America's Energy Doctor
The math of weight loss is pretty simple: Burn more calories than you consume, and you’ll lose weight. Every time you create a deficit of 3,500 calories, that’s one pound lost. So easy, isn’t it?
Of course, just about everyone who’s tried to lose weight knows it’s not quite so simple. Weight loss isn’t only a matter of numbers. There’s a psychological component to it, too. We struggle with the urge to eat more than we should, to eat when we don’t need to, and to eat things we know we shouldn’t eat. We struggle to maintain our strength, our will power, our resolve. We struggle to stay motivated for weight loss.
And that’s what makes it so difficult for so many people. That ability to stay motivated for weight loss makes all the difference when it comes to being successful—and to keeping the weight off once it’s gone. Because staying at a healthy weight isn’t about dieting, it requires adopting permanent healthy lifestyle changes.
So, the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just educating yourself about fitness and nutrition—it’s also about teaching yourself to keep up your drive for success. Below are some of the most effective ways to stay motivated for weight loss.
How to Stay Motivated for Weight Loss
- Take stock of the important reasons you want to lose weight, whether it’s so you can play more actively with your kids, because type 2 diabetes runs in your family, because you don’t want to depend on blood pressure medications for the rest of your life, or whatever the case may be.
- Write your reasons down and keep them where you’ll see them every day.
- Skip the fad diets! They aren’t healthy, they don’t work, and they leave you feeling lousy about the whole weight loss process.
- Set small, short-term, realistic weight loss goals so you can continuously feel like you’re making progress. Remember: 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week is a safe, reasonable, practical amount; more drastic weight loss is generally unhealthy and unrealistic.
- Set quantifiable process goals in addition to result goals. For a few examples: Make it a goal to replace one cup of soda with a glass of water, to eliminate one unhealthy snack per day, to eat four daily servings of vegetables for a week, to walk for 15 minutes on your lunch break, etc.
- Make minor, gradual changes to your diet, rather than trying to completely upend what you’re used to all at once.
- Celebrate when you achieve a goal. And no, that doesn’t mean go have an ice cream sundae. Find rewards that aren’t food-related.
- Allow yourself an occasional treat. A reasonable serving of a favorite food helps prevent feeling too deprived, and it reminds you that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean never enjoying certain things ever again.
- Let a few supportive friends or family members know about your goals. Tell them when you reach goals—and when you don’t. They’ll help keep you accountable and offer much-needed encouragement.
- Make easy lower-calorie substitutions to reduce calorie consumption without feeling deprived.
- Don’t buy junk food. It’s much easier to stay strong when the temptations aren’t right in front of you all the time.
- Have a planned physical activity for when you want to eat out of stress or emotional triggers, such as walking around the block, and do that instead.
- Develop a fitness routine, rather than just fitting in exercise here and there.
- Find types of exercise that you enjoy so that improving your fitness doesn’t feel like a chore.
- And find yourself a workout partner!
- Get professional help. This can take many forms, like a psychologist, dietitian, nutritionist, personal trainer—go with whoever seems to offer assistance in the area you need it most.
- Or get a dog. Pets boost your mood and help you cope with stress, but walking and playing with a dog is also a great way to sneak in more physical activity.
- Be aware of the most common excuses for overeating and be prepared to face them and banish them from your mind!
- Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short of goals or eat something you shouldn’t. This isn’t about pursuit of perfection, it’s about taking small but consistent steps toward creating a healthier you.
- Think and talk positively about your weight loss efforts!