General Question

Pistol's avatar

What do you do to encourage yourself to stay healthy?

Asked by Pistol (298points) August 25th, 2010

I know I’m unhealthy and I need to eat better and exercise. It’s just so frustrating to me because no matter how bad I want it, it seems like something I don’t have time for and wont make time for it. I have a 2 year old and I hate being out of breath after playing for a few minutes with him. My work has a fridge full of sodas and water and even though I hate the taste of soda and I actually like water… I go for the soda. I CAN’T HELP IT!

This is a huge struggle I’ve been dealing with for a couple of years now and I really need some motivation to commit to a healty lifestyle.

What do you do to encourage yourself to stay healthy?

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35 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
rooeytoo's avatar

I look at other people my age and younger and think I gotta use it or lose it! The first step is the hardest and all those little sayings help also to get me out the door. Once you are into it, just remember the goal and that will keep you going.

You know the best thing about Nike is their motto, JUST DO IT!!!

Jude's avatar

Bottom line, I feel better when I do exercise. It picks me up. My mood is great and I feel wonderful. If I’m not doing anything, I get tired of that sluggish feeling. I hate feeling tired and unhealthy. I push myself because I know that I am going to feel great when it’s done and I’m standing there breathing hard, sweating, but, Endorphins.. ah..Exercise also helps with depression.

I know that I’ll feel better, and I push myself to get there. That’s how it works for me.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I suggest starting off with ideas of what you would like to change and then slowly start making the changes. Say for example you decide you want to cut back on the soda. Make a conscious effort to grab water at least once a day at first and then slowly increase it until you get to the point that all you are doing is grabbing the water. If you cut it all out at once, you will have more temptation to go right back to it (in my opinion).

Once you get started into a routine, you will realize you are feeling better and that will encourage you to keep doing more. I know that I feel better when I get up and get moving. On the mornings I don’t start my day with a walk, I feel lazy all day. For exercise, start with things you enjoy doing (riding a bike, swimming, whatever it is). When you do things you enjoy, it makes it easier to stick with it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m a vegan, I do Bikram yoga 3x a week and dance tango for 4–5 hours once a week. I make sure to get alone time with my partner, have plenty of sex and don’t drink or do drugs. I keep myself intellectually stimulated and continue to learn daily as to how to make myself and my family healthier. I’m privileged enough to have access to better sources of nutrition and sources of information – we all have doctors and go do regular check-ups. We feel safe to bike and walk in our neighborhood. We don’t take this for granted. We remain emotionally healthy by leading a life of activism and working towards a fairer world.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

- Instead of focusing on trying to lose x amount of pounds, I focus on trying to do one thing everyday that is really good for me.

- I hate being packed in a gym, lifting heavy chunks of metal. So, I pick exercises that I do enjoy such as running, swimming, yoga, biking, etc.

- When I get a huge craving for some food that is bad for me, I drink a Nalgene’s worth of water, and give it 20 minutes. If I still have the craving I might give in, but more often than not, I realize I was more thirsty than anything else, and eat less (and usually healthier food) than I would have originally.

zannajune's avatar

Buy a really nice water bottle and keep it by your side at all times. It’ll be your best friend to help you avoid that soda.

Buy some nice running shoes. Once I have a nice pair of shoes (or other nice exercise clothing) and I put them on, I suddenly feel like I’m in exercise mode.

Once you take that first step on a walk/run/jog or other workout routine, it becomes so much easier. The first step is the hardest, the rest is so much easier.

Austinlad's avatar

This is an over-simplification, but for me, the two determining factors are appearance and health. As a younger man, that was the ranking. Had to look good to the ladies, ya know. But now that I’m older, those priorities have switched. Which is why I haven’t been eating beef, sugar, bread or bagged snacks for the past six weeks. The scale doesn’t show much weight loss and I don’t look much different in the mirror, but boy, do I feel better.

woodcutter's avatar

It can be hard to set aside time to work out, almost impossible sometimes. It’s a basic formula though: Eat LESS, drink MORE water, MOVE. Sounds simple enough.Yeah. I got a new pup that needs to be walked as often as possible so they burn off that restless energy that drives people crazy. I end up getting a workout without thinking I am. I think that is part of the key, doing activities that aren’t hardcore purpose engineered exercise but practical everyday stuff. It seems to take the performance pressure out of it.

