No Easy Task: How to Balance Food, Fitness, and the Rest of Your Life

The prompt for this final post in my partnership series with Garmin and Whole Foods asks how to balance food, fitness, and life.

More than with any other prompt, I feel qualified to write this one: one of the things I believe I’ve done best as an adult is to follow an (arguably) extreme diet and chase down (less arguably) extreme fitness goals, and do both in a way that feels … well, normal. And for the past four years, my wife and I have made this lifestyle work with young kids.

But while living it is one thing, explaining it is another. That’s kind of what this whole blog is about, what close to 700 posts and a book are here for.

I’ve thought hard about how to boil down the essentials of balancing healthy habits with the rest of your life into a tidy bullet list to make it seem oh-so-easy. And I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s impossible.

None of it is easy; it’s a choice you make — and sometimes a difficult one. What people chalk up to “balance” in someone else who makes it look easy might look more like obsession when you view it from the inside, on a day-to-day level.

So instead of an “easy ways” bullet list, I’m going to list three things that are hard to do. But if you do them, I think you’ll all most certainly be able to balance fitness and healthy food and the rest of your life.

First, you have to prioritize and make sacrifices. In Cloud Cuckoo Land most of us don’t like to talk about this part, but it’s true. What you focus on and measure will improve, and what you neglect will get worse and eventually be overtaken by weeds. But you can’t possibly focus on everything, so you’ve got to compromise.

My wife and I spend as much money on food for our family as we do on all our other expenses combined, except for rent. And we almost never eat out — maybe once or twice a month at most — so it’s mainly just groceries.

Several times we’ve had conversations that start with one of us saying something like, “Are you sure we should keep spending this much on food? We could literally save $1000/month if we just stopped buying organic and fresh produce.”

And every time, those conversations end with mutual agreement that yes, we should keep spending this much on food, even when it means giving up something else.

Believe it or not, staying active doesn’t come easy either. Far more than many other runners, I struggle with boredom: barring race day, a two- or three-hour run is never my idea of a fun Saturday morning. So to get myself to spend it that way is hard. But it’s worth it, and if I go too many Saturdays in a row drinking coffee and doing crossword puzzles instead of pounding the pavement, I know it’s time to set a new goal.

Speaking of which …

Second, learn what motivates you and use it.

The fact is you’re not going to stay in a constant state of eager passion about eating well and staying fit. There will be times when your motivation wanes, and when it does, knowing how to connect again to a source of inspiration (or fear, which gets overlooked as a motivational tool) is crucial indeed.

I know that really big goals motivate me as runner. Qualifying for Boston, running 100 miles … these two goals have motivated 95 percent of the miles I’ve run in my life. As I said above, I’ve learned that when I’m not feeling it, it’s because my goal isn’t right. (And usually, that means not big enough.)

I also know exactly what motivates me to stay vegan: not wanting to do harm to animals, and wanting to live as energetically as I can and for as long as I can. (“Not wanting to kill and not wanting to die” sure sounds more catchy, but my vegan-preaching censor just wouldn’t let me write it.) Do I think being vegan does either of these things completely? Of course not. But it’s the best way I know to do both, so when I’m feeling out of it, I do things to get in touch with those motivators.

One more specific example: I’ve noticed that I respond really well when I learn that a certain habit is linked to longer lifespan. Two recent ones are eating nuts and flossing your teeth. I used to be sporadic with both habits, but as soon as it “it’ll help you live longer” flashes in through my head, it trumps any amount of laziness. Having realized this, I’ve started reading more longevity research as a way to become better at habit change (as opposed to studying habit change in order to live longer through healthy habits). This is what I mean by “learn what motivates you and use it.”

Finally, understand that nothing is static; everything is either growing or dying. When we’re talking about health it’s easy to take this literally, but I actually mean it in a figurative sense: I’ve learned that if I’m not actively focused on learning more or getting better in the way I eat or as a runner, then I am getting bored and I am getting worse.

This is why I do so many diet experiments when the way I already eat is surely “good enough,” and why a quarter of the books in my bookcase are about food or fitness (and also why another quarter of them are about personal development). It’s the reason I’m so into big goals and habit change.

Yes, you can (and should) still use tricks to put things on autopilot. I certainly make use of these, to keep the weeds from taking the garden when my back is turned. But as Rich Roll has pointed out, progress and fulfillment aren’t about lifehacking, they’re about passion. Maybe even obsession.

So what can you do about this?

Be curious. Set goals. Experiment. Just don’t stand still.

Garmin vívofit Giveaway

vivofitTo help you not stand still (this time in a literal sense!), I’ve got a Garmin vívofit to give away today, just like the one I’ve been using for this series, courtesy of Garmin.

As usual, enter with a comment, and I’ll randomly draw a winner a week from now and announce his or her name in the comments section. Share this post somewhere and let me know about it in your comment, and you’ll get two entries.

I’ve enjoyed my vívofit for what it has taught me about running and giving me an awareness of my daily step count (which itself seems to predict longevity), and I think you’ll like it too. Good luck!



Dig this post?
Spread the word!

Keep in touch:

The 7 Foods Worth Eating Every Single Day

wooden signpost near a pathOur 7-Day Kickstart Plan is unique in that it focuses on the highest quality whole foods (including the 7 foods worth eating every day), to make sure you get everything you need on a plant-based diet.

The Kickstart Plan includes:
  • A 7-day meal plan, built around the foods worth eating every single day
  • 14 of our favorite recipes that pack in the nutrition, taste great, and are easy to make
  • Focused on simplicity and speed, to minimize stress and time commitment
It's the best way we know of to get started with a whole-food, plant-based diet, for just 7 bucks. Learn more here!


  1. Great post, and great giveaway!

  2. I would love to win a Vivofit! My goal for the year is to recommit to fitness – I’ve set a pretty reasonable quota of getting moving five times a week – on the treadmill, around the mall on my lunchbreak, walking the dogs – and I’ve managed to stick to it pretty closely so far. This would be a great way to track my activity!

    Also, I shared on my Tumblr!

  3. That’s awesome, I’d love a Vivofit!

  4. I would love to win! I always make a point of walking whenever I can, and I’m really curious to see what my average daily step count is and what factors affect it. Thanks!

  5. This is such an interesting way of thinking. As a recent college graduate, I’ve always thought about my future as a series of steps to get me to where I want to be a few years. In high school, it was about what I needed to do to get the leadership positions I wanted, or to get into college. In college, I was focused on getting involved on campus and getting a coveted position as an RA in a residence hall. But now that I’m graduated, it seems like once I get a job, I won’t have those clear-cut steps for me to follow to my goals. It’s nice to think about life as never stagnant. It gives me something to work toward and strive for. I’m definitely a goal-setter, so I can keep moving toward whatever goals I create for myself!

  6. I would love to win a Vivofit! I drive a lot for my job and try to make myself take a break every hour to move more. The Garmin has a “time to move” reminder that would be great for me!

  7. Thanks for the chance to win!

    I’d love to know how much I’m moving each day.

  8. I’ve found that my running and my food are ways that I can find and achieve goals in life even when I seem to floundering elsewhere. I get a sense of accomplishment from them that keeps me pushing through till I come out of the rough patch in my professional life.

  9. Matt, I started flossing again last week for the exact same reasons. As I heard it, flossing is one of those few things known to CAUSE an increase in lifespan not just be correlated to it. I am also a January Joiner at a gym this year. Another attempt to break the sedentary cycle. I used to run several times a week, but like you mentioned I didn’t have any goals or motivations. So far I am sticking to the gym (3/week) and have mixed in one run on the weekends for the last three weeks. My motivation this time around: the instant gratification having just finished a run. Instead of bullying myself about getting out the door, I think about that feeling and I know it is not something I can just get (or buy, or take) without putting in the work. -Sarah

  10. Catherine says:

    The idea of setting huge goals is something that really interests me. My big goal right now is to run a marathon in September. I am not much of a runner, so for me to even consider a marathon is a huge challenge! I started training a week ago, and I’m very excited to keep going!

  11. I subscribed to your blog while looking for healthy and easy ways to eat. I’m vegetarian but my diet is not great.

    This post is such a reminder about my procrastination. I feel better when I run, I feel better when I eat well. That’s going to be my little personal motivation to help me with my healthy habits when those excuses pop up.

  12. The motivation part of your post really hit close to home for me. Like you big goals help keep me moving. I’ve also found that I need to change up my goals to keep pushing myself — if I’ve already done something once, it’s motivating effect isn’t as great as it was the first time. Thanks for your thoughtful post and thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I wouldn’t mind a vivofit to play with – pick me, pick me!

    In other news, have you decided about Black Mountain Monster yet?

  14. Christine says:

    Thank you for sharing your advice!

