Let's get you ready to climb the mountain

Although you dream about dropping a ton of weight and living a healthier life, you may see so many obstacles in the way that it feels like it could never come true for you. It’s hard to figure out how to get motivated to lose weight when every challenge seems insurmountable.

You must start somewhere, though, or you’ll still be in the same place that you are today. Let’s talk about how to get inspired to lose weight so you can have the mental toolkit to begin your epic journey.

 

Contents

     1.1 - Finding Your Purpose
     2.2 - Get Realistic
     3.1 - Keep a Diary
     3.2 - Stay Positive
     5.1 - Perform and Repeat
     6.1 - Enlist Friends
     6.2 - Join a Program
     6.3 - Go Online

Q&A With You      

Getting serious about your health and your weight is a momentous decision. But before you embark on your weight loss journey, it’s important to be crystal clear on your true motivation. Fleeting desires won’t compel you to do the hard work of change, but a committed purpose WILL get you there.

Finding Your Purpose      

People don’t usually wake up one morning realizing that they need to lose weight. For most of us, it’s a whisper in the back of our minds which haunts us with each passing day. But it often takes drastic measures to shift interest to commitment.

You might be looking for ways to get motivated because health or family concerns have come up. Did your doctor tell you that you’re unhealthy and need to make a lifestyle change? Do you have kids and realize that you can’t keep up with them anymore?

Maybe you have health problems that cropped up when you started putting weight on. Or maybe you’re just hoping to set foot on the beach in the summer without shying away from anyone who glances your way.

Whatever your intrinsic motivation to lose weight, examine it. Analyze it. Dig deeper and really ask yourself, “WHY?”

Paint a picture in your mind’s eye of your ideal future self. Walk yourself through a day in the life of a fitter, healthier, happier you. What would your life be like? How would it be different from the life you lead now? How would you feel about yourself?

Feels good, doesn’t it?

Now think about what happens if nothing changes. Try projecting your future out five, ten, even twenty years from now. Will you feel better…or worse? Which of your dreams will remain fantasies? What life experiences will you miss out on? Will your future self be defined by regret and remorse?

This might be a painful exercise for you. It’s also crucial that you do it anyway. See, the only way you’ll stay motivated to lose weight is if the pain of the status quo is worse than the anticipated pain of change. So examine that pain. Feel it. Amplify it.

Wishing aimlessly for change is worse than doing nothing. You’re either “all in”, or you’re out.

Now the question you have to ask yourself is simple. Are you willing to pay the price?

Keep Your Eye on the Prize      

Now you have clarity of purpose, keep hold of it. Use it as your guiding light, your north star lighting your path ahead in both good times and bad.

Any journey worth taking has its share of setbacks and struggles. Yours will be no different. Steel yourself with the resolve to win and charge forward prepared for the inevitable challenges. Know that you have what it takes to overcome them.

Dig deep and commit to your purpose, and you’re on the right track toward a successful weight loss journey.

Equipped for the fight

Set Goals      

You might think that setting a blanket goal of “lose weight” is enough. But specific, measurable goals allow you to track your progress. So be sure to attach a number to your goal.

From there, break your ultimate goal into sub-goals. That way, you’ll have manageable increments to work with and it won’t seem so daunting.

Get Realistic      

You shouldn’t expect to lose ten pounds per week unless you also plan to gain it all back right away. Instead, set smaller goals over time that amount to your total desired weight loss. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, spread that out to a healthy 2-pound weight loss per week.

This means your 50-pound loss may take six months rather than one and a half, but it also means you won’t be starving yourself. Depriving your body of the calories it needs to survive only results in packing more pounds on as your body fights the unnatural conditions you’re putting on it.

Think Outside the Scale      

Apart from goals that come in the form of numbers, it’s acceptable and desirable to set goals based on other measures. Losing pounds or inches is nice but being able to bench press your own weight is a huge accomplishment. So is running a mile at your fastest time ever.

Even if you have to start with walking for ten minutes each day, you can work up to running for a mile. Keep achieving your small goals, and you’ll be on track for meeting the larger ones that loom ahead.

Track Your Progress      

Hopping on the scale every few days often becomes routine when you’re trying to lose weight. But that’s not the only kind of progress you should focus on. Like meeting small goals, tracking smaller signs of progress that don’t fall on the scale will help keep you motivated.

Keep a Diary      

Whether you’re keeping a food diary or writing down which exercises you do each day, tracking your progress can help motivate you to keep going, and also to hold yourself accountable.

You’ll have a ready-made record of the meals you’re eating and the exercises you’re doing, alongside a record of your progress. This way you can see the data on what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make adjustments and stay on track.

Stay Positive      

Write down positive affirmations that connect with your weight loss goals. Keep them where you track your other fitness metrics. This way, you’ll always have positive words to remind you why you’re doing this hard work.

