Embarking on any weight loss program can at times be a lonely and disheartening road.
It can be hard to stay motivated because your hard work can often not get the immediate results you are looking for.
There are however lots of things you can do to ensure you stick to your chosen diet and/or exercise plan and reach your goals.
Think of Your Health First
If you’re choosing food solely on the basis that it’ll help you lose weight you’re unlikely to stay motivated for long.
Choose food that’s healthy and that you enjoy. This might mean it’s not the lowest calorie option out there but what good is eating something you don’t like if you can’t keep it up for more than a couple of weeks.
If you just focus on how you look it may take a while before you notice the benefits of your hard work, which will make it difficult to stay motivated.
Try focusing on how much healthier you feel and the improvements you’re making in your exercise regime e.g. being able to run faster or for longer periods of time.
Setting goals relating to improved fitness, rather than physical appearance, may help you stay motivated, particularly before you are able to notice those future changes in the mirror.
Getting six-pack abdominal muscles is not a good goal. Start small and get healthy.
Consider your the End Goal
Before embarking on your weight loss plan imagine yourself at your goal: How you look, what it feels like, and its benefits.
Keeping focused on your goal in this way can keep you motivated through the tough times.
However, this will only work if your goal is one you really want to achieve.
If not, you’ll lose interest and revert to old habits. So make sure your goal is something that’s important to you right now, something that’ll motivate you to keep going.
You can find inspiration for goals all around you, from wanting to look good at an upcoming wedding to being fit enough to keep up with energetic children.
Once one goal is reached, find a new one because without a goal you may find your motivation to keep up with a diet and exercise regime shrinks fast.
You may have an overall goal that’d be quite a major achievement, losing 15kg for example. It’ll take a while to reach this goal and your motivation will no doubt start to wane. Break this goal down into smaller goals e.g. first aiming to lose 5kg. By breaking it down like this you’re more likely to go about this in a healthy way, rather than through extreme dieting, which we all know isn’t healthy or sustainable.
Make sure your goals are realistic, in terms of time scale and weight loss. Setting unrealistic goals is just setting yourself up for stress and failure.
Although it might be best to completely eliminate unhealthy foods from our diets you may find that this just makes you want them all the more and you’re likely to crack and binge on these foods at some point.
Weening your intake off these foods gradually might help you keep better control over what you eat in the long run. Before starting a full fledged diet, think about removing sugar from your diet. Take the small baby steps needed to be successful in the long run.
It’s OK to Make Mistakes
No one is perfect, we all have moments of weakness.
Don’t be angry with yourself and don’t use this as an opportunity to begin reverting to old habits. Mistakes don’t undo all the hard work you’ve already done and can be a great time to recommit to your goals and renew motivation to achieve them.
If you do slip-up try not to focus on this but focus on all the great things you are doing to achieve your goals and renew your commitment to them.
Setbacks can be great opportunities for further understanding reasons behind why you overeat or choose to be inactive. See if you work out the reason behind your slip-up and use this knowledge to avoid future setbacks.
Losing weight can be a slow process, remind yourself of all the positive steps you are taking towards your goal rather than just focusing on the goal itself. Using a star chart is an amazing way of showing yourself, on a daily basis, all the good work you’re doing.
When you reach goals, big or small, reward yourself with things that will inspire you to keep going. These could be things related to your exercise regime, a new workout outfit for example, or a pampering treat that makes you feel a million dollars.
Why not plan your rewards in advance, to give you something to focus on when things feel tough. Even small rewards can be excellent motivators.
Don’t Go it Alone
We are more likely to lose motivation or slip-up when left alone. It might be a good idea to find someone who can keep you on track if you start missing workouts or eating unhealthily.
Or why not find someone who also wants to lose weight to go to classes with, go running with or with whom you can share meal ideas and tips.
Social networking can be a great way to boost morale. Let people know you are trying to get healthy and reach certain goals and you’re bound to receive messages of support and encouragement, just what you need when your resolve is failing!
Have a look on YouTube, it’s full of videos by great motivational speakers including people who have been through their own weight loss process and succeeded.
Hearing them speak is bound to give you a boost.
Write It Down
Taking the time to sit down and write things out can really make a difference to how we think about things.
Try writing a list of all the benefits of losing weight and getting healthy. Seeing all the reasons why you’re dieting written out should boost your motivation immediately and why not leave the list somewhere where you’ll see it – like on the refrigerator door!
On the other hand, you could try writing down all the negative consequences of not sticking to your diet plan. Seeing these possibilities should strengthen your determination not to fail.
Keep a journal of your successes and feelings. Focus on how improved health and fitness is making you feel and the small steps you’re taking towards your goal.
You’ll find that this process of noting down how well you’re doing will give you a boost and encourage you to carry on.
Planning For Success
Temptation is everywhere but it can be avoided with some organisation, try to stay away from certain stores, places and people who might tempt you back into some of your old habits. Refer to Nick’s article on Weight Loss Saboteurs for further advice on this subject.
As we’ve said before, the occasional treat can stop you giving up altogether. Why not plan these into your routine, give you something to aim for and stop you treating yourself too often!
Try booking in your exercise sessions in advance, this should give a new level of importance to these sessions, helping you to stick to your plan.
Be Kind to Yourself
We’re not machines, every now and again we need to treat ourselves, feel special and recharge our batteries.
Perhaps set aside some ‘me time’ once a week, you’ll probably find that this time will help you through some of the tough points during the rest of the week!
Think positively. Congratulate yourself for all the hard work your putting in, even if it’s not showing on the scales as much as you like.
Losing weight healthily can be a slow, complex process which doesn’t always go according to plan, but as long as you’re trying you should be proud of yourself!
There you go, plenty of idea to keep motivated on your mission to lose weight, good luck!
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