  15. I would love to win a vivio fit. And love your site.

  16. You are right on with the prioritizing and making sacrifices part. I am continually dismayed at how people will cite the high price of produce (organic or otherwise) as an excuse for not buying it – but then think nothing of spending the same amount on clothes and shoes they don’t need. Drives me crazy! But that’s the norm in our culture. Expensive shoes are “chic” but expensive food is “snobby”.

  17. Thanks for another inspiring post! I’m using the cold weather as an excuse to not run but I’m staying motivated at the gym in other ways. Would love a vivofit to motivate me to move more than 100 steps at work.

  18. As always another quality post.

  19. As a fairly fit woman approaching the age of Medicare, I try to challenge myself to continue my fitness awareness. Having a Vivofit would allow me to easily set goals for some new challenges! I’m a lifelong learner and I also have lifelong fitness goals!

  20. Would love to try the Vivofit!

  21. I’ve been secretly coveting the Garmin Vivofit. Like you, we spent a significant amount of our budget on healthy food so this has been one of the things that has been given up.

    Shared on Twitter!

  22. I agree that it is hard. I came across your blog a few years ago, searching ways to add more protein to a vegetarian diet. The change isn’t easy and it is a constant practice to keep up at it. I am vegan 90% of the time now and am working towards 100% and have started running. Not consciously, was just walking fast to get out anger and ending up running and kept doing it everyday (except recently with the northeast snowstorms). It wasn’t fast and easy to get to where I am and I’m glad you wrote about that experience in this post. And I’m glad you still have this blog up and running. Great resources.

  23. I find it’s much easier to stay motivated to exercise than eat right–maybe the immediate gratification of a good workout is greater for me than that of a healthy meal.

  24. I am always trying new things, diet and fitness wise. Pretty sure people think I’m crazy but I like figuring things out for myself so I can make informed decisions :).

    A vivofit would be awesome for my workouts!

  25. Tina Ahern says:

    I would love to win a Vivofit. I am on my feet all day as a barista and baker in our shop and it would be cool to see how many steps I take between 5am and 3:30pm! I shared this post on Twitter and also sent it to my 3 twenty-something kids because it is great information for everyone, no matter where we are in life.

  26. I have been a part time vegan and sporadic athlete for a couple of years now, and I need to step it up – I’m working on waking up early and doing yoga and strength work, and eating healthier, and I would love love LOVE a vivofit to help me along.

    I also think you’re so right about making sacrifices. Time spent watching tv is time when I could be reading or working out or writing, and that’s a trade-off that’s not always at the forefront of my mind! I also tend to be dissuaded from my veganism when well meaning family express concern for my health, or react with shock to my choices – it can be hard for me to hold up against the onslaught, because I’m quite family oriented. But my mum and dad support, and this is the year I transition to being a full-time vegan! Your work on here has been super helpful to me so far, as I put my plans together and plot the rest of my year 🙂

  27. These are awesome concepts, because I can use them in so many ways! I’m trying to figure out getting life together after having my third child, with my husband starting a new job and a move in a few weeks- everything above is exactly what I need to make positive changes in my life more manageable 🙂

    Tweeted this post:

  28. This would be great to have to keep me on track with all my fitness adventures.

  29. Rachael Sizemore says:

    Love the website and I’ve just started listening to your podcasts too. I’ve got my husband reading your site too. Thanks for what you do, reading it is motivational for me

  30. I’m a VA Virtual Assistant for a vegetarian blogger and we often share your posts to her social media sites, so thanks for the awesome content! Not saying that because I want the Garmin vívofit Lol But if you want to give it, I’ll gladly accept haha Not sure if you can send it in my country though 🙂

  31. I’ve been transitioning to WFPB for awhile now. I cut out meat almost 9 months ago and have never been a huge dairy consumer though I still need to eliminate it completely. I’m finding it challenging when the other five members of my household are not joining me in my journey (thought my three-year-old has said a couple times that she doesn’t want to eat animals anymore). I’ve also started working out again and just becoming more active in general (day two, week four today!) and have considered getting a vivofit or fitbit but am still in the obsessively-researching stages. I’m nearing 40 and it’s time to reverse the last seven years of sedentary living and counteract the effects of my three pregnancies.

  32. I’ve been looking for a good activity tracker for awhile, and the details you’re giving on the Vivofit sound like a perfect fit for me. I’ve really enjoyed the Whole Foods post you had also, very helpful.

  33. I shared on my Facebook wall. I don’t think you cab see it though? Peggy Rodgers…

  34. Your right there isn’t any easy checklist to go through about balancing life and health. Especially when as we age our needs change as well. Sometimes time is the hardest thing to give up for health. I use to walk to work everyday, for a total about 40 minutes everyday. Then my husband and I got a second car. It is hard decision when I know I can do things around the house for another 20 minutes, or walk to work and get home later. It can be hard.

  35. My boyfriend and I have had a lot of conversations about priorities recently: about our relationship, about our running goals, about our diets. We’re both vegans for myriad reasons, just like you and Erin, and it’s a huge priority for us to stick to it even when the going gets tough, and we’ve never wavered.

    I have two big goals coming up: climbing Mt. Kenya with my dad (late February) and running 100+ miles at a 24-hour race (early May). I ran 53 miles at Burning River this year and found that a big goal works for me as well – it helps cut out the crap that doesn’t move you toward your goal.

    Fun fact: I read your BR100 race report when I was living in Chicago (after being a reader for a number of years) and thought, “Now I want to run that race.” Just three months later, I moved very unexpectedly to northeast Ohio for a new job working for the national park, and less than a year later I was running the two-person relay at Burning River. Reading your blog planted the seed, and then the dream came true. When you wish upon a running carrot…

  36. I shared this post with my husband via email. He will be running Boston in April and we have been eating vegetarian for about 18 months. I am a runner too (not a competitive runner. We have 5 kids so we can’t both be running competitively) and would love a vivofit!

  37. Great giveaway. And thank you for saying that this stuff IS hard and is does require prioritizing and sacrifices. There’s only so far ‘hacking’ can get you.

  38. I’m not much of a goal setter in other aspects of my life but have found I need to be training for something to keep from getting bored in the gym. Keeping motivated to run is no problem, I really like being outdoors, but over the winter when I spend more time in the gym it can be tough to show up. This winter I settled on doing a few races early in the spring so that I had to maintain conditioning and I’ve been a lot more consistent.

    And while I’m not planning on going vegan any time soon, my wife and I have been making efforts to clean up our eating habits and your recipes and articles have been a great source of information and inspiration. We made a bean and rice variation for dinner last night for “Meatless Monday!”

  39. I enjoy reading your posts to keep me motivated I these challenging winter months. A vivofit could totally help with motivating me!

  40. This is the thing: it takes some sacrifices, and you have to adopt the mindset that sometimes it will be hard and sometimes you will have to give up some things along the way. But what you give up will never be as great as what you will get in return. If it is important enough to you, they stop being sacrifices and just necessary steps towards a goal. Thanks for this great post and you did a good job of condensing down what really is years of experience and practice and learning!!

  41. Wow. What a fantatastic perspective! I’m going to re-read this every day this week for inspiration. Hopefully I can pair that inspiration with a new Garmin vivofit.

  42. Natalie Gray says:

    I loved your Garmin and Whole Foods collaboration scene, so sad it is ending!

  43. I agree that there is not one definitive ‘right’ for everyone; we must all choose the absolutes that are important to us. I may not choose to eat organic all of the time, but – for me – it is more important that I am eating locally. A bunch of these type of choices all add up to what makes me ‘me’, and may not work for anyone else in quite the same way.

  44. Great post! I especially liked “What people chalk up to “balance” in someone else who makes it look easy might look more like obsession when view it from the inside, on a day-to-day level.” So true that those people who seem to have it all together have really just made tough choices about where they really want to focus their time and energy.

  45. David Wilder says:

    Great post – it can be challenging enough to work a full time job (or be a student), engage with family and friends, complete errands and chores, and get enough sleep. But when you add on fitness and healthy eating, it ups the ante quite a bit. Having a big goal and getting there with small, gradual steps has been helpful for me.

  46. I am on my own path of eating healthier and exercising, and really enjoy the work that you do. I discovered your podcast a few weeks ago and have been listening to them on my runs and have gotten so much great information from you, Doug, and your guests. Keep up the great work!

  47. Vegan Runner Katie says:

    Would love to win a Vivofit! Great giveaway.

  48. When people comment on how buying produce or organic produce is so expensive, I always respond by saying, “you can either pay a lot now, or pay more down the road.” I view it as a way not only to eat healthy, but as medicine that helps me stay out of the doctor’s office. I teach 4th grade and I’m surrounded by germs and I rarely get sick at school. Of course, I still get sick occasionally, but definitely not as often as if my diet wasn’t full of whole foods.

  49. Forgot to mention that I shared on Facebook and Google+.

  50. “I’ve learned that if I’m not actively focused on learning more or getting better in the way I eat or as a runner, then I am getting bored and I am getting worse.” This is so true about so many different aspects of life!

