How To Get Motivated To Lose Weight
We all know that one of the hardest aspects of losing weight is…getting motivated to lose weight. Not all of us are the hyper-ambitious, disciplined types who appear on the covers of fitness magazines because they haven’t eaten a bad carb in seven years. Most of us are mere mortals who tend to struggle with motivation – especially when it comes to doing something difficult.
I have personally had my ups and downs in my motivational energy and have found a few tricks that REALLY help. I hope that these tips and tricks can help you all as much as they have helped me. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all of them all the time. You may only need one or two to find the strength to get started. Here they are:
How To Motivate Yourself To Lose Weight
1. Work Out Every Morning, Even If You Just Walk For Five Minutes
Can you commit to walking for five minutes each day? This might seem like a ridiculously small step but for me it worked. Even on my most tired, lazy days I know that I can at least walk for five minutes. Doing this without fail has helped to to establish a positive habit and it’s a rare occurrence when this is all I do. Generally speaking, even if I think I’m only going to walk for five minutes, the walk warms me up and I’m willing to do more. This isn’t always the case and when it isn’t, I walk for five minutes.
I’ve found that for me, I can’t rely on my conscious mind to motivate me. I have to establish habits that will make my subconscious mind want to do things. This might sound like mystical crazy talk but for me, it works. While I used to have big motivational problems when it came to working out, it’s now a lot easier. I generally hit the gym every morning because I established the habit of walking for five minutes a day. I don’t feel pressure to do more and am happy if I just walk. However, most days I feel like I WANT to do more once I get going.
2. Set Goals, Chart Progress
I used to always skip this step and would hate it when people told me that I needed to chart my progress. I didn’t always do it, but now that I do, it really helps with my motivation. I use an Excel spreadsheet to chart my body weight, body fat percentage, and my strength. Whether you’re a boy or a girl, getting stronger will help you to lose fat (and we ALL love losing fat).
Since weight loss doesn’t always go as planned (I’ll explain this in more detail) I find it helpful to chart more than just my weight. At times, I find that my weight drops easily and during these times, it’s easy to stay motivated. During other times my weight tends to stay the same even when I’m doing all the right things. This used to frustrate me when I only tracked my weight. Now that I chart body fat and strength I can see that during certain periods, my body will gain muscle while losing fat. This puts me closer to my goals but doesn’t show up on the scale. If I wasn’t tracking strength and body fat percentage, I would be frustrated with my lack of results, even though I would be getting results.
I’m spoiled enough to have a BodyMetrix ultrasound body fat device, but you don’t need one to track your body fat. Calipers work great to measure whether you’re losing or gaining fat.
When you set a weight loss goal, it’s crucial that you dream big. You won’t feel motivated by a goal to lose five pounds if you’re 100 pounds overweight. Allow yourself to believe that you can achieve what you consider to be ideal. Because of the prevalence of eating disorders, many people now believe that it’s unhealthy to want to look how they want to. It isn’t unhealthy to want to be healthy. It’s unhealthy to shortcut the process by engaging in unhealthy behaviors. I have never tried to not eat to lose weight and I can consistently drop pounds while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You can too. Don’t let this be a reason to not dream big.
Visualize what you hope to someday look like and set a goal to reach your ideal weight. No matter where you’re at, you can achieve your goal. There are people who lose hundreds and hundreds of pounds and that can be you, if you need to. Most of you are much closer to your ideal weight and if you can get yourself into the right mentality, you can also achieve your goals.
3. Read Success Stories
Whether you find your success stories here at The Skinny School or somewhere else, it’s important to remind yourself that losing weight is possible. You’ll see evidence of this in everyday life if you look hard enough. It’s quite common for friends of people who lose weight to also lose weight. You often see spouses who lose weight together – often with one spouse beginning before the other.
Reading about other people’s weight loss journeys can really help if you are struggling with your motivation. It’s healthy for all of us to be reminded that we’re capable of more than we sometimes think.
I believe that one of the biggest struggles with losing weight is that we all feel that we’re different from everyone else. We see a person who loses a hundred pounds and assume that they have an unbreakable will or extreme discipline. We forget that they allowed themselves to gain a lot of weight which means they have their struggles too. No matter how low (high in this example haha) you have dropped, you can change.
4. Interact With People Who Have Similar Goals
I decided to start The Skinny School because I understand that people need a place to interact with others who are trying to achieve similar goals. Talking to other people who are going through the same difficulties as you will help you to stay on the wagon (or to get back on the wagon).
I can promise you that you’ll go through a lot of things that you don’t understand in your weight loss journey. Your weight loss might stall or you may experience a sudden loss of control. This happens to everyone and it’s extremely healthy and motivational to have access to others who face these same challenges you’re facing.
5. Plan To Reward Yourself And Follow Through On Those Plans
There are a lot of different types of rewards that you can use to help with your motivation. If I drop to a smaller size, I believe that I deserve new clothes. The reward you choose is up to you. Some people save for trips when they’re trying to lose weight. Tell yourself that once you get to 150 pounds, you’re going to go to Italy. Other people reward themselves with things for the house. Tell yourself that once you get to 170 pounds, you’re going to buy yourself a new sofa. Whatever floats your boat.
The point here is that you should have a reward outside of your weight loss. This will add power to your motivational energy.
6. Take A Before Picture
We’ve all seen before and after pictures that illustrate people’s weight loss journeys. Taking a ‘before’ picture can help you to visualize an after picture somewhere in the future.
Since you see yourself every day, it can be difficult to see the changes in yourself. Once you start to see progress over how you looked in your before picture, I can promise that you will experience a wave of motivation unlike anything you’ve experienced before. When times get tough, you can go back to your before picture, and additional pictures that show progress. When you start to see muscles starting to poke out here and there, it will really help you out.
7. Find A Weight Loss Buddy
Everything is easier if you can find someone to do it with. However, I want to warn you that eventually your buddy might fall off the wagon. You have to prepare yourself for this possibility. It’s rare to find someone who will stay on the wagon for life. Let it help you to get started and work on yourself so that you don’t need it forever.
8. Look For A Greater Purpose
I’m 33 years old and don’t have any kids so obviously I’m going to have to stay healthy to see my kids grow up. I’m going to have to stay really healthy to be able to watch my grand kids grow up, let alone play with them. I also have had two grandfathers die of preventable diseases related to poor diets.
There have been times where thinking about this stuff has really helped me to stay motivated. If I don’t last longer than my grandfather, I won’t even MEET my grandchildren.
You’re the only one who knows what greater purpose you can lean on for motivation. Whether it’s family, fun, or something else, I have found that having a greater purpose can really help.
Additional Tips For Motivation?
There are a lot of different techniques that people use for motivation and I would LOVE to hear about yours. If you have anything to share, please post in the comments.
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