Pandora's avatar

Replace the soda with fruit drinks that are tasty and nurishing. You probably reach for the soda looking for a caffine fix. Drink more water and have some vitamins.
For myself I recently started getting back on a health kick again. What motivates me is the fact that I may actually have another 30 years or more left in my life. If I am achy now and tired at 49 what will I feel like at 85. I can’t guarantee that I will be healthy 30 years from now but by eating right, exercising and taking care of my self, I can at least prevent feeling like I’m 80 years old when I’m 60 if no illnesses or accidents happen. I will in effect be able to minimize my aches and pains till I can’t any longer. I hate pain. So I rather eat right and exercise than feel older faster.

zen_'s avatar

Such a simple and simplistic Q, yet it has inspired 8 GA’s to as many answers. Pistol is the popular one!

I guess the question has struck a chord – especially for those here – instead of at the gym or even outside. GQ – and my answer is: stretching and light weights – while fluthering with my tongue.

Deja_vu's avatar

When you go for that soda, tell yourself : ”This soda is not worth more than my heath” That’s how I got myself to stop eatting fast food years ago. I would get hungry on my lunch break and walk by my favorite fast food joint and think to myself :”Those fries aren’t worth more than my health and happiness.” It’s kind of a mental thing. Think about how good you’ll feel getting into shape. Anticipate it. Use stairs instead of elevators. Instead of parking close to your destination go for a little stroll. You have to start somewhere.
Take vitamins, especially vitamin B complex. Eat antioxidant rich foods. You’ll be pleasantly surprized on how much better you’ll feel.

Coloma's avatar

I’m a wateraholic. I drink water continiously all day long, right after my morning coffee.

I am also a fruit aholic…had the best peaches today!

Lots of water, low stress and good sleep makes me feel great!

I have fallen off my lifelong, pretty hardcore, exercise routine and know I would feel even better if I got back to my regimented walking and weight routine.

Hey, we all go through phases.

Shift happens.

gorillapaws's avatar

I store my chocolate bars under my running shoes.

JLeslie's avatar

I have not read the above, so hopefully I am not too redundant.

First I have a question. Is it caffeinated soda? You are probably addicted to caffeine, and your body has you reach for caffeine, even though you are not really aware of it. If you quit caffeine completely, reaching for the soda will be less likely, or acknowledge you are addicted and switch to a less caloric drink that has caffeine. I don’t like diet anything, so I don’t suggest diet drinks. Maybe tea with just a teaspoon or two of sugar if you want some sugar in it.

Also, bring your own lunch, snack, and your own drink to work, so you are not even tempted. Best if you don’t even open the refridgerator. Most meals will stay cool enough in an insulated lunch box, it should not have to go in the fridge.

As far as exercise, pick an exercise you enjoy. I finally joined a gym, I do the water classes and Zumba. Machines are boring to me, takes me more effort to go to the gym to get on a treadmill, but to dance to good music, no problem. I also walk with a neighbor of mine twice a week. One day walking through the neighborhood I saw her and asked her if she wanted to walk together. At the end we traded numbers, and now we walk twice a week. Having the date to walk with her keeps me on task.

le_inferno's avatar

You should join a class or two. The routine of it will keep you motivated, and forces you to get out consistently at a certain day and time. Kickboxing is great for burning calories, it’s a really great, intense work out. Doing that once a week, plus maybe a day where you go for a jog or run around with your son, would be great! As for the soda, does anyone else in the house drink it? Maybe you should buy diet or just not buy it at all.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I force myself to do strenuous exercise every day. Not because I like to, because I have to. At my age, if I were to stop, I’d go into a rapid decline. The exercise may have prevented my depression from being even worse, so it was lifesaving in that regard also. Running is also an opportunity for me to be alone with my thoughts, I can’t run with a partner. I’ve gone to the extreme of buying my own weight machine and other gear, I intensely dislike being with others in a gym. I push myself to collapse and I don’t want to be seen like that.

Evelyn_475's avatar

I am in a similar boat right now. I recently made a huge lifestyle change. Over the past year I was super stressed out with the end of school approaching and my job kicking my butt. Well, I finally made a pact with myself. I wanted to learn how to be healthy. Among other things, I started going to a nutritionist and started educating myself on what I was putting into my body. Here are my two cents based on personal experience:

1) So many of us focus on what the scale says. Don’t step foot on that scale! The scale doesn’t tell you the percentage of body weight that is water, fat, lean muscle, etc. Muscle weighs more than fat and water levels fluctuate… so the scale could really be setting you back.
Once you decide how you want to change your lifestyle, focus on how you feel and how your clothes fit. This is a good move mentally. Trust. It is SO about the mindset.