  51. I’d love to track my steps! I’m curious. I know there are some days when I do well and others where I’m really slacking. I also tweeted this article on @hippieitch. 🙂

  52. shannon rawls says:

    it’s a daily struggle trying to balance everything and force myself to take breaks. definitely can relate!

  53. how exciting! I’m still using my 12 year old garmin – it looks like a computer on my wrist! This is so sleek and lovely!

  54. I’m curious how many steps I walk/run each day. I have the health tracker on my phone but I don’t carry my phone EVERYWHERE (thankfully) so I don’t ever get the exact number.

  55. Stephanie M says:

    I just shared this post with a friend on Facebook and also on my Google+.

    I’d love this fitness tracker because I agree with you – what gets measured gets managed, and I wanna live as long and as healthy a life as I can!

  56. Some good tips. I like to think of it as prioritizing, rather than compromise. It’s just a matter of deciding what is most important to you and then focusing on that. For sure passion and what motivates you are key to staying the course and continuing to move in the direction of health and happiness. I like how you opted to study longevity, slightly changing your focus, yet continuing in the direction you want to go and even increasing your enthusiasm to do so. Often it is something that may seem a subtle difference to an outside viewer that actually has a profound effect for the one living it. Nice article.

  57. you may be spending a lot in groceries but divided up per person and it’s not that bad, plus think how much you are saving in health care long term and the things you are able to do and experience because you treat your body so well! It is worth it!

  58. Oh, and I shared this article on facebook.

  59. I enjoyed reading this post, especially about what motivates you. I’ll have to think on that one a little longer.

  60. balancing is no easy task, thanks for the article. Great prize I hope to win.

  61. I’ve recently stopped eating meat (I don’t consider myself a vegetarian yet, lol) and found your great blog. I’d love to try the Garmin, since I love my watch and the app! Thanks for the chance to win!

  62. I really enjoy your writing. I struggle with balance in my life and it’s a constant thing I’m striving for. Thanks for the giveaway!

  63. I was just looking at these! I guess I’ll wait to see if I win before I pull the trigger and buy. 😉

  64. Also shared on Facebook.

  65. Great post! Really enjoying all your posts this year!

  66. Great post! This Garmin would be a great way to motivate me to move more throughout the day and get more steps!

  67. I’m a total data geek and would love a Vivofit!

  68. Great post bro! Would love to win a Vivofit!!!!!!

  69. Great post. Great site. I made a huge life change a few years ago and left my career to regain my health. I was really scared to do it and really proud of what I was able to achieve. Lately though I have lost all motivation, likely due to lack of goal setting. I am uncertain of my overall direction at this moment and have let everything slide due to a feeling of paralysis. Thanks for the clarity. I’m going to reflect on this.

  70. Great post Matt. I also find myself doing random, unimportant things (usually web surfing) when I should be out running. I love your ideas of how to get yourself out there and to motivate yourself.

  71. This is what I really love about NMA and Matt’s work: great to see recognition that aiming very high in terms of diet, exercise, ethics etc. does throw up challenges and sacrifices on occasion.

  72. I believe in the old adage: You are what you eat. Thank you for helping to keep me on track

  73. This post comes at exactly the right time! I’ve been struggling with a lack of motivation lately that’s starting to feel smothering. I bagged out of my 20 mile run this past Saturday because my water froze and that just put me over the edge. You’ve given me some good words that I think will help me climb out of this pit. Thank you!

  74. Alejandra Alvarez says:

    I just started running again after a car hit me on the knees a couple of years ago. Thank you for keeping people motivated to be better. Gracias!!!!

  75. While I can appreciate the comments here, the other side of the coin is being in a marriage where your partner doesn’t share the same views and can’t understand (and doesn’t really try to) what drives you. I cook two different meals each night and often like I’m sneaking around to get my runs in!

  76. I agree with your top 3 rules completely. I often think about my discipline regarding my fitness and diet and I know that other people think I am obsessive. I think it takes a certain amount of obsessiveness to stay fit and it takes balance and perspective to keep the obsessiveness in check. I like the idea of studying longevity instead of just healthy habits and will incorporate that into my regular health and wellness studies. Thanks – keep up the good work.

  77. Darcy Zimmerman says:

    I bought a vivofit and can’t seem to get it to start. Any suggestions?

  78. Great post! I am good at making plans, I just have to tell myself to stick to them when I try to ad lib. I always picture Robert Downey Jr. from Ironman when I say, “stick to the plan” to myself to try To keep distractions or second-guessing at bay.

  79. I appreciate how you have explained balancing your lifestyle with other things in life. That is where i struggle. I like how you said to do what motivates you, and for me the health benefits are my biggest motivator. My mother had to have quadruple bypass heart surgery when she was only 52 years old. I feel like i have literally watched myself go down the same path as her… But I can change that. I have the power to make healthy choices now and not have to experience the same medical issues add she has. Thank you for your wise words and for sharing your own progress. I really enjoy your posts!

  80. Jessica Latter says:

    I didn’t realize it until I read it but I needed that! I also shared the blog on my Facebook page 🙂

  81. Michele smith says:

    I love your blogs and gave taken many suggestions, I really would love the Vivofit as I belive this would help keep me moviated.

  82. Great post! I wold love to win. It would help me stay more active throughout the day.

  83. I wish i could get my husband on board with healthy eating. I’m vegan and he’s definitely not. I know he’s not going to give up meat, but i would love for him to at least make a commitment to eating healthy. He doesn’t really care about fresh produce or organics. I applaud you and your wife for partnering together in eating healthy and for Giving your kids Great examples to follow.
    I’d love a Vivofit. Wearing my Forerunner 305 just doesn’t work for capturing everyday steps.

  84. The running for me is not something I have struggled with. The eating has been a struggle but I find that the more energy I have, the easier it is to eat healthy. It was getting over that initial struggle and brining my spouse with me that really made the difference!

  85. Giveaways guarantee lots of comments, dont they?
    i have been meaning to comment anyway, the writerun31 challenge has me still writing the blog everyday, and more mindful of the crosstraining and running. So maybe I respond better if I think people are watching.

  86. I am so glad that I found your blog at the beginning of the year. You always have one Ah-Ha that jumps out and touches me. Today, “Just don’t stand still.”

    My work life is one that you think would be an active one, but I find that in reality, I barely move. I changed to a plant based diet in January to prepare my body for one of the biggest races I will face. At 52, I am donating a kidney in a few weeks. I am hoping that by being fit and eating well, will allow for a successful transplant for the recipient and an easier recovery for me.

    Thank you for what you do!

  87. Matt, you always make is sound simultaneously super easy and realisticly challenging! I’ve let a minor illness completely derail my training plan, so it’s time to refocus and rexamine my goals. Great post to think on!

  88. Great post! It just made me realised that if my goals are not bigger that what I know I can achieve “easily”, I am not interested or motivated to train for! So thank you for that and thank you for all your post.
    I share it in my website via Facebook.
    So as you can guess my wife and I are vegan and running barefoot 😉
    Take care Matt and keep sending us good information!

  89. Thanks for a great post Matt!

  90. Great article! Shared it on facebook.

  91. Thank you for the inspiration. I’m having a hard time committing to be 100% vegan. I’ve been 100% vegetarian for over 30 years. Time for the last 20% !

  92. i am totally stoked with your “easy” steps to wanting a lifestyle.
    too often we’re caught up in our “get-rich-get-everything-quick-schemes” that we forget that freaking HARD WORK is what gets you forward – grinding and hustling…
    yes, you don’t ALWAYS WANT to do something but you DO it because you know what the benefits are going to be…not the “features”…
    i love love love this post!
    thank you for the honesty!

  93. Thanks for the inspiration, the food for thought, and the give-away. Ever forward!

  94. Love this so much! It’s so true that you have to find out what goals motivate YOU and keep you going, because it’s not the same for everyone.

    Shared link on Instagram & Twitter. 😉

  95. I completely agree with the “things are either growing or dying” the more I read about diet and fitness the more I’m motivated to make continual improvements in my own life.

  96. Awesome post, I have to remind myself of the sacrifice thing regularly to help stick with what is truly important to me!

  97. I really appreciate this article. Posted on FB for friends to enjoy as well!

  98. Would love to win the Vivofit and posted this on my fitness Pinterest board!

  99. Andre Cornut says:

    Hi Matt, Thanks for another greatly motivating blog entry.

    I have been Vegan for 2-1/2 years now and am at the point where my changes were becoming very incremental. Your writings inspire me to up-my-game and the Garmin Vivofit would help me with my new goals towards my health and fitness.

    Many thanks from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    and thanks to everyone who makes the time to write a helpful comment.

