Metabolism, lifestyle, behaviour change. What motivates you?

Author: Belinda Martin, Accredited Practising Dietitian | PERTH DIETITIAN (3 min read)

When a Fine Balance Physiotherapy asked me to write an article for their newsletter about moving into the summer months and perhaps shifting motivation and metabolism to lose some kg’s that you may have accumulated over winter. I initially thought I would write some ideas about shifting from winter foods likes stews, roasts and casseroles to eating more salads, increasing your veggies etc or perhaps some science type facts about metabolism and what changes your metabolism. But I thought these types of articles have been written 1000s of times over. So, if this is what you want to read, then click on the following links.

Dietitians Association of Australia healthy summer recipes

Better Health Metabolism article

But let’s face it, behaviour change is super hard. It’s hard to get motivated and results can take longer than what you think. Couple this with often unrealistic expectations and several social media influencers having a go at providing nutrition advice these days… Like I said behaviour change is super hard. I thought I would take a different angle and share something a bit more personal. And why not, self-motivation is personal. So, let’s get personal.

My brother had a stroke about 3 months ago. He is just 4 years older than me.  He is so very lucky as despite this, he has full function. Those close to him know that he still isn’t quite right. He can’t read the time easily at the moment and he used to be very good at mental maths – but not at the moment. The neurologist said this will get better with practice and time. He is also finding that he is not great at golf anymore but maybe he has just had a few off games. But overall – he is a very lucky man and we are lucky to still have him here in the way that we know him. He is a hard worker and a lovely family man.

He is a big man and has made amazing progress in the last 2 months with his lifestyle. He has lost 14 kg to date, is eating healthier and moving more. He hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol or fizzy drink since his stroke. These are all brand new behaviours for him, and he has sustained them so far. He is an inspiration. His very clever GP asked all of us (his family and close friends) to write an impact statement regarding his stroke. How did him having a stroke affect us? When I was writing my impact statement, immediately my brain went to what if he had died. Then what if he ended up in a nursing home. Now clearly, I know there are some fantastic stroke rehabilitation services available and if he did lose function, there would be every chance he would get it back – but your brain goes to the worst-case scenario.

I think these impact statements are genius. His GP instructed him to read them if he was ever losing motivation with his lifestyle changes. And wow, what a way to keep the motivation going. Writing the impact statement had a profound effect on me. Not only has my brother inspired me to be more active and get moving every day, whether it be going for a walk, kicking the footy with my boys, getting on the cross trainer, going to ‘no lights no lycra’ (yes! Look it up – so much fun!) and just getting outside. The act of writing it down made me think about my family. What could I do in my life to make sure I live a long healthy life and will be here for my family? It made me think of people who don’t have a full functioning body and how for whatever reason they can’t move it to it’s full potential.

I have a full functioning body at the moment, and this may not always be the case. But whilst I have a healthy moving body, I am going to move it every day. I am going to take the stairs because I can (seriously if you see me taking the lift – call me out on it). I am going to park further away because I can walk further. I am going to play physically with my kids because I am able to. I am so lucky to have access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, lentils, grains, cereals and dairy (and the occasional treat). I am also lucky that I have a full functioning swallow and digestive system. I am not tube fed. I can eat real food. I choose to put healthy food in my body so my body can function to the best of its ability.

So, moving from winter into the summer months, are you wanting to shift a few kgs and just be healthier?  I have found my motivation. What’s your motivation?

What if you were given impact statements from your family? What would you do?

What are you going to do?

During our Nutrition and Dietetics degrees at University, we not only study the science of nutrition, human biology, physiology, biochemistry and medical nutrition therapy; we also study psychology, counselling, behaviour change and motivation. Providing evidence-based advice to our clients about nutrition and then working with them to make behaviour changes is what we do. If you need help changing your lifestyle, eating healthier and being a healthy weight for you, book in to see us. It’s what we do well.

About the Author

Belinda Martin is a Perth Dietitian specialising in paediatric nutrition, infant nutrition, allergies and pregnancy nutrition. She is the co-founder of Advanced Dietitians Group and loves working with people and families. She has been a dietitian for 20 years. She has worked as a Senior Dietitian and Paediatric Dietitian in various teaching hospitals in Western Australia and the United Kingdom. When she is not working, she is trying to tame a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old (and a 40+ year old) at home.

About Advanced Dietitians Group

Advanced Dietitians Group was founded in 2014 by Belinda Martin and Ingrid Roche, Perth dietitians with a combination of over 40 years’ experience in the industry. Both dietitians have a range of experience across the lifespan but specialise in paediatric nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, infant nutrition and allergies. They provide up to date evidence-based nutrition advice. This coupled with their wealth of experience in dietetics ensures you get the best possible nutrition service. They get a buzz out of helping their clients and their families.

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