What to do When You’ve Lost Motivation?

We’ve all been there: you’ve simply lost motivation towards something. Maybe the newness wears off or you’ve put in effort with little results or maybe you can’t explain it, but your attitude towards it has changed. All in all it is a very normal thing that can and does happen to many people in different aspects of life. I’m going to be straight up honest with you–I’m sort of living that situation right now and have been over the past few weeks. I still obsess over healthy eating at times so there was a point a few weeks ago that I decided to just give up healthy eating because it was too much and too stressful (which, it’s actually not I overreacted). Or I’ve been feeling plateaued over my workouts that I have been putting effort into so I started losing motivation to work hard and put in the effort. Honestly, even this blog has felt the effects of it. It’s been tougher and tougher to get on here and write blogs even though they are over topics that I could talk for days–and I mean days–about.

So where did this sudden lack of interest, so to speak, come from? Good question because honestly sometimes I don’t know. But I have theories. I think anytime we start something new, whether that be a new job, new class, new hobby, new workout routine, etc., we have that honeymoon effect. It excites us because it switches up our routine and adds a spice to our life; however, very easily, the “new thing” can blend right into the mundane schedule and suddenly lose its appeal it once had. Another possible reason is if you are putting in time, at the gym, the firm, in the kitchen, and not seeing results. This leads to the mindset that what you are doing isn’t worth it or working so you just give up. Or maybe it is working, but the results are not worth the amount of work you put in. Any of these, along with many others, could be possibilities to why you’ve lost motivation. It can be frustrating, I know. You so badly want to accomplish something or reach your goal, but that can be difficult to do when your whole mind and body screams against it. You may feel hopeless and want to give up, but you aren’t and you shouldn’t! I think there is one thing that can help a lot of us to get back on track.

Remember Why You Started! A lot of times people get so caught up in everything around them and what they’re doing that they forget WHY they are doing it, or WHO they are doing it for. Your motivation’s foundation lies exactly in why you started. Then once you answer that question, you can reassess if quitting or giving up will actually help you reach your “why”. For example, I started eating healthy so that my body would be properly fueled, I would feel better and I could live a healthier lifestyle full of energy. Giving up and filling my body with junk would not get me to any of those places that I want to be, so throwing in the towel doesn’t make sense. If you lost motivation to exercise, remember that perhaps you started so that you could run a marathon someday or so that you could be a healthier, better version by challenging yourself–either way quitting exercising will not help you reach the goal that started it all, your WHY.

Now, of course, in remembering your why, make sure your goal still makes you happy. If the reason you started makes you cringe or feel unhappy just thinking about it, then you probably need to reassess your life and goals and make some new ones. If your goal still does make your happy then find ways to remind yourself of why you started everyday. Say you’ve lost motivation to study for your pre-med classes or work every day in your job. If your ultimate goal is to have an executive job which includes your current job as a necessary stepping stone, then put up notes or other things to help remind you that this job will get you where you want to be in the future. Or if you’re tired of studying for your pre-med classes, but the reason you chose this path was to become a pediatrician and help kids, then find videos that inspire you and remind you of this. If the reason you started excites you and makes you happy, then remembering that why will ultimately get you through your slump because that is what you are working for and towards each and every day. 

However, if the motivation still seems lacking, try mixing it up. Add a new workout class into your schedule or ask a friend if they want to do a workout together. See if there are new projects you could take or be a part of that may be outside your normal work. Try a new course at school or join an organization. Try a new hobby or a new aspect of the hobby; for example, I could try to do a post where I blog-switch with another blogger to mix things up. And at the end of it all, don’t feel discouraged. If you love what you are doing and what you are working for, then you will have motivation to do what you are doing and it will be worth it. If you don’t love it or find it not worth it, then find something new to do! Life is too short to live and do things you hate.

Live a life that makes you happy because after all, that is part of being Beyoutifully Healthy!