  100. Gloria Spataro says:

    Hi Matt! I have been reading your blog entries since I began my vegan journey about a year ago.. Finding a balance between fitness, food, and the rest of my life has definitely proven to be quite the challenge.. But who doesn’t love a good challenge, right?! This lifestyle has taken my mind and body to a level I never throught possible, and I look forward to continually making improvements on a daily basis. Thank you for providing inspiring words and knowledge ! It sure does help along the way!!

  101. Thanks for this thought-provoking series and post and for the great giveaway.

  102. I read this post and thought HA he thinks so much like me. In the last year I really changed my habits. Now, like you, I spend most of my income on healthy food, and it’s incredible what its done to my body. I have visibly more lean muscle on me, my nails aren`t as brittle and oddly colored, and my eyebrows are thicker. I look healthier.

    Also, like you, I am so so motivated by habits that can lead to a longer life. I think that`s partially because of my health degree and because I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I get so excited when I read things like that exercise can add 10 disability free years onto your lifespan, that lifting weights and running can add bone density (preventing fractures), and that lots of fruits and vegetables can prevent cancer. Love the flossing facts too, like how it prevents heart disease.

  103. Kimberly M says:

    Thanks for all your great posts and giving us the motivation to keep moving. I shared this post via Twitter.

  104. Ruth Abate says:

    Always a great morning read to get me motivated! Sharing on Facebook!

  105. I often wonder “How does he do it all” and now I at lest know three ways. Keep up the great work! I look forward to more podcasts, blog, e-mails and all. Now go tackle your day!

  106. Thanks for this series Matt. Great as always!

  107. Just what I needed to hear! I just returned from doing Ragnar, Florida Keys and I am trying to get my life back into some sort of balance. Thanks for the inspiring words and helping me realize that I need to continue to set goals and not be afraid to make the changes that will make my family healthier!

  108. I battled with guilt from my ridiculously high grocery bill for a while when I first moved to NYC solo, but I eventually realized that I was making a serious investment in my health and well-being. And just like that, every penny spent on food, especially organic produce, became an investment into my future. It’s a trade-off – I personally rarely go out to eat (yup, even with the incredible food culture here in NYC) so the money saved all goes back into my grocery shopping.

    Great post!

  109. I shared your great post on Facebook. I am evaluating what motivates me so that I can strive harder for those goals.

    thank you for your motivation!

  110. Great article. I’ve really enjoyed reading your work over the past few months, it’s been an inspiration to me in my own health journey. Thank you.

  111. I find that thinking about what motivates me actually has the opposite effect on me: It makes me feel so overwhelmed that I fall back into the worst of my habits (hello pepperoni rolls!). Instead I’m focusing on daily/near-daily habits: walking every day, drinking a smoothie with breakfast, stretching out my hips, a fast bodyweight workout. One day at a time is more effective for me than looking at the big picture.

  112. I’ve been battling injuries for about a year now, and staying motivated to be active while not being able to run has been very difficult. Maybe I’ll try setting a non-running fitness goal. Btw, paragraph 10 or 11 should be “staying active” instead of “saying active”. Thanks for a good post.

  113. Alanna Simms says:

    I am a mom, hospital based Physical Therapist, ironman triathlete, and budding ultra runner. I started on this Vegan journey with Dr. Fuhrman’s book about 1 year ago. I was waning on this plan as I didn’t have faith in the Vegan/ vegetarian diet for athletes. Then I discovered No Meat Athlete, Scott Jurek’s book, and Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra which gave me reason to believe this may a better way to fuel race performance and life. I’m slowly discovering the ethical side through documentaries like Forks over Knives.
    I’m not 100 percent vegetarian or vegan yet but closer than ever. I eat way more vegetables and lentils and my diet is plant based.
    I’m trying to share my healthier eating with my family and friends whenever I can.
    I try to share my love of fitness too especially with clients with chronic disease like COPD. Pedometers have worked to,increase activity in these folks but are awkward for some for several reason. A garmin vivofit would be am amazing tool to share with them to see current activity levels and work towards more steps.
    Thanks for the chance to enter the draw.
    PS love your honest, speak from own experience and knowledge approach to blog and podcast

  114. Great points. Over the past 6 weeks, I have been buying pretty much nothing processed, except for wheat bread for my kids’ sandwiches. The grocery bill has gone up probably 50%, but part of it is offset by the fact that we eat leftovers for lunch now instead of getting takeout. My husband and I are less grumpy, and it’s definitely a good investment in living longer. I’ve been on a several week hiatus from the gym after a foot sprain, but I can’t wait to get back to it, and a vivofit would definitely be a bonus!

  115. Sometimes you just loose your juice for what got you to where you are. I love mountain biking and it’s what has kept me feeling good at 57. I’ll do other things for a while but the biking is what I love and I always come back to it. Same with the diet. At first I was a strict vegan. It was tough at first but when I started dropping 5lbs a week from the 225 lbs on on 57 inch frame the motivation came easier. Now I am not so strict and would rather call myself plant based than vegan because I do stray away. But I always stay close to the base because I am much healthier now than in my 40’s.

  116. Elin Babcock says:

    After two blocked carotid artery surgeries, I became an avid vegan vegetarian with healthy results. I have cooked through many recipes and love the newness of flavors and spices. My physical goal is to walk the Camino to Santiago in Spain celebrating my 70th along the Way. Not being a big walker and not even owning a backpack, I started training. Your encouraging comments have meant the world to me especially motivating in the winter. With thanks and appreciation.

  117. Balance is hard. Thanks for the encouragement.

  118. I think you make a really good point that obsession can be a good thing. My husband has sometimes been frustrated with all of my “diet experiments” and their effect on his life. Your post really drove home that these experiments have been a way for me to not get bored eating healthy; they help me continually moving toward the goal of a happier, more fulfilled life.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  119. Kevin Stopford says:

    My goal this year is to resume running. And winning a Garmin Vivofit would be a great way to do that. I will share this post on Facebook.

  120. This would be a great way for me to track my progress. I am trying to lose weight and get fit to be able to do a Mudathlon with my nephew that is going through cancer. He is having surgery to crack the chest and remove tumor and is determined to recover quick to be able to do race. He is my motivation to get fit and healthy for life.

  121. Susan Peterson says:

    Thanks for all your good tips! Reading your posts keeps me motivated!

  122. Martha Lawson says:

    I really need a vivo!

  123. We’re learning SO much from you! Problem in our house is: 4 people, 4 different preferred diets.
    1 vegan
    1 gluten, sugar, dairy-free
    1 “traditional”
    1 VERY picky eater
    It’s tough getting meals on and we’ve basically started doing “on own” meals way too much, which leads to fewer meals together, more waste, more mess, etc.
    Will be down to three in a month (we’re hosting an exchange student), and I think the picky eater, my husband, will lose out! : )

  124. I need the VivoFit to help with my motivation. I’m struggling!! Arrgggg I just want to be able to do it all without struggling!!

  125. Would love the Vivofit. We have had similar conversations regarding our grocery/CSA bill many times and with kids there is never a question about whether the money could be used elsewhere but we come to the same conclusion: our body is only as good as what we put in to it.

  126. Choice and balance– the operative words. Excellent post.

  127. Great post. There are also some great comments, I enjoy reading what other people do to stay motivated!

  128. Another outstanding post – thank you. Your first thing, “…you have to prioritize and make sacrifices” has always been the hardest for me professionally – but it is the only way to truly make progress and achieve big goals. Thank you for the inspiration (and the reminder)!

  129. Great post! I am training for my first Broad Street Run (a 10-miler for all of you non-Philadelphians out there.) I work full-time, have an 11 year old, and a spouse that works shifts so trying to find time to fit it all in is a challenge. I needed this straight talk right about now!

  130. Well written. Thank you!

  131. I have been a passive vegan for the past few months. I am officially on 10 straight days. I have felt so much better and strong when running. I face the same challenge of should I spend more on produce, for me the answer is also always yes.

  132. Great advice. My goal this year is to get pregnant, which is not as easy as it sounds for me. I have a host of conditions that have prevented us from conceiving with 7 years of “practice.” This year , I am focusing most of my energy to becoming healthier in hopes of increasing the chances of achieving the goal. Wish me luck!!!

  133. i also wince every time I check out at the grocery. Eating healthy is not cheap, but I remind my husband it is cheaper than medical costs later in life. I am the only vegan in my household but I am still committed to making sure my 3 children eat healthy and learn good habits. I never was and it took years, if not a decade to learn.

  134. Great post, Matt! I’ve been trying to justify spending as much as I do on groceries lately, but you’re right – it’s worth it! All about the give and take.. Vivofit is a great giveaway!

  135. I thought I was active because I ran 3-4 times a week and didn’t need to resort to using activity trackers. I found an used Fitbit for cheap on Craigslist and out of curiosity, decided to find how many steps I was taking on my non-running days. I was rather shocked to discover that I was barely clocking 2,000 steps per day and even more surprised that 10,000 steps involves quite a lot – sometimes even on days when running 5 miles barely inched past 10,000 steps. I have renewed appreciation for activity trackers now into giving insights, I wouldn’t have found out without using one.

