Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows it isn’t easy. If you’ve weight on a crash diet or temporary exercise regimen only to gain it back again, it may be even more difficult to get motivated for long term success. To lose weight and keep it off requires more than a quick fix or crash diet. You need to change your lifestyle and incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine on a permanent basis. While this is almost always difficult at first, if you stick with it, it will become much easier. Many people have been able to lose weight successfully once they change some internal attitudes and outward behaviors for good.
There are three steps to staying motivated that can make all the difference if you are trying to lose weight. If you follow them, you will have a definite advantage.
- Step one is to decide why you want to lose weight in the first place. For example, you may need to lose weight because you have a health problem related to being overweight. Or perhaps may feel sluggish or unhappy with the way you look. Maybe you want to be more active, but excess weight is keeping you from doing so. It may be that you are alone and believe that losing weight will help you attract a mate. No matter what your reason for losing weight may be, if you can picture the end result and hold it in your mind, you are much more likely to stick with a weight loss plan long enough to get there. If you can imagine feeling great, going rock climbing or being out dancing with that special someone, you are much more likely to achieve your goal.
The next step after deciding why you want to lose weight is to decide how you are going to lose it. It is very important to have reasonable goals if you want to succeed. Your goals should also be specific. That is, you should be able to measure them. You also need to have the means to attain your goals in a reasonable amount of time. For example, don’t just decide to lose weight, decide to lose two clothing sizes or to walk briskly for 30 minutes each day. This gives you an end result or a goal to reach.
Be realistic. Don’t start out with a goal of losing 25 kilograms or running 10 km per day. If you do that, it is very unlikely that you will succeed. Rather, set a more reasonable initial goal that you know you can reach. Once you have reached it, you can always set a new goal. It is very important to be able to succeed at the goals you set. Take things step by step, and don’t expect to have the body of an athlete overnight!
You should also set a time by which you will achieve your goal. If your goal is simply to lose 5 kilograms, you can easily procrastinate because, after all, you can always start your diet tomorrow! If your goal is to lose 5 kilograms in 3 months, then you know you have to change your behavior now and keep your diet and exercise plan going so that you will reach your goal within the timeframe you have set for yourself.
- When you have set a reasonable goal and a timeframe for reaching it, you will need to develop a plan of action. The best way to develop a plan you will stick to is to write it down. Make a list of the specific actions you will take and read them to yourself often. Here are some examples to choose from. Of course, you should also add actions you come up with on your own that you know will help you reach your weight loss goal.
- Set up a regular exercise plan and stick with it. Exercise is essential to losing weight and keeping it off. It not only helps you burn calories more efficiently, but it provides your brain with the oxygen it needs to focus and think clearly about your goals.
- Get proper rest and relaxation. If you are tired or stressed, you are more likely to skip your workout or grab junk food for lunch.
- Find a support group of family, friends or a counselor who will provide you with inspiration and encouragement.
- Find others who have similar goals and plan activities with them. Join an Internet forum to discuss your progress or plan daily workouts with a friend who also wants to lose weight.
- Stay tuned into your behavior rather than your progress. Make your daily actions the important thing. If you stick to your workout routine and eat healthy foods each day, your weight loss goal will achieve itself.
- Work with a nutritionist to plan a healthy diet.
- Buy a whole foods or vegetarian cookbook and learn to cook delicious food in a healthy way.
- Get active by doing things that are fun for you. Sign up for an aerobics class or tennis lessons or join a hiking club.
- Sign up for a race to be held in about two months to give you a reason to go for that morning run each day. Then think like an athlete and train for the event.
- Stay active with family and friends. Take the kids on a hike, walk the family dog or go on regular bike rides with your spouse.
- Walk to the corner store instead of driving.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Listen to radio shows about health and fitness and incorporate tips you hear into your daily routine.
- Learn a new craft or hobby to avoid boredom. Boredom is one of the most common reasons for overeating or eating junk food.
- Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feeling about the ups and downs of the journey.
- Find inspiration in whatever way works for you. Attend religious services, read inspirational books or watch inspirational movies.
- Don’t overdo it and don’t consider yourself a complete failure if you come close to but do not exactly reach your goal.
When you begin to make progress (and you will), be sure to reward yourself for a job well done. This will keep you motivated to continue the behaviors that are helping you reach your goal. For example, buy yourself a new pair of designer jeans in a smaller size or a day at the spa. Indulge in something that makes you happy, but do not reward yourself with junk food or old, unhealthy habits! You don’t have to wait until you have achieved your ultimate goal to reward yourself, either. You can celebrate each step on your path to success. For example, buy yourself a small gift after you have successfully eaten healthy food for a week.