Great topic, and a really hard one to articulate: how to stay motivated. It's an even harder topic to discuss how to GET motivated, one that I have talked about several times on my blog before (because it was kind of a weird, ephemeral moment where I just had ENOUGH and changed everything that moment... not the next day, not the coming Monday, not that New Year's, but that very moment. And I've never looked back!).
But staying motivated?
When I see my friends ordering take out several times a week, going out for lunch, throwing waffles into the toaster and taking absolutely ZERO time to buy/prep/cook their food? They get hours of extra leisure time every week (especially if you add in the hours that I work out when others choose not to!)??
Sometimes I get tired. I don't want to grocery shop several times a week, carefully prep food for lunches and dinners and snacks to make sure we always have fresh, whole, clean foods to eat. Sometimes I don't want to go for that extra walk, I want to sit at the bar or on the couch and drink with my friends.
I could go on and on. It's hard! It is not always the easy OR the popular choice to take really good care of your body, especially at the expense of leisure/social time. But I've found my balance - I DO get lots of awesome social time with friends, lots of quiet at-home time with my husband, lots of quality time with my animals. I haven't sacrificed my life OR my health...
It's not healthy to:
A) obsess about health/fitness/diet/etc to the detriment of enjoying your life (love, joy, laughter with loved ones, entertainment, quiet time with yourself, whatever!)
B) indulge so completely in life to the detriment of your health and your body (to never take the time out of the day to focus on your food or activity so you can completely relax and be social/be leisurely)
I find my motivation in my BALANCE :)
I have both things. I am giving up nothing (other than greasy late night pizza after hanging out or a few hours of couch potato time, haha).
I stay motivated because I am happy with what I am doing. I had lost motivation in the past because I wasn't happy.. I was giving up too much of one thing or the other (either giving up my health to be indulgent in my pleasure or giving up my pleasure to be too stringent with my health).
Once I removed the DANGEROUS indulgent elements (processed foods, too much alcohol, being sedentary) from pleasure, from social time, etc, I was able to have it all. I can spend an evening watching TV with my friends and drink seltzer instead of beer and still get all the benefits of laughing with people I love. If I want to go to a bar, I can walk there and limit myself to one drink and get all the benefit of being out. I can spend one weekend day being a little lazy and the next day of that weekend on a 15 mile hike. I can take time out of my Monday evening to prep food for the week so that I am not focusing on shopping/prep/cooking every night of the week. I can eat 95% paleo and clean so that once a week, I get to have a brownie or something else I want!
Healthy compromises. Putting both my physical self and my emotional self at the same level of importance - one should not win out over the other. Both should be kept at peak strength!
But I think this is where diets and diet programs fail... these compromises are different for everyone!
Everyone's social needs and physical needs are different.
And it is supremely difficult to find the lifestyle that supports them both equally.
It took me almost a decade to get here, to learn what worked for me (because I didn't grow up in balance).
But it is worth the time, the work, the energy, the self-reflection, the failures. Because when you live your life in balance, motivation isn't really a question.. you do it because it works, because it feels good, because you are happy.
You'll have moments of self-doubt, like I said before. Where you are tired. Or you wonder why others take the easy way and you don't.
You do this because you've decided your physical and emotional health are important. Because when you have that health, you feel good MOST of the time (there will be moments of doubt, of course!). But don't give up years of being at peace with yourself for that doubt. Remember the overall sense of well-being and joy you get when your body works at its best, when your mind is clear and you smile more than you frown!
Motivation is a tricky subject. It is personal. It requires a lot of self work to find. All I can tell you is that it is worth the work. This is your one life, live it well :)
Follow the other members to read about how they stay motivated:
Karen at http://gardengirlkp.blogspot.com/
Leigh at http://poonapalooza.blogspot.com/
Gwen at http://thesunnycoconut.com/