7 Things I Am Grateful For

Amidst the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “show” of it all. The gift giving, pretty decorations, Hallmark movies, holiday magic…you get the idea. And while all of these are absolutely amazing things that help make this season my favorite time of year, it can also feel overwhelming at times. Trying to find the perfect gift, decorate the best, have tons and tons of holiday cheer, make the most of this year and prepare to kick next year’s butt (while still living your normal life, school, job, etc)–this all can lead to life feeling chaotic, hectic, and over-the-top busy. That’s why I want to take this time to make a list of things I am grateful for. It’s a great way to slow down, really remember the reason for the season and the importance of truly living, and take time to feel joyful and grateful.

Gratitude is not only good for the soul, but also very healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. People who take the time daily to express gratitude experience more positive emotions, are happier, sleep better, express more compassion, and have more energy. These are just a few of the many benefits found from research studies. If you’re sitting over there thinking, adding another thing to do, such as expressing gratitude, is only intensifying my overwhelmingly busy schedule, don’t freak out! Daily gratitude can take as little time as 5 minutes. This could be as simple as listing, out loud or in your head, 3-5 things you’re grateful for every day on your morning commute or discussing these ideas with your family over dinner. It also doesn’t have to include big, life-changing moments (although those certainly should be added to the list when and after they occur) because for most of us, those moments don’t happen daily. Instead, think of the little things such as you went out for ice cream with friends, or you went on a 30 minute run that left you feeling awesome for the rest of the day or even you spent all day watching movies and cuddling with your pet and/or significant other.

One of the most common ways of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal and write in it every night for 5 minutes. This is something I tried to pick up many times before in the past and always have fallen away from unintentionally. To round out the end of 2016 and start 2017 off right, I am really focusing on making my gratitude journal a daily habit every night before I go to bed. This helps me reflect on my day and even if crappy things happened (it is life after all), I realize I still have so much to be grateful for. If journaling isn’t your thing, you could start a blog, a gratitude jar, or just be open about your gratitude daily. However you choose, expressing gratitude daily can certainly change your life.

Here is a short list I have come up with about things I am thankful for every day.

Reading Books

Over Thanksgiving and Christmas break so far, I have had the chance to read some amazing books. You know, the kind that you get lost in the story and never want to put down? I don’t always have a lot of time for leisurely reading, but I am sure grateful for the opportunity when it does arise

My Cat

As crazy as I know he is, I really enjoy those precious moments with him. Whether that be curling up on the couch (sadly, not often), petting him, watching him sleep and snore adorably, walking him (yes, we walk our cat) or just being with him. We’ve had him for 14 years now and he has a lot of health issues, so every moment I get to spend with him is awesome.

Hallmark Movies

Okay before you go crazy mad, it’s not the movies specifically, but the memories I associate with them. After Thanksgiving, my house turns into Hallmark movie central, despite their predictable endings and cheesiness. My mom, dad and I all lay around on couches and chairs, snuggled up by the fire while watching these movies. We point out and laugh at some of the inconsistencies and predictable endings, but in the end we love each movie we get to spend time together watching. For that, I’m grateful.

God

All of these other things I am thankful for, wouldn’t be possible or with me without God. For me and my life, God is who I put my faith and trust in, giving my life to Him. I am grateful that he sent his only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my (and all) sins so that I could live a life knowing God and his love. Without my relationship with God, I would be a very different person today and I am so thankful for everything God has, is and will do in my life.

My Family

My family is my rock. Some people dread going home for the holidays or spending time with their parents, but I live for it! I love spending time cooking, eating, hanging out, talking, and just being with my family. They have supported me more than I could’ve imagined through so many stages of life and I know I can count on them for anything. Seriously, words cannot describe how grateful I truly am for them.

My Health

While my health isn’t perfect (and currently I’m actually sick, can you say irony?), it certainly is something to be thankful for. I don’t have any major illness, disease, or complication and my body is healthy enough to allow me to workout and enjoy life. I am struggling with parts of my health and getting back to being healthy (more on that in a later post), I am thankful that I am able to live free and be healthy.