  136. Thanks for all the healthy living information and advice. I enjoy reading your blog!

  137. Great post! Thanks for the info. The giveaway looks awesome , too!

  138. Thanks for your thoughtful posts. Four years ago, I had a ruptured appendix and almost died. After 7 weeks in the hospital and numerous complications (I was also 5 months pregnant, and we lost our son), I had lost almost all of my muscles. I hit my 28th birthday feeling about 90, with a cane and all. Since then, I have been experimenting heavily with diet (all over the board- vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whole foods, etc) trying to find something that works with my permanent gut problems. I find exercise helps, and my husband was totally supportive and we trained for our first sprint triathlon together in 2012 (even though he could have totally finished faster than me, we did the whole first race side by side and crossed the finish line holding hands!). In 2013 we did three sprint tris and some running races. Last year we diversified- he’s more into trail running now and is training for his first half trail marathon. I did a half century bike ride and my first half marathon (I’m slow, really slow, but I finish). But this year has been just a series of terrible slumps, keeping me from swimming, biking, and running. So I am facing huge discouragement and I don’t know what I’m going for anymore. I’ve also realized long distance events kind of leave you wondering, “I did a 5k. Can I go 4 miles? 5? A half marathon? A full? An ultra?” Once you start building, you realize probably the limit is more your available time to train (and be injury free), not necessarily the distance you’d realistically accomplish. We are also transitioning from me being a stay at home mom to returning to the working world as our other child enters kindergarten. The concept of balance and priorities have been on my mind for months. We both kind of would like to do a marathon or ultra, but I am torn about the time commitment and finding “balance” with our other values. It’s so great to hear from someone who uses his blog to encourage others, whether they are strictly vegan and run ultras or not (and has a family with young kids!). You do make it look easy, so I appreciate your honesty that it’s not easy. Even though my husband prefers more of a whole foods diet, I love sharing your work with him because I think most of your posts are encouraging and have something we are also thinking about. Thanks for another good one- I’ll pass it along, too!

  139. I’m curious to see how an activity tracker would influence my behavior. Would love to win a Vivofit!

  140. Great post, thanks for continuing with your blog and with your podcasts!!

  141. I just signed up for my very first 5K run, thanks in part to the wonderful motivation I find at No Meat Athlete. I find myself constantly thumbing through your book during (rare) quiet moments and I always find something from you or Matt Ruscigno that I can apply to my life. Thanks for being such an inspiration – and pick me for the Garmin!!

  142. Thanks! I would love a Garmin vívofit especially since the current tracker I have is just not advanced enough for my needs and I would love to find something new.
    Also, one thing that comes up from your post and which I struggle with is having your family on board! My husband supports me with my goals and my vegetarianism (which started long before we met), but does not have the same understanding of fitness and diet as I do which sometimes makes it a bit hard to follow my plan, especially since (luckily!) he cooks 50% of the time… Any ideas on how to get your family on board?

  143. I would love to win a vivofit. I have a reasonably OK exercise routine, but I work from home in a desk job. More and more research shows that you cannot out-exercise all that sitting and that it’s important to move during the day. I’m thinking something like a Vivofit could help with those 23 hours of the day that I’m not exercising.

  144. Great post. And a very timely read for me as I am currently struggling to maintain this balance. I think, for me, my motivation shifts into something else and I often have a hard time figuring out exactly what that is. I’m in that space now and have to remember to be gentle with myself until I can pinpoint my motivation and get back on track. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  145. Great post once again. Rich Roll and you are my main role models (and since you made me discover Rich Roll in one of your early podcasts, I guess that makes you my number one role model 🙂

    Keep on the good work.

    I shared your post on my Facebook page. (sorry for the mostly french page…)

  146. I really enjoy your diet experiments and big goals, it’s inspiring and makes me think why not try something big. Keep inspiring!

  147. Great post and I would love to win this.

  148. And I have shared your article.

  149. Awesome post! I think most people will avoid the difficult things we must do to reach our goals. This post really got to the point as to why we don’t do what we know needs to be done. Well said!

  150. I took notes while reading this post. I, too, found that by learning what motivates me – 100 mile races, the series Gnarly Bandit – running 4 100 miles races for 2015-is what I use to get out and run the trail each day. I like your ‘not wanting to kill, not wanting to die as motivation for keeping the vegan lifestyle. I’m recovering from Morton’s Neuroma surgery and my training hard is on hold. I find this very difficult! Thanks for sharing!

  151. I took notes while reading this post. I, too, found that by learning what motivates me – 100 mile races, the series Gnarly Bandit – running 4 100 miles races for 2015-is what I use to get out and run the trail each day. I like your ‘not wanting to kill, not wanting to die as motivation for keeping the vegan lifestyle. I’m recovering from Morton’s Neuroma surgery and my training hard is on hold. I find this very difficult! Thanks for sharing! Shared on FB and my blog 🙂

  152. I consider spending money on quality food like health insurance. So even though you will never know for sure, you are preventing medical bills!

  153. Thanks for the great article and helping to keep me on track.

  154. Angela DeLucco says:

    This was a perfect post for me to read today – I have run 23 marathons and over the past 9 months running has taken a back seat to my new job and that also affects how I’ve been eating. That all needs to change now! the vivofit will help me see how little changes can make a big impact and give me that big “nudge” to get moving when I’m not meeting my goals.

  155. This would be helpful for me to jump start healthy no-meat living! Working full time and taking graduate school courses full time has been a downer on my activity, a Garmin Vivofit would be the perfect boost! 🙂

  156. Really great post! I just started new-to-me strength training (CrossFit) and am slowly re-introducing the other activities that I love (cycling & running) to keep me motivated. I have been successful at losing 8 pounds since the beginning of the year primarily through focused healthy eating and moderate exercise all while tending to a pinched nerve in my back and limited mobility (which caused the weight gain in the first place…bah!). Fully understanding that I *must* strengthen in addition to the endurance activities I enjoy has set a fire in my belly so I can track and feel increased speed and reduce injuries (oh so many in the past…).

    Here’s to a fantastic 2015 and thanks for the reminder that whatever balance there is it is an individual process of choices and if you want to make it happen it certainly is possible no matter the circumstances :))

  157. Cora Kirkpatrick says:

    Fantastic post! Thank you for the giveaway!
    I tweeted the post. 🙂

  158. Brooke Lagrasso says:

    Thank you for this article. Thanks for doing a giveaway as well!

  159. I love Garmin products and would love to try the vivofit.

  160. Great post! Keep ’em coming

  161. Thanks for the great post Matt. It’s always a pleasure reading about the successes (and struggles) of other vegan athletes.

  162. Thanks for the chance to win. You have written a few things that really hit home to me!

  163. Jason Mason says:

    thanks for doing these contests!

  164. Melanie Easley says:

    A Vivofit would be great for me to use while I am teaching P.E. I try to lead by example and not be preachy. I have taught Physical Education for 30 years and only in the past five years have I finally gotten it right….whole foods plant based diet…I recently picked up running again using the tips in your book…love it! Thanks for all your valuable information!

  165. Hi Matt!
    I really enjoy reading your posts! I’m also big on changing things to help me live a better quality of life. Working toward my goals that I have set is truly a great motivator! And reading posts like this one helps to keep me focused.
    Thanks for all the motivation!

  166. Thanks for the great perspective and I’m looking forward to winning…pick me, pick me!

    Thanks again; keep doing what you do! I find your posts interesting and informational and often inspiring! Continued good luck to you…

  167. Its been a process gradually incorporating exercise into my life, to a point now it feels essential. Making the food thing easy has yet to come, but I am hoping that is a gradual process too and I’ll get there (or nearby a least) in the end.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win a Garmin vivofit.

  168. “Floss the teeth you wish to keep.” Hearing that was my motivator, and I have been religiously flossing nightly ever since!

    Thanks for the great and thought-provoking post, Matt.As a nutrition coach, I know that uncovering someone’s motivation – an individual’s powerful WHY is critical to success in dieting, fitness and life.

    Sharing your post on Facebook – would love to try the Garmin. I, like you and others who have written here, spend a lot of my income of healthy food, which means “extras” like me fitness trackers are usually not able to be purchased. Thank you for your generosity and great work!

  169. Catherine Thompson says:

    I struggle with motivation…way to inspire! Need to form healthy habits!!!

  170. Just posted on twitter @Kschus703! Fingers crossed on this one!

  171. I would love to win the vivofit for my husband. He does a lot of hard labor and would like to know exactly how much eh is moving. We are transitioning the family to a plant based diet.

    I shared your post to my Pinterest.

