As someone who is in the nutrition field as a profession AND trying to desperately lose weight on a personal level, I know just how hard it can be to stay motivated on the journey to health and happiness. I recently took a “vacation”, which also led to a “vacation” from my weight loss regime. I’ll talk more about that in my Fit by 50 journal. Suffice it to say, I’m starting from scratch and looking for motivation, the perfect topic for today’s “Walk to wellness” article.
I set out to research the topic and found a ton of information. This article from healthline.com, is perfect, and includes 16 ways to say motivated. I’m going to summarize my 10 favorite ways below. (1)
- Have realistic expectations: I’ve had problems with this area before. As tempting as it is to set lofty weight loss goals, with many diets promising outlandish results, you need to keep it real! The safe weight loss total is 1 to 2 pounds a week. This is also the total that has been proven to help keep the weight off. Also, did you know that losing just 5 – 10 % of your body weight can have a tremendous impact on your health – including: (1)
- Improve blood sugar control
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Reduce joint pain
- Have process goals instead of outcome goals: WOW! This is an eyeopener for me. I have one big outcome goal: 50 pounds. I need to rethink the whole thing and set new goals! Studies suggest that those individuals who focused on the process were more likely to lose weight than those who focused on the outcome. Instead of saying “I will lose 50 pounds”, I should come up with weekly process goals that will help me accomplish this, such as: (1)
- I will walk briskly for 30 minutes five days next week.
- I will eat four servings of vegetables every day this week.
- I will only drink one soda this week.
- Pick a Plan That Fits Your Lifestyle: Don’t go on a fad diet!! I know they’re tempting. They sound good. “Do this and lost 10 pounds in 14 days”. Trust me, I’ve been there. They don’t work in the long run. Customize your own plan. For example: These daily habits have been proven to help people lose weight (1):
- Decreasing calorie intake
- Reducing portion sizes
- Reducing frequency of snacks
- Reducing fried food and desserts
- Including fruits and vegetables
- Keep a weight loss journal: I know this…I’ve written papers for school about this…I know this works! I HATE DOING THIS! But…It looks like I’m going to have to do it after all. “Research has found that people who track their food intake are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss (1).” You can do this however is easy for you: an app, a spreadsheet or even a simple notebook.
- Find social support: You’ve all heard of Weight Watchers…this is a form of social support. This is my Fit by 50 journal. In effect, I’ve told the world how much weight I want to lose and I’m publishing my trials and tribulations. Knowing I have to publish my results each week is motivating indeed. Telling family, friends and colleagues can help with moral support. Find a “weight loss buddy” to lose weight with you.
- Make a public commitment: By going public, and starting my Fit by 50 journal, I was making a public commitment to lose weight and get healthy. Going public and making a commitment helps you to remain accountable to your health goals.
- Plan for Challenges and Setbacks: We all know losing weight isn’t an easy, carefree road. There will absolutely be challenges, set backs, weight gain, etc. Be prepared. Stress in inevitable and unavoidable. Plan ahead and develop methods to cope with the stress. There will always be reasons to go “off your diet”, like a party, holiday… OR MY VACATION!! Planning for healthy options and stress relief techniques is key to success. I’ve obviously been lacking in this area. Here are some methods to cope with stress: (1)
- Take a bath
- Go outside and get some fresh air
- Call a friend
- Ask for help
- Don’t Aim for Perfection and Forgive Yourself: This is another area on which I need to work. I’m very hard on myself…most people are harder on themselves than necessary. No one is perfect and you can’t expect your weight loss journey to be perfect either. Remember, it’s not “all or nothing”, take the good with the bad. If you fall off the diet wagon, forgive yourself and get back on. Remember, you can’t fail if you don’t quit.
- Learn to Love and Appreciate Your Body: THIS is a HUGE issue for me, for many women I think. Research indicates that people who “dislike their bodies are less likely to lose weight.” (1) Improving your body image is key to weight loss. The healthline.com article suggests 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: Since I strongly dislike exercising, this is a big one for me. I’ve recently discovered HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I enjoy the high intensity and very short workouts. They seem to help as well. I’ve also discovered that I enjoy walking. I download an audiobook from my local library, grab my dog and hit the sidewalk. I love it! (By the way….getting a dog is one of the tips!)
So there you have it. If you’re looking for motivation to lose weight, I hope this helps. I know they help me. In the spirit of self-love and forgiveness, I’m hoping back on the weight loss wagon and continuing my journey. I will not quit until I reach my goal. Stay tuned on Thursday for the next installment in my adventure.
(You can follow the link below to see the other tips.)
Here are 16 effective ways you can motivate yourself to lose weight. People often lack the motivation to get started or continue on a weight loss diet.