Starting and sticking to a healthy weight loss plan can sometimes seem impossible.
Often, people simply lack the motivation to get started or lose their motivation to keep going. Luckily, motivation is something you can work to increase. This article discusses 10 ways to motivate yourself to lose weight.
1. Determine Why You Want to Lose Weight
Clearly define all the reasons you want to lose weight and write them down. This will help you stay committed and motivated to reach your weight loss goals. Try to read through them daily and use them as a reminder when tempted to stray from your weight loss plans.
Your reasons could include preventing diabetes, keeping up with grandchildren, looking your best for an event, improving your self-confidence or fitting into a certain pair of jeans. Many people start losing weight because their doctor suggested it, but research shows that people are more successful if their weight loss motivation comes from within.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
Many diets and diet products claim quick and easy weight loss. However, most practitioners recommend only losing 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week.
Setting unattainable goals can lead to feelings of frustration and cause you to give up. On the contrary, setting and accomplishing achievable goals leads to feelings of accomplishment.
Also, people who reach their self-determined weight loss goals are more likely to maintain their weight loss long-term.
In fact, losing 5–10% of your body weight can:
- Improve blood sugar control
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Reduce joint pain
- Reduce the risk of certain cancers
3. Focus on Process Goals
Many people trying to lose weight only set outcome goals, or goals they want to accomplish at the end. Typically, an outcome goal will be your final target weight.
However, focusing only on outcome goals can derail your motivation. They can often feel too distant and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Instead, you should set process goals, or what actions you’re going to take to reach your desired outcome. An example of a process goal is exercising four times a week.
Consider setting SMART goals to set strong goals. SMART stands for:
4. Keep A Weight Loss Journal
Self-monitoring is crucial to weight loss motivation and success. Research has found that people who track their food intake are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss.
However, to keep a food journal correctly, you must write down everything you eat. This includes meals, snacks and the piece of candy you ate off your coworker’s desk. You can keep food journals on pen and paper or use a website or app. They have all been proven effective.
5. Celebrate your Successes
Losing weight is hard, so celebrate all your successes to keep yourself motivated. Give yourself some credit when you accomplish a goal. Social media or weight loss sites with community pages are great places to share your successes and get support. When you feel pride in yourself, you will increase your motivation.
However, it’s important to pick appropriate rewards. Avoid rewarding yourself with food. Also, avoid rewards that are so expensive you would never buy it, or so insignificant that you would allow yourself to have it anyway.
6. Find Social Support
People need regular support and positive feedback to stay motivated. Tell your close family and friends about your weight loss goals so they can help support you on your journey.
Many people also find it helpful to find a weight loss buddy. You can work out together, hold each other accountable and encourage each other throughout the process.
Furthermore, consider joining a support group. Both in-person and online support groups have been proven to be beneficial.
7. Make a Commitment
Telling others about your weight loss goals will help you stay accountable. Tell your close family and friends, and even consider sharing them on social media. The more people you share your goals with, the greater the accountability.
Moreover, consider investing in a gym membership, package of exercise classes or paying for a 5K in advance. You are more likely to follow through if you have already made an investment.
8. Plan for Challenges and Setbacks
Everyday stressors will always pop up. Finding ways to plan for them and developing proper coping skills will help you stay motivated no matter what life throws your way.
There will always be holidays, birthdays or parties to attend. And there will always be stressors at work or with family.
It’s important to start problem solving and brainstorming about these possible weight loss challenges and setbacks. This will keep you from getting off track and losing motivation.
Many people turn to food for comfort. This can quickly lead to them abandoning their weight loss goals. Creating appropriate coping skills will prevent this from happening to you.
Consider using some of these methods to cope with stress:
- Practice square breathing
- Take a bath
- Go outside and get some fresh air
- Call a friend
- Ask for help