Staying motivated to lose weight can be challenging. Unfortunately, the only person who has control over that motivation is you. It is definitely an inside job. Others can inspire you, support you, even push you, but if you do not have good enough reasons to remain internally motivated, you will not lose weight.
Motivation for weight loss is not one-dimensional. It is multi-tiered and should be approached with that in mind. Factors, other than diet, that must be considered are: keep the end in mind, commitment, patience, exercise, and planning. When all of those are actively in place, motivation will not be a problem.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Keep the End in Mind – What is your ultimate goal, the reason behind your desire to lose weight? Be very clear about this. It must be specific and detailed. You should be able to see what the end result looks like. Be realistic and health focused. If you are a woman 5’9” tall, 120 pounds would be an unhealthy and unrealistic goal.
Commitment – Are you truly dedicated to the goal and committed to follow through, even when you hit snags, plateaus and become discouraged? The majority of diets fail because the individual is simply not committed enough and does not have the ability to follow through and stay with it for the long-term.
Patience – This ties in with commitment. Losing weight in a healthy way takes time. How much? As long as it takes. It should be done slowly – no more than 2 pounds a week is the healthy standard. And . . . I guarantee that you will hit plateaus where nothing seems to happen for days, sometimes weeks. Those are the tough times when patience (and commitment) are critical! You will get through it, if you stay the course.
Exercise – This is the element than many people leave out. You need to start an exercise routine that you can life with – and expand if your health allows. You don’t have to do intensive weight lifting or strenuous aerobics, but you do have to do something – pushing to the limits of your health. A brisk one-mile walk daily is a lot better than nothing.
Start with what your body and health can sustain and build from there. Stick to the routine. Every time you complete your routine will bolster your confidence and your motivation to succeed will increase.
Planning – Plan your meals a week at a time, make a shopping list, and buy only what you need. (DO NOT keep empty-calorie foods in your house and do not impulse buy.) This will make it must easier to eat a healthy diet because your choices are made ahead of time and the temptations have much less power over you. Every successful day that passes will enhance your motivation.
Remember the last post in which we discussed how important it is to “Simplify Eating.” Keep your meals and snacks simple and as close to nature as possible. You may be groaning right now about the necessity to plan ahead. Please, try this out! It works extremely well. As you get into the swing of planning and healthy eating, you will wonder why you waited so long to do it this way. When you are sincerely seeking answers, they will come. This is your time.
There are a few other tips you can use that may help.
Take “before” and “after” pictures – plus a few extras along the way.
Keep a journal. If daily journaling is not your thing, do a weekly entry. Talk about your successes, your moments of discouragement and how you overcame them, your challenges, when you slipped and how you got back on track – and of course, your progress. You may want to post the pictures in your journal.
Stay positive and focus on the end result. Avoid beating yourself up for any reason. That just makes everything worse. Pat yourself on the back and remember that you are on the road to a happier, healthier life.
Find an exercise buddy. Exercise is always easier if someone is doing it with you. Engage your spouse, a friend, a colleague at work to join you in your daily walk, or workout at the gym. If you can’t find anyone, stay true to your goal and become your own best friend and cheerleader.
Start a blog. If you like to write, this is a good one. You can take others along on your journey. You can post pictures, tips you discover, share with them what is working and not working, track your progress, etc. Have fun with it. Be an inspiration to others!