It’s also helpful to practice self-love. Losing weight is hard, and so is learning to love your body as-is. Give yourself some leniency and compassion, along with the tough love that dieting and exercising demands. Remind yourself that you’re worthy and that this journey is taking you to even better places.

Today is gonna be a good day

Earn Rewards      

Unfortunately, many of us use food as a reward for good behavior. In fact, emotional eating is a primary contributor to the high percentage of obesity today. It’s widely available, it tastes good, and our brains like it. However, our bodies do not need food as a reward.

The Science Behind Rewards      

Frontiers in Psychology authored a review that highlighted just how dangerous food rewards are to our brains. The gratification we associate with eating causes our brains to create more dopamine. This makes us feel good, activating the part of our brain that says “Yes! More, please!”

Unfortunately, these dopamine-fueled feel-good brain waves override our bodies’ natural signals. Even if we feel full, our brain won’t know it because we’ve poured too much dopamine into it. The review explained that mood, food, and obesity are all interrelated.

Studies have shown that some foods activate the same receptors in patients’ brains as drugs do. People who use food as comfort or reward are mimicking what drug addicts do to their brains. If that’s not scary enough, overeating also accompanies depression and anxiety.

We already knew there was a link between mental health and physical health, but this should really open your eyes to the drawbacks of eating your feelings.

Non-Food Rewards for Weight Loss       

If you can’t use food as a reward, how can you stay motivated in between your healthy meals? There are plenty of non-edible ways to keep yourself in check and enjoy your time in between lunch and dinner. Here are a few ideas:

  • Treat yourself to a movie or recording of your favorite show
  • Read a good book from the library, or fire up your Kindle
  • Shop for new clothes as you reach significant size goals
  • Take a day off from the gym and get outdoors instead, taking a hike or going for a swim to change things up
  • Make yourself a wish list of inexpensive items on Amazon and make purchases as you reach smaller goals
  • Whatever reward you decide to give yourself, make sure it’s something you’re willing to move heaven and earth for!

 

What's your macaron?

Make it a Habit

Habits are things that we do almost without thinking. Putting toothpaste on our toothbrushes, buckling our seatbelts when we get in the car. But did you know that you can re-program your habits? You have more control over your impulses than you think.

Perform and Repeat       

Studies have shown that making lifestyle changes into habits will help you keep them up for longer than ever before. The key to successful habit-forming is being consistent and using signposts for every habit you’re trying to make stick.

For example, if you want to make it a habit to eat more fruit each day, choose a “trigger” for eating fruit. Maybe it’s directly after you drink your coffee in the morning, or while you’re driving to work. Whatever it is, make sure that the signpost you choose is something that you do daily.

After a few weeks of forming the new habit, you’ll find that it starts to stick. Even if you miss a few days over the span of a month or so, just get right back to it at the next opportunity.

This tactic works with any habit you want to make permanent, but it’s especially helpful for sticking to your healthy meal plan and making sure you get your exercise in each day.

Pro Tip: Replace bad habits with new, positive habits for a double win!

Ask for Support      

Humans are social creatures, so it’s natural to want to share with people about your weight loss journey. Fortunately, having the support of your friends and family can also keep your motivation up. Knowing that people are keeping an eye on you will make you more honest, too.

Enlist Friends       

The American Psychological Association references one study which found that people who enrolled in weight loss programs with friends tended to keep weight off better than those who went it alone. At six month checkpoints, two-thirds of the people who had social support kept off the weight they lost during the program.

Convincing your friends to come along for your journey can also prove beneficial to your relationship. Spending time together can strengthen your bond and participating in healthy activities is great for both of you.

Join a Program       

There are programs for every dieting approach and weight loss method. That means if you’re looking for likeminded people to connect with who are also going through a transformation, joining one of those groups may help you stay motivated.

The APA reported that Weight Watchers participants lost more weight than groups that were left to their own devices. The social support also helped participants keep the weight off over time. Clinic-based groups are thought to have the same efficacy, but we need more studies to determine whether that’s true.

Go Online       

If you’re too distant from a brick and mortar weight loss program location, consider joining an online group. Between social media, branded weight loss program apps, and fitness apps and trackers, you’ll find the tribe that you need to support you throughout your journey.

Having friends in the flesh isn’t necessary for a successful weight loss experience, although it does make the logistics easier. Still, a combination of real-life friends who are supportive of your efforts, online support that is available when you need it, and maybe even a gym buddy to sweat alongside could prove the winning formula for serious motivation.

Social media can be a powerful motivator when you harness it in a productive way

Conclusion      

Hopefully, this article has given you the tools you need to get started on your weight loss journey. It might be the hardest thing you ever do, but I guarantee you it will also be the most rewarding.

Want to make sure you get off to a running start? Consider attending a boot camp or weight loss camp.