2) Get educated! :) I went to B&N and found a book called “Eat This & Live” by Dr. Don Colbert. This really helped me to kick start my lifestyle change because I learned about the crap foods I was feeding myself and what I really should be nourishing my body and soul with. I also would recommend a magazine called “Clean Eating” because it has plenty of realistic, healthy meals for the whole family. I never know what new things I will find in there!

3) Get on an exercise routine. I started going to a gym where I live that offers boxing classes. Full on “hit that bag” type of class. I am no boxer but it felt so good to be doing something that was so new to me. Sure enough, I still go at 5:15am three days a week. I also started running… not heavy, just a mile here and there. I also bike too- just to get outside more.

4) Find support: I got my best friend to start going to boxing class with me and we also go on walks together to “catch up” on the gossip instead of going out to coffee.

The nutrition change (no more fast foods/ processed foods… only clean foods) along with the exercise has changed the quality of my life already. I lost 20lbs and feel great everyday! I don’t eat “mouse” size portions or take diet pills, I just live healthier. It’s hard to get started, but once you find something that works for you it will be easier than you ever imagined.

Sorry this is so long!

Best of luck to you my friend!

JLeslie's avatar

About the scale. I would have to look for it, but there was a study done about people most successful at maintaining their weight loss, and the majority of them weighed themselves every day. This works for me also for losing weight, and for keeping weight off. Weighing every day, counting calories, and at minimum walking half an hour 5 days a week works for me when I want to lose weight. Everyone is different though.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I understand about the soda. I’m having a devil of a time right now trying to get away from Mt. Dew. If you have to have a soda, drink a sprite or a 7-up. Not so much any better, but dark sodas are worse to drink, I believe. Don’t quote me on that. Make little changes, not big ones.

JLeslie's avatar

@py_sue I am going to say the same to you, it is the caffeine, the drug. Mt. Dew has more caffeine than coke. 7 up doesn’t have any caffeine. Two days of substituting 7 up for Mt Dew and you will have a bad headache and be falling asleep everywhere.

markyy's avatar

Having a routine is very important (like so many before me suggested), what helped me get a routine was to start a Seinfeld chain/calendar. The basic idea is to put a cross on the calendar for each day you exercise (or for eating healthy, not drinking soda, whatever works for you). Once you get a chain of crosses, you don’t really want to break that chain. It sounds stupid, but it already motivated me to get out of bed instead of sleeping in a couple of times, and looking at that calendar somehow gives me a sense of accomplishment.

ps. Exercising 365 days a year might be a tad much, so you might want to pick what days you’ll let your body rest in advance and cross them off too (but try to stick to it wherever possible).

rooeytoo's avatar

Also keep in mind sugar itself is very physically addictive. So the more you eat the more your body craves it. If you can avoid sugar for a couple of days, and sugar is in everything, bread and white carbs, your body’s craving for it will diminish. Read Food Tree by Ranveig Elvebaak, it is very enlightening. Here is the website.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I like my figure as it is. I don’t want to lose weight but I also don’t wat to put on weight. However, there are always times when it is more convenient to eat fast food than find something healthier to eat. When those moments arise for me I just think about how much I don’t want to become unfit or put on weight. I have only recently been able to look in the mirror and like what I see (for the most part) and the fact that I don’t want to go back to feeling insecure about the way I look encourages me to stay healthy. I hope this post doesn’t sound to conceited, it’s just the truth about what motivates me.

Pandora's avatar

I found this link of the amount of caffiene in different soft drinks. Maybe you can wean yourself off the caffiene by buying different soft drinks lower than the one you normally drink, till your body gets use to the lower caffiene intake and then switch to a healthy juice and water.

serafina's avatar

Hang my bikini on the outside of my clothes cupboard. It works!

Seek's avatar

This is an issue that’s really close to my heart.

I’m not overweight, per se, but I’m just not happy with where my body is at this point. I also have a 2 year old. On top of that, I live in Florida, and am _very_sensitive to excessive sunlight and heat. If I get too hot, I’ll pass out. Not very good to do when jogging a couple of miles with a toddler in a stroller .

