Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight
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 blog discusses a number of ways to motivate yourself to lose weight.
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 children, 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/friend/partner suggested it, but research shows that people are more successful if their weight loss motivation comes from within
Have Realistic Expectations
Many diets and diet products claim quick and easy weight loss. However, most nutritionists 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. However, 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
The good news is that just a little weight loss of 5–10% of your body weight can have a large impact on your health. If you are 180 pounds (82 kg), that is just 9–18 pounds (4–8 kg). If you are 250 pounds (113 kg), it's 13–25 pounds (6–11 kg)
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
Focus on your 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 realistic goals, or what actions you're going to take to reach your desired outcome. An example of a realistic goal is exercising four times a week.
Consider setting SMART goals to set strong goals. SMART stands for
Some examples of SMART goals include:
I will exercise five days next week.
I will eat four servings of vegetables every day this week.
I will not drink alcohol this week.
Pick a Plan That Fits Your Lifestyle
Find a weight loss plan that you can stick to, and avoid plans that would be nearly impossible to follow in the long term.
While there are hundreds of different diets, most are based on cutting calories
Reducing your calorie intake will lead to weight loss, but dieting, especially frequent yo-yo dieting, has been found to be a predictor of future weight gain
Therefore, avoid strict diets that completely eliminate certain foods. Research has found that those with an "all or nothing" mindset are less likely to lose weight
Instead, consider your own custom plan. The following dietary habits have been proven to help you lose weight
Decreasing calorie intake
Reducing portion sizes
Reducing fried food and desserts
Including fruits and vegetables
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 doughnut you ate that your colleague brought to work.
You can also record your emotions in your food journal. This can help you identify certain triggers for overeating and help you find healthier ways to cope.
You can keep food journals on pen and paper, we recommend My Fitness Pal. But they have both been proven effective.
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 our main Ulysses page or members page are great places to have people celebrate your success with you. When you feel pride in yourself, you will increase your motivation
Also, remember to celebrate behavior changes and not just reaching a certain number on the scale. For example, if you met your goal of exercising four days a week, take a bubble bath or plan a fun night with friends. Additionally, you can further improve your motivation by rewarding yourself.
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.
The following are some good examples of rewards:
Getting a manicure
Going to a movie
Buying new gym kit or metcons.
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. Get yourself a nutrition coach to help keep you accountable and focused on the end game.
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.
Additionally, it can be helpful to involve your partner, but make sure to get support from other people too, such as your friends.
Make a Commitment
Research shows that those who make a public commitment are more likely to follow through with their goals
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.
Consider investing in a CrossFit membership, package of PT sessions or paying for a 5K/fun run in advance. You are more likely to follow through if you have already made an investment.
Think and Talk Positively
People who have positive expectations and feel confident in their ability to achieve their goals tend to lose more weight.
Therefore, start talking positively about your weight loss. Also, talk about the steps you are going to take and commit your thoughts out loud.
Visualise but don’t fantasize. There is a difference.
Keep your goals in mind, spend a few minutes imagining reaching your goal weight and then spend another few minutes imagining any possible obstacles that may get in the way, this way you’re already prepared if something does get in the way.
Plan for Challenges and Setbacks
Everyday stresses 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 stress 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.
In fact, studies have shown that people who are better at handling stress and have better coping strategies, will lose more weight and keep it off longer
Consider using some of these methods to cope with stress
Take a bath
Go outside and get some fresh air
Call a friend
Ask for help
Remember to also plan for holiday, social events and eating out. You can research restaurant menus in advance and find a healthy option. At parties, you can bring a healthy dish or eat smaller portions.
Don't Aim for Perfection and Forgive Yourself
You do not have to be perfect to lose weight.
If you have an "all or nothing" approach, you're less likely to achieve your goals
When you are too restrictive, you may find yourself saying "I had a hamburger and fries for lunch, so I might as well have pizza for dinner." Instead, try to say, "I had a big lunch, so I should aim for a healthier dinner"
And avoid beating yourself up when you make a mistake. Self-defeating thoughts will just hinder your motivation.
Instead, forgive yourself. Remember that one mistake is not going to ruin your progress.
Learn to Love and Appreciate Your Body
Research has repeatedly found that people who dislike their bodies are less likely to lose weight
Taking steps to improve your body image can help you lose more weight and maintain your weight loss.
Furthermore, people who have a better body image are more likely to pick a diet they can sustain and try new activities that will help them reach their goals
The following activities can help boost your body image:
Appreciate what your body can do
Do something for yourself, such as getting a massage or manicure
Surround yourself with positive people
Stop comparing yourself to others, especially models
Wear clothes you like and that fit you well
Look in the mirror and say the things you like about yourself out loud
Find an Exercise You Enjoy
Physical activity is an important part of losing weight. Not only does it help you burn calories, but it also improves your well-being
The best kind is exercise you find a love for so you enjoy and can stick to.
There are many different types and ways to exercise, and it's important to explore different options to find one you enjoy.
Consider where you want to exercise. Do you prefer to be inside or outside? Would you rather work out at a gym or in the comfort of your own home?
Also, figure out if you prefer to exercise alone or with a group. Group classes are very popular, and they help many people stay motivated. However, if you don't enjoy group classes, working out on your own is just as good.
Lastly, listen to music while you work out, as doing so can increase motivation. People also tend to exercise longer when listening to music
Find a Role Model
Having a role model can help you stay motivated to lose weight. However, you need to pick the right kind of role model to keep yourself motivated.
Hanging a picture of a supermodel on your fridge will not motivate you over time. Instead, find a role model that you can easily relate to.
Having a relatable and positive role model may help keep you motivated.
Maybe you know a friend who has lost a lot of weight and can be your inspiration. You can also look for inspirational blogs or stories about people who have successfully lost weight.
Get a Dog
Dogs can be the perfect weight loss companions. In fact, studies show that owning a dog can help you lose weight.
First, dogs can increase your physical activity.
Dog owners tend to walk an average of 300 minutes per week, while people who did not have dogs only walked an average of 168 minutes per week.
Second, dogs are great social support. Unlike your human work out buddy, dogs are almost always excited to get some physical activity.
As an added bonus, pet ownership is proven to improve overall health and well-being. It has been linked to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduced feelings of loneliness and depression
Get Professional Help When Needed
Don't hesitate to consult professional help to aid your weight loss efforts when needed. People who feel more confident in their knowledge and abilities will lose more weight.
This may mean finding a nutrition coach who can teach you about certain foods or a PT or Coachto teach you how to exercise correctly
Many people also enjoy the accountability that seeing a professional provides them.
If you are still struggling to get motivated, consider finding a psychologist or dietitian who is trained in motivational interviewing, which has been proven to help people achieve their goals
The Bottom Line
Being motivated to lose weight is important for long-term weight loss success.
People find different factors motivating, so it's important to find out what helps motivate you, specifically.
Remember to give yourself flexibility and celebrate the little successes along your weight loss journey. And don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.
With the proper tools and support, you can find and stay motivated to reach your weight loss goals.