
First a definition of motivation : a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way/ our desire or willingness to do something.
To better understand this there is a quote that I found that I believe explains motivation a lot more clearly :
"At some point the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it" - Pressfield (the war of art)
In other words at some point it's actually easier to exercise or to eat healthy than to regret eating that bag of crisps or to keep experiencing that self hatred when sitting on the couch all day.
It's easier to change than to stay the same. I realised this myself the day I understood that the world doesn't stand still.. By this I mean, the seasons will change , years will go by whether or not I do something. So during that time (days/weeks) that I waited for motivation to eat healthy and look after myself, I realised.. hang on if I had started last month I would be healthier by now.
Funny thing is, is that we all know the benefits of motivation, I don't need to tell you that it feels good to achieve your goals etc.. You already know.
So why is it so hard? If we know that it will give us pleasure in the long run.
For the most part things/ goals that need motivation in the first place, are not easy to attain or require a bit of effort to get there over an extended period of time. Also the fear of failure once you have put in all that hard work. And we can never forget instant gratification, I mean we all know that feeling when we see ice cream or chips we aren't thinking about how we will feel after or how it impacts our bodies or our efforts but rather.. "IT TASTES SOOO GOOOD!!"
How to make motivation possible?
Step 1 : make a schedule
If you are hoping to wake up one morning and find motivation sitting next to you, I'm afraid you are out of luck.
I found that motivation often shows up only after that you have started your new behaviour not before. So if you start eating healthy today motivation will keep you going for a little while and then it's all down to habit.
Motivation is the result but it is not the cause, so start preparing healthy meals and snacks or set a schedule for your exercise routine and you will find yourself caught in the momentum once you get going!
Step 2 : Start NOW not later
We've all heard the " I want to eat healthy so I need to finish all the junk in the house first so that I am not tempted"
No. In any case this is not a healthy approach. The "all in or out" approach is unhealthy and unrealistic in the long run.
If you want to achieve something there is NO reason that you shouldn't start right now.
Step 3 : Start small
How do I start right now you ask? It's simple.
Make it realistic. If you go too big it will seem way too daunting and well you won't even know where to start. If you go too small then well you'll get bored and give up. You have to find the right balance. Like goldilocks and the three bears, you need to find the porridge that's just right. This way your motivation will stick around for longer and you will feel like you are working towards a goal you can actually achieve.
For example, if you say : "that's it I am never going to eat a piece of junk food ever again" (too big)
" I am going to have one healthy meal a week" (too small and you will probably forget)
" I am going to make every meal as healthy as I can and still allow myself a treat now and again" ( I don't know about you, but to me that sounds just right.)
Finally once you have created your routine, you must prepare for those days where motivation is no where to be found and it just doesn't work and let yourself off the hook. Give yourself a break from time to time. Just make sure you're not giving yourself a break ALL the time, it's all about balance.
Hey! My name is Holly Johnson and I am very excited about starting to write a few guest pieces for PulpFiction! I am currently working towards my Level Three Nutritionist qualification and am a fully qualified special needs teacher. I have a passion for health and fitness and being diagnosed with coeliac since age of nine I have always been very interested in how food effects everything we do.
Recently I went to Pulp Fiction to find out more about the fascinating relationship between diet and the wondrous world of our gut. The evening consisted of good company good food and good tea, which in my book can not get better. The food made for us by Paula the owner of Pulp Fiction. It was made especially to be ‘gut’ beneficial to help us understand what is good for our gut. It also showed us that Paula can make the most wonderful tasty gut friendly food in front of our eyes! The Pharmacy series which are being held at Pulp Fiction are insightful, creative and learning evenings where you can meet like minded people talk about what you know what they know and learn about your body.
Red Aert signs for a unproductive gut!
1. DIGESTIVE ISSUES LIKE BLOATING, GAS OR DIARRHOEA
These are the hallmark symptoms of gut dysfunction. In large, this is due to the health; both number and diversity, of the bacteria living inside your gut, intestines, stomach and colon.
