Negative thinking and self-doubt are easy to fall into when trying to change your health for the better. However, beating yourself up over a mistake or being self-critical is counter-productive (not to mention hurtful – to yourself!). As with most positive behavior changes, it can feel like a lot of work – or like it’s not working – at first, so it’s important to stay positive, motivated, and focused on the “why” of healthy living.
There are countless affirmations (or positive statements that we will say to ourselves) for health, wealth, and other topics. I’m including my five favorite healthy eating ones here. Focusing on these encouraging ideas will help keep you motivated, focused, and can even impact your subconscious mind to change the way you think and behave. In short, repeating and believing positive truths about yourself will put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.
Keep in mind that these little mottos cannot be untruths or fantastical statements (eg, “I am a superhuman!”). They need to be honest phrases that motivate and speak to what you want to achieve. So, if any of these don’t feel believable to you personally, feel free to modify them to suit your situation. For example, instead of “Health is wealth – it is my number one priority” you might like “I value my health – it is a priority for me”.
1. Health is wealth – it is my number one priority
Poor diet is the leading cause of death and disability, not only in the US, but worldwide. Over the next 20 years, diet-preventable maladies will cost the world >$30 trillion dollars in excess healthcare costs, lost productivity, and reduce capital investments.
Remember, your health is the foundation upon which you build your life. Without it, you may not be able to do all the things you want to, or enjoy life to the fullest. Treat yourself with care and respect – you deserve it!
2. I choose foods that strengthen my mind and body
I choose foods that strengthen my mind and body. Ask yourself – what is good for me about this food?
For your mind, ask yourself, “Do I enjoy eating this?” If you don’t like a food, you don’t have to eat it. No one says you have to eat kale or chia seeds or anything else to be healthy – there are lots of options out there! Similarly, if you’re eyeing a donut right after lunch, you may think, “Yes, I will enjoy eating this, but then I will feel sick and want to take a nap.” That may not be what you want.
For your body, ask yourself, “Will it nourish my body?” I’m guessing you don’t think on the cellular level when you’re deciding what to have for dinner. Still, when you contemplate what an amazing machine your body is, that each piece of food is broken down into tiny molecules that are used or re-formulated into new molecules, each one for a specific purpose, it’s a little mind-blowing. For me, visualizing the metabolic process is motivation to choose foods that will energize and protect my physical self.
3. Practice makes habit
Motivation might get you started on a healthy eating or running plan, but habits will be what produces life-long results. It is a proven fact that the more often you make a conscious choice, the easier it becomes, until it is no longer a conscious choice. In other words, if you make healthy choices over and over again (ie, practice), soon you will be making those decisions on “autopilot”, without any internal debate, struggle, or mental work at all.
4. The only thing I can control is myself
We cannot always control when and where we will be tempted with a plate of cheesy fries or an open box of donuts purchased by a well-meaning coworker. We can, however, without fail and 100% of the time, control our actions in response to any situation.
- Remember that there will always be another meal, another opportunity to eat something wonderful and delicious. Is the random container of store-bought cookies at a party worth the overindulgence? Know that you can either take a small portion or pass on these foods altogether, because you will have many chances to enjoy them in the future.
- Do not feel guilty about not eating a food. I still have nightmares about my grandma pushing “Frog Eye Salad” onto my plate as a kid. For years, I thought there were actual frog eyes in it!! The truth is, I never liked it, even when I knew it was a mixture of tapioca, whipped cream, orange something. I felt like I had to eat it, so as not to offend or hurt feelings. That’s crap – no one should be forced to eat questionable jello salads, or anything else for that matter. You’re an adult, and only you get to decide what you eat. No guilt.
5. Small bites lead to big results
There is a duality in this mantra.
- First, the act of taking small bites of whatever food we are eating, reminds and encourages us to acknowledge the flavors, textures, and experience of, eg, creamy yogurt, crisp apple, whatever. Smaller bites = slower, more mindful, more enjoyable eating.
- Secondly, each healthy bite you take adds to the ratio of healthy vs unhealthy bites you have taken. Over time, healthy bites become greater than unhealthy ones, and before you know it, you’re a healthy eater with a healthy body.
Armed with these and any other mind-boosting mantras, believe that you can overcome setbacks and make consistently healthy decisions to feel and look your best!
Which of these affirmations speak to you and why? I’d also love to hear the mantras that you find the most helpful – please share in the comments section or on social media!
Mozaffarian, Dariush. “Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity.” Circulation, vol. 133, no. 2, 2016, pp. 187–225., doi:10.1161/circulationaha.115.018585, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018585.
Mozaffarian, Dariush, and Dariush Mozaffarian. “The Economic Benefits Of Healthier Eating: Why Corporations Can Be Natural Allies To Promote Better Diets.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, https://bit.ly/2Xpx6PM.
The Global Economic Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases: a Report. World Economic Forum, 2011.
“Affirmation.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affirmation.