How to Enjoy Exercise and Healthy Eating

Mature male runner standing in woods looking at health monitor bracelet linked to his smart phone to track calories, steps and progress.

Mike Harrington / Getty Images 

Are you annoyed by people who seem to enjoy exercise? What about people who eat healthfully with little effort? Why is it so easy for them and such a struggle for you? One simple reason could be time.

The longer you follow healthy behaviors, the easier they become, and the best part is, you actually start to enjoy them. Your first step in getting to that happy place is to change your attitude.

What does a healthy lifestyle look like? For some people, it initially seems like no fun at all. You have to slog through boring workouts, avoid going out to restaurants and eat twigs and berries. What kind of fun is that?

At first, it may look like you have to give up everything to improve your health, but what you gain from those changes is much more meaningful and satisfying. Not only will your body change, but your mind will change as well.

What to Enjoy About Healthy Eating

Here are some of the benefits you could experience if you keep maintaining that healthy diet.

You'll Crave Healthier Foods

Your priorities will likely change once you've been consistently eating a healthy diet. The way your body feels after a healthy meal will become more important to you than the instant pleasure of having something loaded with fat or sugar.

You'll start to enjoy healthy food. You will realize that you can live without chips and soda, and you'll gladly give those things up once you experience how your body feels after more nutritious meals.

Making Better Choices Becomes Easier

You'll still enjoy your favorite foods—the only difference is the frequency and portion size. Now, instead of having it several times a week, you might indulge once or twice a month or just have less of it when you do have it.

Eating healthy often opens the door to more options than you usually give yourself. You'll try new vegetables and grains and experiment with herbs and flavors you've never tried, making more room for choosing healthier foods.

You'll Recognize How Food Affects You

Food will also become fuel rather than something that controls your life (although you will still eat for enjoyment as well). If you exercise, you'll learn very quickly how food affects your workouts. Soon, you'll want better workouts which will motivate you to eat better.

Healthy food provides energy throughout the day. Eating a heavy, fatty meal can make you tired and lethargic. On the other hand, many people report more energy and focus better after eating a healthier meal.

You'll Become a Role Model

Even if you're the only one eating healthy, those habits rub off on others. Being a good role model for your kids or co-workers is one way to help them live more healthfully too. You can feel good knowing you might make a difference in the life of someone who may be ready for a change.

Sticking to Your Plan Becomes Easier

Once you're in the habit of eating a balanced diet, you are much better at avoiding party foods or overloaded buffets. You make an effort to eat regular meals, so you're not starving. You fill up on nutrient-dense foods so you'll eat fewer empty-calorie ones, but you'll still make room for treats.

In the beginning, your new eating plan may feel like work. But over time, it will become a natural part of your lifestyle. These changes come over time, sometimes weeks, months, or years of slowly working on your habits and choices. Allowing yourself this time is crucial for permanently changing how you look at food and healthy eating.

What to Enjoy About Regular Exercise

The positive changes don't end there. Your feelings and perspective on exercise can change as well. During the first few weeks of exercise, your body and mind may rebel against your new workouts, and you may wonder if you'll ever get the hang of it.

Like thoughtful eating, however, exercise becomes easier over time. Eventually, you even look forward to it. When you make exercise a regular part of your life:

  • You'll start to appreciate your body. As you feel that strength grow, you may get excited about your workouts, wondering how much you'll lift next time or how fast you'll walk or run.
  • Everything gets easier. Carrying groceries, taking care of kids, going up and down stairs: all of these things get easier. You may even get more done with your newfound energy.
  • Your confidence grows. The more you work your body, the more your body can do, and following through on your exercise plans lets you know you can trust yourself. That self-trust is a crucial ingredient to a healthy life.
  • You'll try things you never imagined. You may go from being a couch potato to running races, hiking up mountains, and just enjoying life more. The stronger you get, the more confidence you'll have to branch out.
  • You'll be inspired to change other areas of your life. As you start exercising, you may look to change other habits that affect energy and stress levels.
  • Your health improves. Exercise can help with diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and high cholesterol and protect your body from some types of cancer. Your mental health is likely to improve as well. Exercise helps to reduce stress and can help you to sleep better at night.
  • Your sex life gets better. Studies have shown that people who exercise have more satisfying sex lives than people who don't.
  • Your children will have a better chance of being healthy. As with healthy eating, being a good role model when it comes to being active gives your kids the know-how to be active themselves.
  • You'll have more energy. You'll be more alert, focused, and productive.

A Word From Verywell

What's in store for you, if you keep trying your best, is a better life. It may not seem that way initially, which is one reason many people quit before they experience these changes. Any new lifestyle change can seem overwhelming at first, but there is a secret to staying on track: Take it one day at a time, one healthy choice at a time. Stay with it, and you'll finally see the bright side.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Wunsch K, Kasten N, Fuchs R. The effect of physical activity on sleep quality, well-being, and affect in academic stress periodsNat Sci Sleep. 2017;9:117-126. doi:10.2147/NSS.S132078

  2. Fergus KB, Gaither TW, Baradaran N, Glidden DV, Cohen AJ, Breyer BN. Exercise improves self-reported sexual function among physically active adultsJ Sex Med. 2019;16(8):1236-1245. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.04.020

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."