Opportunities

Lastly, this may seem generic, and it kinda is, but I have had some great opportunities over my life, specifically in the past few years. I have had the opportunity to play collegiate volleyball as well attend a great University where I can continue to grow in my learning. I have traveled to some awesome places such as Maui, Disney and Hot Springs and I got to watch my absolutely favorite television show, THE BIG BANG THEORY, being filmed live. I have also had support and been able to start this blog, something I never thought would happen. These are just a few to name, but each and every opportunity that comes my way, I am grateful for the ability to use it to grow and live fully.

So that’s just a small list of every day things I am grateful for in life. I have my gratitude journal on top of this as well as I am trying to find something joyful and good in every situation and in the little things. It may be hard to commit to, but I am really working on appreciating life’s every day gifts, small or big, and how they can and will positively impact my life.

What are you thankful for? How do you practice expressing gratitude in your own life?

 

Happy Healthy Holidays

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on my couch recovering from gum surgery earlier this week. Now it wasn’t a big, huge deal kind of surgery where I am stuck on bed rest for days; however, it was enough to where I am on a “can’t exercise for at least 5-7 days” kind of thing. Which is major for me. Not going to lie, I was a little anxious thinking about sitting around for a week without being able to exercise (was told I couldn’t even walk for exercise). This was heightened by the fact that all day Monday, after my surgery, I could only eat soft, cold foods such as yogurt, milkshakes, smoothies and ice cream. Also, to add to this, Sunday I was craving my all-time favorite food, pie, so Sunday night I made a Marie Callender’s cherry pie for the week. So here I am eating pie every single night of the week, having consumed a lot of sugary yogurt and ice cream on Monday, and not being able to exercise for a week…result? I’m completely fine, happy in fact! Despite normally being obsessed over every teaspoon of sugar I put in my body, making sure my diet consists of very healthy foods, and always exercising, I have been able to enjoy my relaxing rest time and every single dang bite of my one two servings of pie a night.

This situation got me thinking about the holidays and people (such as myself) being overly obsessed with eating healthy. Being such often causes people to miss out on fun festivities, and holiday memories. However, this can easily go the other direction where people decide to screw everything, stuff themselves every day and then end up with an unhappy situation and a New Years resolution. I wanted to share some insight and hopefully helpful information about enjoying the holidays as well as give tips on how to create your own Happy Healthy Holiday!

The first point I want to make brings us back to the little intro to this blog (yes, it did have a purpose). While I am working on it, I often find myself still restricting treats and other less nutritious foods, even when it’s my all-time favorite of pie. It doesn’t seem healthy to cut out my favorite food from my life does it? And the answer is no. Now, I shouldn’t eat a whole pie every week, but I should be able to treat and enjoy myself, especially around the holidays. And so should you! So the first thing about the holidays is this: allow yourself some treats during this time. Notice, I didn’t say you should eat your favorite dessert every night for the whole month of December. However, I believe that, in moderation of course, you should grab those cookies or that extra slice of pie you’ve been eyeing. The holidays are a great time filled with family, friends and fun–some of which should include you treating yourself with others.

That being said, there are some tips for staying healthy during the holidays, even while indulging yourself.

  • Keep exercising

While the thought of working out when you could be laying on the couch all day may be lacking, it is important to still exercise during the holidays. This doesn’t have to be your insane 6 day training schedule (although more power to you if it is), just going for a simple 20-min afternoon walk or jog can be sufficient. Or use this time to try out a new exercise class or catch up with a friend as a lifting buddy! However you decide, make sure you get moving throughout the day to keep yourself happy and healthy…even if you eat a few too many brownies.

  • Fill up with mostly nutritious foods

Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to throw healthy eating completely out the window. Still try to aim for your 80/20 (or whatever number you choose) plan and fill up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. That being said, still leave room for that occasional treat as I mentioned. For example, if you know your coworker will bring her famous homemade double chocolate chip cookies to the office Christmas lunch, pack plenty of fruits and veggies as snacks and a healthy salad or sandwich for lunch. Eat those things you brought first, and then enjoy a cookie or two! Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water a day to flush out the sodium or sugar overload your body may be getting.