  172. I’ve always wanted to try a vivofit. Hopefully, now is my chance!

  173. Your articles always make me reflect on where I am and where I want to be.

    Thanks for the chance to win the Garmin!

  174. It’s hard to have a consistent workout planned unless I have a big goal like a marathon.
    Shared on Facebook!

  175. Nicollette D says:

    Great post, Matt. You’re right about prioritizing and sacrificing. For me, there’s a lot of time spent in the kitchen and/or training at the expense of other hobbies and socialization, but in the long run, it’s right for me.

  176. Thanks for sharing your experience. It would be nice to say that living healthy is easy, but that would be a lie. I agree it has to be a priority, and it’s hard at times. My husband and I have the same conversations about the money we spend on food…cause I spend a lot on our food. My impulse buys are fresh organic chard and beet greens. Is that weird? lol But, in the end, we both agree our health is worth it.

  177. Great post– I really appreciate your thoughts here! And I would LOVE to win the Vivofit!

  178. I also reposted this– I pinned it on Pinterest 🙂

  179. Great post! I’m sharing on my fb page and in a private workout group I’m in.

  180. Brieana W. says:

    Since becoming Vegan, I have learned so much about QUALITY foods over cheap price tags. Not only do I want to buy fresh, organic produce, I want to do everything I can to support local organic farmers.
    I grew up in a family with many obesity-related health issues and I want to get fit before I start developing the same issues. It’s very difficult to change your habits when you’re used to a sedentary lifestyle.
    Thank you for your inspiring words, I love your podcast!

    I also shared this blog post on Twitter. My username is BrieBrite.

  181. Great post, I think the idea of prioritization as a part of balance is huge! People often ask me how I find time for something like training for a long race, the whole point is that I don’t “find” time, I prioritize it. If it’s a priority and a passion then it’s just a part of what I do, I don’t have to find any extra time in the day to carve out for it!

  182. Monya Tabor says:

    Matt – Thank you. Used your half marathon training program to train for a half marathon and have started using it again to get my run on (last few months of 2014 kicked my butt emotionally, so exercise took the hit). I am stealing your phrase, “Not wanting to kill and not wanting to die”. Awesome. I am changing careers from a government bureaucrat to a health coach in 2015. I too am motivated by the long term goal of aging well. Thank you so much for all you do. My motto is “Aging well is the prize, you can pay on the front end with choices, or on the back end with meds.” – Monya

  183. Valerie Cloutier says:

    Great post! Nothing is easy, but we all are able to achieve our goals when finding the right motivation.

  184. Mike Anderson says:

    Great post, keep it up! Thanks for the giveaway this week!

  185. Enjoyed your post – knowing how to tap into your personal motivation is key.

  186. I think the root of my challenge is that I’m not really sure what motivates me. I know it’s not getting faster or any particular race ( I’ve tried signing up for half marathons and marathons as motivation and I just wound up dragging through them undertrained) and it’s not living longer. Maybe it’s something as shallow as looking fit! This blog has given me something to think about for sure.

  187. Wow– would love a vivo! I sit the majority of the work-day — and this would do the trick to get me moving more!

  188. Nice article and a great blog! I’m glad I discovered your articles, it really helped me realize and embrace that you don’t need meat to be a healthy athlete.

  189. What motivates me is wanting to reach my peak fitness! 🙂

  190. We, my husband & I, are partners in life as well as business. We see fitness, health and a balance of the two as some of the smartest financial planning decisions you can make. We’ve given up watching screens at night, no TV for us. We workout in the mornings and as it gets hotter in Phoenix we move our walks & hikes to 6 a.m. We both spend time in the kitchen chopping veggies to maintain our healthy eat regimes. We feel great & it makes us happy to live this lifestyle.

  191. Matt,

    Thanks for the encouragement to look at what motivates me and why I feel stuck in a rut. Inspiring post!

  192. Love this post- I’m about to graduate from college and I’ve already begun researching how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Luckily, my monthly allowance has been able to sustain my commitment to eating organic, mindful foods… I know that if I ever have difficulty maintaining my budget post-grad my parents will suggest I simply stop buying healthy food and eat “normally.” Fueling with plant-based foods fuels not only body, but my soul as well and I’m ready to start cutting spending elsewhere before my food budget!

    I would LOVE a vivo because I’m ready for my next big test of my body/mind. I completed a 70.3 last June and now I want to do a marathon (surprisingly haven’t crossed it off the list yet). I know a Vivo would help me reach my goal as well as better understand my body.

  193. I would love to win! Thanks for the giveaway!! Love the blog!!

  194. I love your website! Thanks for always sharing such awesome ideas. I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a vivofit, so I have to throw my name into win one! 🙂

  195. I like this. I think we make things seem much more complex than they are just to get away from having to face that it all comes down to what we prioritize and how we commit. Also, I’m glad I’m not alone in the spending-more-money-at-the-grocery-store-than-seems-reasonable camp. It’s worth it to buy real food! I’ve been considering purchasing a fitness tracker because 2015 was supposed to be “the year,” but can’t pull the trigger on my grad student budget. I also shared your post on Twitter 🙂

    Thanks for the useful advice, as always!

  196. Love the article and the giveaways!

  197. Carlos Paz says:

    My life goal is live more than 100 and I try to do every think I can to achive it turning into learning everything I can while I live and doing as much as posible of every experience

  198. Marcia Reyling says:

    I am a personal trainer and health coach, but following blogs like yours and many others that helps to keep me inspired and it is easy to focus more on my clients than myself and sometimes I find myself in a rut with my workouts. I often recommend a step tracker to my clients knowing from others who have used it, to help track activity and help them stay motivated. I often think I should use one myself (practice what you preach) but also there are so many out there, I would love to win the give away and be able to speak first hand and recommend something I believe in.:)
    Thanks for keeping me inspired in my passion of health and fitness
    Marcia Reyling

  199. it’s a shame that most people do not realize how important it is to eat well and exercise until it is too late. Your posts always motivate me to continue my lifestyle and share my knowledge with others.

  200. I’ve enjoyed the blog this year. Great stuff.

  201. This lifestyle is a total balancing act. I’ve been vegan, vegetarian, lacto/ovo combinations, paleo and GF. I’m comfortable to say I’m balancing my life as a flexitarian 🙂

  202. I have always been interested to know how many Steps I take during the day.

  203. Understanding and accepting the sacrifices you have to make is the only way to stick with a healthy lifestyle. If it was easy, we’d all be healthy and in shape. I read your blog for that frequent reminder to make smarter choices at meal time, like skipping the buffalo wings and instead using buffalo sauce as a salad dressing.

  204. Such great ideas about goal-setting! I’ve changed “maybe do a triathlon or two” into “Do a 70.3 triathlon!” Thanks for the inspiration.

  205. I’ve just started my own diet experiment. Well ‘experiment’ might be a bit strong at the minute since it’s only the first day (after quite a few attempts at getting it started) but it’s been an interesting day. I’ve already half way prepared for tomorrow so I may get to day 3 this time! Well at least before I have to start doing some more thinking about it. There were a few hiccups today but I mostly got where I was aiming for which is the main thing. Going to try to do better tomorrow 🙂

  206. I’d like a new gadget! Thank you, Amanda

  207. Great post, Matt

  208. What a great series,Matt. I appreciate you sharing your passion in such a non-judgemental, honest and accessible fashion.

    Staying focused on the big lifetime goals/values helps a ton, but I still fall off the fitness
    wagon sometimes.

    Reading your posts reminds me that reading about health and fitness does not suffice, I have to DO the simple things you outlined to maintain it.

    Thank you!

  209. Clay Schermerhorn says:

    I agree with a previous commenter…I find it a challenge to figure out what (successfully) motivates me at times, especially for a sustained time.

    As always, love the site and love the posts.

  210. Great advice! Thank you!

  211. Saralyn Jantzi says:

    You’re posts continue to create inspiration. Personal testimony is always an encourager! I shared this post on my “I work out” pinterest board. Hopefully others will enjoy it.

    • Saralyn Jantzi says:

      I’m not really lacking in motivation at the moment but I think community road/trail races would definitely help encourage me to create more specific goals. What do you suggest when you can’t find any locally? It seems like a nuisance to drive two hours to the closest race. But maybe that’s what it takes.

  212. Sign me up (for the gadget AND the motivation)!

    I’ve gone from obese to fit – and about to run my first marathon – in less than a year by committing to a whole foods plant-based diet, and I love that you’re out there spreading the gospel of running on plants. I hope my own website (plant-based recipes and wellness coaching) someday reaches half as many people! Keep up the awesome work.

  213. Great post as usual. Always appreciate your insight.

  214. Great post. Not a lot of people sharing their experiences with health and fitness will bring up the difficult aspects – the sacrifices and choices you have to make in pursuit of your goals.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and ideas.