I also have a horrible track record for daily commitments (like setting aside time for exercising with a video, or taking a vitamin, or writing in a diary…). Such things usually don’t make it past the 2nd or third day.

So, I’ve decided that the way to go is to make small lifestyle changes, so that I can basically confuse my body into allowing me to force it to submit to my will.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:
1. Switched to diet soda. I hate aspartame, but the grocery store brand makes theirs with Splenda. It’s not bad – in fact, I really like the Black Cherry flavour. I hope to kick the stupid habit soon, but fighting against 25 years of cola-wars indoctrination isn’t as easy as it sounds.

2. I hung a sign on my refrigerator at the suggestion of a fellow Jelly: “Are you hungry, or are you bored?”

3. I simply don’t buy the sugary snacks that I know I’m going to crave. Oreos being the major culprit. And doughnuts. And brownies. Do I have moments of serious frustration at having nothing to “munch on”? Yes. What do I do? Either eat nothing, or share some celery sticks with my Wonder Pets obsessed little boy.

4. From the time my son wakes up from his afternoon nap, to when my husband gets home from work, Nick Jr. goes off, and the music channels on the TV go on. We get a good couple of hours of silly dancing in while I’m cleaning the house. I taught him the “Locomotion” yesterday.

My next feats are going to be such things as buying a Bento box for myself, to control my portion sizes (a big problem I have is just eating way too much at one sitting), and breaking myself of the idea that I have to eat something for my son to want to eat. Sometimes I’m not hungry for breakfast. Why am I cooking three scrambled eggs instead of one?

Coloma's avatar


It is really hard with small kids.

I went through the same thing years ago when my daughter was small.

After they outgrow the stroller it is even harder to get out walking unless the hubby is around to watch the kids.

4 year olds are too big for the stroller but not big enough to walk 3 miles with mommy.

Of course, the evening walks were relegated to the summer scene as walking in the dark of winter at 5–6 o’ clock didn’t work either.

It is almost impossible to get in the shape one wants without serious workout time.

Hang in there, your day will come again. lol

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Bento box. Great idea.

Pistol's avatar

Wow! Thank you everyone for such great responses! I guess I must have hit a chord! All these answers are really encouraging and I have already made some good choices today! My wife is a bit of a health nut so she tries to stay on top of things but I think she has a hard time when I’m so stubborn about it.

I think I am seriously addicted to caffeine and sugar. It seems consensus here is to make small changes and work your way up to where you want to be, not just deciding one day to hammer it out and kill yourself at the gym. Which is what I have tried so many times and that only lasts for about 2 days. I am making some big changes in my life carrer wise, location, finances, this is just the last thing that I need to get in to place.

Thanks again everyone for your support!

JLeslie's avatar

@Pistol About the caffeine, I want to emphasize that I do not think you should quit caffeine while you are trying to get into an exercise routine, because you will feel like crap, lethargic. First try to lower the sugar intake, then deal with the caffeine when you are in a good exercise routine, if you choose to iliminate it.

ram201pa's avatar

When my nutritionist told me that the carbonation in soda diminishes bone density, I quit all sodas. That was three years ago. I don’t miss soda at all.

Facade's avatar

I just recognize how I feel (tired, weak, etc.) or look in the mirror. That usually gets me going.

zen_'s avatar

I wake up in the morning and pray towards the east, immediately followed by Crunches (excellent cereal) and Sit-ups, which are dried fruit roll-ups. I light my first cigarette of the day, to be followed by two more as I make my herbal black coffee minus the herbal.

I meditate fluther, keeping silent the whole time – listening to whatever U-tube has made a mix of the night before. (Thanks, U).

More Sit-ups, raspberry flavoured, and settle in to my second cup of herbal coffee. More Crunches, and lots of water. I lift the two bottles of water (500 ml) and do arm toning exercises. Finish the water quickly so the bottles aren’t too heavy.

I lay down on my gym map, and fall asleep. I dream of a heavy routine of barbells and free weights, followed by a massage, sauna and Finnish women doing Swedish things to me. Maybe she’s Swiss, I forget.

We have sex. They say it’s very healthy and burns a lot of calories – and I’m already way into my indoor sports when she screams in passion and laughs, as only a blonde, foreign woman can.

I ask “Is it good? Did you finish?” She replies, “No, I’m Swedish.”

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, I got the worst stomach cramps I’ve ever had in my life when I went cold turkey off of dark sodas.

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