  • Healthy snack before an event

You can’t always know what will be offered to eat at a Christmas party or event, and you shouldn’t spend your time worrying or stressing about it either–that takes the fun out! Instead, eat a snack or meal with a good amount of protein before heading to the event. This will help fill you enough so that you aren’t ravenous at the party, but that you still have room for dessert or other treat. Showing up starving to the party will only make you eat anything and everything in sight, rather than enjoying a thing or two.

  • Enjoy it

My last piece of advice for a Happy Healthy Holiday is to enjoy it! The holidays are meant to celebrated and trust me when I say you don’t want to spend the whole time stressing over every bite you eat. When you do get the chance to indulge yourself, really chew and savor each bite so that you are satisfied. Scarfing the whole slice down in 3 bites, will most likely leave you wanting more and more and more. However, if you do eat too much of one thing or overeat, don’t worry about it! The worst thing you can do in this situation is feel guilty, regret, stress and shame yourself for eating too many treats. This will often cause you to eat more, feel worse about yourself, and restrict yourself from every enjoying a treat again. As long as you continue to exercise, drink plenty of water, and eat generally healthy, and over-indulging isn’t an every day habit, than you are absolutely and totally okay!

To end, I’m going back to my current situation. Over this past week I have eaten more sugar than I probably have in a month’s total time, laid around, and not been able to exercise and I still look and feel great! I have not gone off the healthy wagon, gained a bunch of weight or any other bad side effects. Instead, I have been so happy after every night of pie, well rested and relaxed during this time off. This is a huge step for me, as I am trying to be less obsessed about living a super strict healthy lifestyle, and certainly one I am enjoying. I want to show you and hope you understand that having a Happy Healthy Holiday is certainly possible and is part of being Beyoutifully Healthy!

 

 

Healthier Breakfast Options instead of Fast Food

If you’re like me and most other college students, then finals week(s) are fast-approaching. Even for those out of college, the end-of-the-season work year tends to get busier–deadlines to meet, meetings to schedule, jobs to accomplish. In all of the rush and stress, getting a healthy nutritious breakfast to start your morning off right can be tough. Maybe you stayed up all night studying so you skip breakfast, or you’re running late gathering the needed materials for a meeting with your boss so you stop by fast food to grab a bite. Either way, eating a wholesome and good-for-you meal can help you focus and be more productive during you day. Now, you may be thinking that you don’t have the time or energy to plan and produce a whole big breakfast…great, you don’t need to! A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be stressful, time-consuming or burdensome. Here I have suggested healthier breakfast options to make at home instead of fast food (or skipping the meal for that matter) that will save you time, money, and your healthy eating plan! Enjoy!

healthier-breakfast-optionsinstead-offast-food

Breakfast Tacos/Burritos

I get it, Mexican for breakfast–delicious! But often those wraps are filled with unhealthy fats and other unwanted ingredients (such as enriched flour). Instead make your own using whole wheat tortillas, eggs, and plenty of veggies. Try this: scramble eggs with tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Stuff  whole wheat tortillas (I love La Tortilla Factory!) with the egg mixture and top with cheese, beans, avocado, etc. Making them the morning of is great if you have time, but if you’re busy (who isn’t?), you can easily make a batch of these on the weekend, wrap each individually once they’ve cooled, and stick them in the freezer. Then, on a rushed morning, throw 1 or 2 in the microwave and you have a deliciously quick burritos!