2. SUGAR CRAVINGS
Scientists have found that gut bacteria actually secretes special proteins that are similar to hunger-regulating hormones; leptin and ghrelin. These proteins affect both our food cravings and mood.
3. BAD BREATH
Chronic bad breath is called halitosis. In most circumstances, halitosis stems from odor-inducing microbes that reside in between your teeth and gums, and on your tongue. It can also be caused by bacteria linked to gum disease.
4. FOOD ALLERGIES OR SENSITIVITIES
If you suffer from food intolerances such as gluten or dairy, this is almost always a result of leaky gut. The gut barrier is your gatekeeper that decides what gets in and what stays out.
"The gut barrier is your gatekeeper that decides what gets in and what stays out”
5. MOODINESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Part of the reason micronutrient deficiencies affect mental health is because of compromised gut function. Even if a person with mental heath associated issues did have access to appropriate nutrition or levels of micronutrients, a leaky gut may mean they are unable to absorb them.
6. SKIN PROBLEMS LIKE ECZEMA
A common sign of food intolerance is eczema. Take a look at this article on what's driving your eczema which investigates the link between the health of your microbes and eczema conditions.
Research is now showing the health of your microbiota can give clues as to whether or not you have type two diabetes. Recently, four Russian researchers studied differences in the changes in the microbes of the large intestine, reporting their findings on the link between gut bacteria and type two diabetes in the journal of Endocrinology Connections.
8. AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE AND SUPPRESSED IMMUNITY
The link between leaky gut and autoimmune conditions is huge.
"I have not seen a client at the BePure clinic with thyroid disease who has not had leaky gut, in particular an intolerance to gluten."
Removing gluten for these people and healing their gut has made symptom management and disease reversal possible in almost every single case.
An increasing amount of research has linked gut health to disease and wellbeing, whether it’s digestion, immunity, mood or even metabolism. Our microbiota (the trillions of bacteria in our gut) has such complex, specific functions in the body, it’s sometimes referred to as an organ in itself. Furthermore, we know we can affect our microbiota and the health of our gut via the food we eat. The gut microbiome refers to all of the microbes in your intestines, which act as another organ that's crucial for your health.
Humans have evolved to live with microbes for millions of years. During this time, microbes have learned to play very important roles in the human body. In fact, without the gut microbiome, it would be very difficult to survive. The gut microbiome affects the body from birth and throughout life by controlling the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes. Eating a wide variety of high-fiber and fermented foods supports a healthy microbiome. Taking probiotics and limiting antibiotics can also be beneficial.
People forget the simple, basic things which effect our gut and digestion. For example, three healthy, balanced meals per day; not eating when stressed; not drinking loads of coffee. These small simple changes can make a huge difference to the workings of your gut. Dietary advice is completely individual and there is no “one size fits all” fix. Just because it works for Joyce next door, doesn’t mean it will work for you!
Top tips for your diet.
• Eat a diverse range of foods: This can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is an indicator of good gut health. In particular, legumes, beans and fruit contain lots of fiber and can promote the growth of healthy Bifidobacteria.
• Eat fermented foods: Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir all contain healthy bacteria, mainly Lactobacilli, and can reduce the amount of disease-causing species in the gut.
• Limit your intake of artificial sweeteners: Some evidence has shown that artificial sweeteners like aspartame increase blood sugar by stimulating the growth of unhealthy bacteria like Enterobacteriaceae in the gut microbiome.
• Eat prebiotic foods: Prebiotics are a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. Prebiotic-rich foods include artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples.
• Eat whole grains: Whole grains contain lots of fiber and beneficial carbs like beta-glucan, which are digested by gut bacteria to benefit weight, cancer risk, diabetes and other disorders.
• Try a plant-based diet: Vegetarian diets may help reduce levels of disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli, as well as inflammation and cholesterol.
• Eat foods rich in polyphenols: Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy bacterial growth
The Takeaway Info
Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. The gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system and many other aspects of health. An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the intestines may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and other disorders. To help support the growth of healthy microbes in your gut, eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods. Make sure you give yourself time to eat without television or your phone constantly giving you distractions. Gut health is important. There is no escaping that! Look after yourself you are the most important person in your life!
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