  215. Tamara Riley says:

    To start this I set 3 major goals for myself to keep me motivated: run 2-half marathons, run one full marathon, and continue my road to health by staying vegan. So far, I have completed my first half, am registered for my second and have made the switch to raw vegan. And just to keep things in perspective, set a five year goal to BQ. This will keep my focused in my health and fitness. Thanks for all your posts and podcasts-certainly help keep me going:)

  216. One september morning i woke up to what thought would be a 30 km bike ride more to be a company to my friend’s training routine. Needless to say that i used my city mountain bike whereby she used her carbon pro bike…however she needed a company for an easu training and i needed a confirmation that i was still fit to do the round. Not only did a 30km bike ride turned out to be 30km each way, but actually total of 98.6km fun ride coml,eted in 3.5hrs. I know, she would have done it in less time, but with me as her ‘ stumblimg stone’ we did it in 3.5 hrs! Ever since that september morning, i am challenging myself riding bike longer and farther as well as running…hoping to enter my 1st half marathon back home! I can t wait…
    And yes, would love to win Vivofit!!

  217. Thank you for all of the useful information you post. I really enjoy your blog!!

  218. I have the same dilemma with spending lots of money on food. But every time I really think about it, I decide it’s definitely worth spending the money on fresh, healthy food. I also definitely need a race to keep me motivated. My goals aren’t as lofty as a 100 miler but an olympic triathlon does the trick for me.

  219. Great blog post–I always love reading your posts and appreciate when you email about them, as I tend not to just check to see if there is a post! Thanks for all you do!

  220. When it comes to being healthy, it’s pretty cheap to buy nicer food. I’ll be sharing this link on my blog and facebook as it’s good advice.

  221. Great thoughts. I also get bored so I am looking for ways to motivate me to continue on my journey to the best health. I am going to sign up for my first 5k this year. I might make it 2 depending how it goes. Not an easy feat for someone who has not jogged for close to 20 years. I hope to win the give away, might be a tool to motivate me to run.

  222. Great post, and I love Garmin’s products. Shared on Facebook.

  223. celia yong says:

    I’ve been a vegan runner for six years now and a vegetarian for 16 years. Spending on organic and whole is indeed the best investment for my body. Recovery after a race is not a problem. Keep injury at minimum. Enjoying more time running.
    Each time I read about you post(s) is just like you giving me a thumbs up that I am doing the right thing.

  224. Trisha Drake says:

    Yippee a giveaway!

  225. Jennifer L. says:

    I have two motivations right now, my first half marathon and my 1 year old son Archer. The half marathon got me running again. Archer motivates me to be a healthy vegetarian and provide a good role model for him and others. I rarely go a day without a smoothie and salad!

  226. This year I am focusing on marathon training as well as multiple other strength training competitions so being able to track my progress is key. A vivofit would help motivate me to push myself.

  227. I’ve been a follower of your site for a while now, and would love to own a Fitbit. My company just joined a program called Virgin Pulse that rewards us for being active accumulating steps each day. Each quarter, the points are added up and we are able to save anywhere from $200-$800 per year on our health insurance premiums depending on how active we were each quarter.

    Owning a Fitbit would allow me to track my steps more accurately, and I wouldn’t need to rely on always carrying my phone with me to track each step (especially during runs).

    Shared to my Twitter account!

  228. Great giveaway and advice! I genuinely love exercise and lift weights, do pilates, or some sort of circuit training every day but just can’t get into running! I was really relieved in your post on it that it’s not easy or natural for everyone. I have knee issues and haven’t been able to run in a couple of years so while I still don’t miss running, I do miss the races and the whole atmosphere and fun that comes with it. I also worry that I don’t get much cardio so this would be a cool way to motivate myself to at least get up and walk more!

  229. I am walking now to move toward running. I have a big goal for next year. It’s not always easy. This is a great article. I’ve shared it in two private FB groups dedicated to plant based living and exercise. Thanks!

  230. I connect with and learn from your comments about goal setting. I find myself analyzing and revising goals often. Thanks!

  231. Kathie Rose says:

    LOVE the don’t want to kill and don’t want to die” comment. Although it does sound glib, it’s not, it’s true and real. I’m a distance endurance cyclist (used to be a marathoner) and I have an incredible amount of energy from my whole foods. I’m never going back. Keep up the good work…100 miles is REALLY far. I’d love to win this giveaway, I’d be visually motivated on top of being mentally on the move.

  232. Would really like to use the garmin for that extra motivation. Thanks!

  233. I always find some wisdom on your posts and feel inspired after reading.

    thank you for your shares and giveaways….always fun.

  234. I totally get you on the food bill and I often ask myself if it’s worth it. And I keep reminding myself that it is.

  235. Love the idea of internal motivation! If it’s not for you, then who is it for and is that really sustainable? Thanks for the great giveaway!

  236. An awesome read. You’ve helped me in my quest to stop eating meat and a goal of running a Vegan 50k in my area.
    I’ve posted this article on my business FB page. As a Fitness coach these are things I talk
    about a lot having goals and making changes in life. Gives us direction in life and makes us feel alive and accomplished.
    Thank you

  237. Fascinated by the flossing info!! Also love the idea of knowing what motivates *you* and using that to stay/get focused. Thanks! 🙂

  238. Nice article series…. I always love to read more about your running.

  239. Thanks for a great vegan running blog.

  240. Joy Stemen says:

    I forwarded this to several of my friends who are trying to keep with a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it is hard for me to put into words on how to keep it up since it’s become more a habit for me. Thanks for giving someone a chance the garmin band:)

  241. First trail marathon vs Boston snow; I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I guess a major goal has been the only thing motivating 95% of my recent miles as well!

  242. Lindsay Teplesky says:

    Great article! My husband has a Vivofit and raves about it.

  243. Once again, you pointed out what makes athletes in general, and NMAs so special. It’s not only dedication to our sport, it’s a way of life and an every day fight against ourselves to be and feel better. Thanks for that.

  244. Brandon Dawson says:

    Great post as usual! I would love a vivofit!

  245. Great post. It gave me alot to think about as I’ve been struggling with motivation. I’ve been eyeballing devices like the Vivofit for that reason.

  246. Luke Harmon says:

    I have struggled on and off with optimizing my diet and exercising consistently. I am in graduate school and find it difficult to motivate myself to run after a long day of studying, especially in cold temps! My girlfriend has the same issue. A Vivofit would be a cool way for her to feel better about how much exercise she actually gets!

  247. Great post! Great advice!.

  248. Knowing that others occasionally struggle with focus is helpful…

  249. After reading your posts on the Vivofit I would love to give it a try!

  250. Thanks for your post! I like that you pointed out the importance of sacrifices and priorities in order to achieve goals. It’s easy to forget that sacrificing some things are key to maintaining and creating balance. Also, I’m excited about your giveaway. I’ve been looking into some kind of fitness tracker for awhile now and the Garmin vivofit is one of the best out there.

  251. Jaime Tummino says:

    Great summary post Matt, Those habit are hard but do able…
    a few things that motivate me are accountability, and measurability.
    I also shared this on Facebook. 🙂

  252. This post gives me something to think about. I am constantly added new goals to my calendar and this is reminder that I need to seek balance with everything I value, rather than focus on one aspect at the detriment of several others.

  253. That’s a helpful explanation about how you prioritize food and grocery shopping. I have a hard time sometimes and feel guilty about how much we are spending. It’s those nuts and yummy grains and dried fruit and our constant need for fresh produce that adds up. …Would love a vivofit! I also tweeted your post for a 2nd entry.

  254. i just recently found No Meat Athlete.. having fun going through your archives and listening to your podcasts! I’ve been vegan for a long time now, and i recently gave birth to baby #4. i am feeling very motivated right now to get back into shape.. i am learning so much from you guys.. thanks! i’ve committed to running every single day for 30 days.. and i’m giving myself permission to go crazy slow, as you suggest.. just to get into the habit of it. i can increase my speed later.

  255. Would love to win! I agree with this post. As a busy, homeschooling mom of 8…I have to keep motivated and try to balance. Running gives me my “me time” and some much needed stress relief. I also hope I am setting a good example to my chikdren

  256. I love that you talk about balancing & longevity. I really struggle with balancing it all and winning a vivo could help me be more aware..

  257. Thanks for the motivation!! Time to map out some new goals!

  258. Great post Matt. And great giveaway, I would love to win!

  259. I’m in it to win it! I also shared this post at:

  260. Thanks for the constant motivation! In the past two years, I’ve gone from eating a typical processed diet to cutting out all processed foods and all meat. I’ve also limited the amount of dairy I consume, and only occasionally eat seafood. It feels great to have made so many positive changes in the way that my family and I eat, and I love the support of the NMA community!

  261. Jordyn Manucci says:

    Love the recommit to writing and fitness. I’ve set a BIG goal for me this year, so I can appreciate goals others are taking as well. I’d love to win! thanks!