Breakfast Sandwiches

The popularity of the “Egg McMuffin” and other such breakfast sandwiches is no doubt there. And why not, right? It’s quick, convenient and filled with eggs, meat and other good nutrients. While this is true, oftentimes those convenience sandwiches are not as healthy as desired. But, luckily, making them at home with healthier ingredients couldn’t be easier! Whisk eggs and/or egg whites in a mug and add it to a sprayed hot pan. While the egg patty is cooking, toast your whole wheat english muffin or bagel thin and cook your meat in the microwave (turkey bacon is my suggestion). Once the egg is cooked, assemble your sandwich by adding the egg, meat and cheese to the bread base. Like many of these other breakfast suggestions, to make them even quicker, make a big batch when you have time and freeze them. Then, just pop a sandwich into the microwave to heat up when ready to eat. If you want to skip the bread, try finding a recipe for egg muffin cups, which are also freezable, as well as customizable for your taste!

Bagels

Bagels are often seen as the quintessential work or quick grab-and-go breakfast. They’re easy to pop down in the toaster, and quickly slather on a topping before heading out. Bagels are also food that could actually be semi-healthy depending on the type (whole wheat) and toppings (natural peanut butter); however, bagels don’t offer a lot of nutritional value and offer too big of a serving for just one. Luckily, there are options to make it better. Either way always go for the whole-wheat variety. Try bagel thins–equally delicious, but a smaller serving–or eat only half the bagel and save the other half for another day. Instead of slathering your bagel with fatty cream cheese or sugary jellies, find a reduced-fat version or top it with peanut butter, avocado, mashed berries, leftover salmon, etc. To add more protein, try adding a hard-boiled egg to complete your meal.

Yogurt Parfait

Although yogurt may seem the “healthy choice” at fast food restaurants (and it certainly is better than other options), those fast-food ones are often loaded with added sugars in the yogurt and granola. Making a quick parfait at home is just as easy and much healthier. Choose a plain Greek yogurt as the base and top with fresh fruit, nuts/seeds, and granola with as little added sugar as possible. You can even prep the yogurt and fruit the night before and then add the other toppings the next morning!

Muffin 

You may be eyeing that muffin (scone or pastry works too) while standing in line to order your latte, but let me just back you away from that thought. These muffins are often loaded with tons of sugars as well as fats and loads of calories–none of which will have a positive impact on your day. There are plenty of healthy muffin and scone recipes on the internet that you can find and make ahead of time for a quick and healthy breakfast. Or, to get a more nutritious meal, skip the muffin and have oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of the healthiest things that you can eat for breakfast. If you feel you don’t have time to make and eat a bowl in the morning (although it only takes about 2-3 minutes to make), try Overnight Oats. These are prepped the night before so that you have an already-made yet delicious breakfast delight the next morning. Or, store a stash of instant packets (try to get plain packets due to the added sugar in the flavored ones) in your desk drawer along with healthy toppings (nut butters, fruits, nuts, raisins) to make at work.

Smoothies

Generally, smoothies are one of the healthier fast-food breakfasts out there–depending on the contents. Yes, they are high in sugar, a lot of which comes from fruit, which is okay. However, you do want to be aware and watch out for lots of added sweeteners such as honey, syrup, sugar, etc. that places put in their recipes. Also, consistently purchasing smoothies can take a toll on your budget. For these reasons, I suggest making a healthy, filling and refreshing smoothie at home. Start with a base of water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc. Add in any greens you may want such as kale or spinach. (Don’t worry–you won’t taste them, they just add more greens and nutrients to your smoothie.) Then, add in fruit, frozen or fresh, such as bananas, berries, peaches, mango, or pineapple. Lastly, other additions that are popular are protein powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts, nut butters, coconut…you get the idea. The great thing with smoothies is that the options and flavor combinations are just about endless! Make it tropical or one of my favorites, peanut butter banana (tastes like a cookie!). To save you time, make freezer smoothie bags. In a freezable bag, place all your ingredients except for the liquid. Then, in the morning, pour the liquid into a blender, add the bag ingredients along with ice (optional) and blend! You can make lots of bags ahead of time for many deliciously refreshing morning meals!

What do you think? What are some of your healthy yet convenient go-to breakfasts?