  262. Great post, the change of mindset around longevity & goal setting really resonated with me.

  263. If your why is broken, so is your how (Heather McEwan)
    Another way of remembering your second point in todays blog.

  264. My son brought home a vegetarian girlfriend a couple years ago, and so to make her feel welcome, I made vegetarian meals for her. I didn’t know of any – I had to do a little research, but we all really enjoyed the meals and started to incorporate them into the usual line-up. And that made me happy. So I incorporated more and more, and before I knew it, I took the plunge. I still eat fish maybe once a month, and I still eat cheese and dairy, but those are next. I’d like to eliminate seafood, cheese, & dairy altogether.

    I expect cheese will be the hardest thing to stop. I bought a vegan cheese (made with chemicals) the other day and it made my stomach ill. So that experiment failed. Next I will try a nut-based cheese. But I’m inclined right now to just give up all cheese including alternatives. I think the only time I’ll miss it is on pizza.

  265. Another great post Matt! Thanks a bunch for sharing, and keep up the great work!

  266. Obsession is a GREAT thing when it comes to your lifestyle and health. I JUST decided this morning in yoga that a re-evaluation of what I need to obsess about next is in order and here’s your post! THANK YOU!!! Spreading the word.

  267. So excited! I’m “Waking Up” – order in! Gonna go Tweet…that NEW Garmin would be a PERFECT obsession. My Forerunner 205 is a bit out dated. LOL

  268. Great read!

  269. David Reynolds says:

    Good read Matt!

    I am pretty conscious of my personal demons and generally spot them coming in or out of my life.
    Sugar tends to creep in and out, I try to limit this, but sometimes I allow it and it gets carried away.

    It is those moments I have to seriously monitor where I am, my particular goals and if this is something that will cause me to not achieve that goal (athletically)

    My biggest example will be expresso drinks.

    I can get the same alertness I am looking for from yerbe matte and without a jittery crash later, yet I find my self drinking these when I’m not full on guard.

    Then I feel like it is just more I have to do to burn off that sugar.

    Identifying my issues is the start.

  270. Great giveaway…would love to play around with the vivofit!!

  271. Wendy LaPointe says:

    Matt, I really enjoyed this post. I love your focus on compassion, family, and wellness! As a parent, I always feel like the stakes are so much higher with the life we model. Keep doing what you do, and please know how appreciated you and your work are!

  272. i loved this post. My biggest thing is that I need something to keep me going. If I had this garmin device it would help me keep track and keep on track 🙂

  273. I would love to win a vivofit as I want to get back to running after of months of recovery from knee injury.

    Shared your post on Facebook as well.

  274. Vivofits seem pretty cool! It would be very interesting and encouraging to use one.
    I also shared on pinterest.

  275. Alex Smith says:

    I’ve only recently discovered this website and I absolutely love it. My friends have always caked new a, “pizza and beer vegetarian.” This place is definitely helping me get better at that.

    And a free vivofit wouldn’t hurt either.

  276. As usual, another great post and information. Thanks.

  277. Jaci Woinarowicz says:

    I just came across your blog today & am excited to learn more! Working at a Health Food Store for almost a year has opened my eyes to so many opportunities to eat as healthfully as possible & also to never ending learning opportunities. Being a runner for 10 years & a biker for 1year, I am struggling with trying to replenish calories in the best way possible, so am excited to learn more through this blog. I am hoping to add on swimming & possibly do a Tri this year. My coworker at work has a Vivo & loves it! She’s always excitedly telling me how many steps she’s put in at work. Thanks for taking the time to blog!

  278. Great post! It’s just what I need to help me found how to keep up with my fitness goals. I need to find what motivates me to keep going.

    Please include me in the Vivofit drawing. Ì also tweeted this article out (@nielsentch)

  279. Monica Chea says:

    Great post! Thanks

  280. Barbara Ann says:

    I really appreciate how you don’t act like this is “oh so easy”. The comment that really struck me was about your grocery bill. Yes, you could save money but what is more important than what we use to fuel our bodies? Thanks for the reminder.

    I would love a vivofit as many of my friends have one and it would help us connect without food or alcohol!

  281. A great post on balancing good intentions with real life, but what really caught my eye was the revelation that you find long runs boring! I’m building up my distance at the moment and have found the same problem – I thought I would never be able to call myself a runner if I didn’t find the process inherently interesting, but now this has really cheered me up! I’ll definitely work on some of the tips in the linked post.

    I shared this post on the Oxford Minimalists Facebook group at

  282. Hi! I’d love to literally see how still (or not) I am, with a vivofit. I have been considering them for my kids as well, as we homeschool and I encourage them to move as much as possible everyday. Do you think kids could benefit from them as much as adults? My boys are 11 and 13. A little family competition… as well as self-awareness can be helpful, right?

  283. I would love to win a vivofit to help me stay motivate to be active!

    Shared on my Twitter as well 🙂

  284. A co-worker has one of these and is very much enjoying it and getting her use out of it! I would love to have one! I think it would help give me that extra little boost we all need to get going and stay on track! Your blog is also a great inspiration!

  285. I would love to win the vivofit! I’m currently training for a half-marathon using the fitness plan from your book, but I work a desk job and I’m trying to be more aware of my steps/movement throughout the day.

    Shared on my twitter as well!

  286. Well said, Matt!
    Twenty-something triathlete, “dad” to a rescued cat, full time engineer, with a desire to spread my passion for moving and shaking and eating green stuff. It isn’t easy, but I know the causes are great, and the principles drive me. Sacrifice and compromise are indeed the keys to finding real focused success.
    Long time reader. Your site has helped me in sport and in learning about proper vegan nutrition.
    All the best, Matt and fellow veg-heads!

  287. Luke Harmon says:

    Life definitely has a way of trashing visions of eating well and running consistently. I am a second year graduate student, so balancing schoolwork, exercise, and a vegan diet tends to be difficult. The vivofit would be a fantastic way of reminding me that I need to move more!

    • Luke Harmon says:

      P.S. I thought that I already commented on this post, but I couldn’t find my comment.

    • Kristin Sturm says:

      Would love to use a vivofit to keep track of my running! I only manage to get in periodic short runs, so such a device would remind me that it all adds up.

  288. Realizing that goals also come with sacrifices is a hard truth to accept sometimes. Oh, If only I could devote my entire day to fitness and eating well. But I suppose figuring out the “balance” is what keeps things interesting!

  289. Great post and giveaway!

  290. Great post – I especially like the idea that we have to cultivate our passion, perhaps even to the level of obsession, to keep moving forward towards our goal. Mine is “Live long, die fast.” (Fear of wasting away in a nursing home is a huge motivator for me!)

  291. I would love to win a vivofit! I’m currently training for a half-marathon using the fitness plan from your book, but I work a desk job so I’m trying to work on getting in more movement throughout the day.

    Also shared via my twitter.

  292. Great post! Thanks for the chance to win a Vivofit! I love the idea of setting big goals that seem unachievable to everyone else and then achieving them!

  293. First-time reader, transitioning to an increasingly plant-based diet and looking for recipes to keep my work-out crazy boyfriend happy and full of energy. Thank you so much for creating this website! And I’d love to win the Vivofit 🙂 .

  294. Just completed my 1st ever Marathon in Myrtle Beach this past weekend and I could not have done it without your sage advise and podcasts during my weekly long runs. I love you guys and this post was great – honest, sound and heartfelt. Reminds me of ‘The One Thing’. There has to be a motivational WHY behind what drives us. I hope you guys stick around for EVER!!! Shared your post on Facebook. Thanks again!

  295. I thought this posted on the 12th, but I don’t see it, so…

    Great post! I’ve been struggling with motivation and this was just what I needed. I hope I can still be included in the drawing.

    Also posted this on Twitter @nielsentch

  296. Thanks for entering the contest, everyone! The winner is … Alexandre!

  297. Great post. This is good motivation to seek out a new big goal!

  298. Thank you for such a thoughtful approach to a healthy life.

  299. Vegan athletes rock! Thanks for sharing your journey

  300. Great article, totally makes sense to me!

  301. Great giveaway!

    I loved what you wrote about big goals. Those can be pretty scary, but accomplishing them is amazing!

  302. Great post!! I believe being Goal oriented is a great way to stay motivated. Also tracking achievements and the vivofit give away is a great motivational tool to hit the pavement.

  303. This was a great post. I am trying so hard to get back into a workout/healthy eating routine. Its so difficult though. I have been vegatarian/vegan most of my life and up until the past 3 years or so I have always been very active. Its so hard to get back into a workout routine once your body gets “lazy”. Reading posts like this one helps to motivate me!!


  1. […] Athlete posts are filled with substance to help readers sustain a healthy lifestyle. From tips to find life balance to delicious smoothie recipes to reasons why scary goals are the best goals, the plant-eating […]

Leave a Comment