8 Ways to Ramp Up Your Motivation to Lose Weight
If you generally have all of the motivation of a cat licking its paws in a puddle of sunshine, sticking with a weight loss plan for the long haul can be a serious personal challenge — maybe the biggest one ever. Heck, it can be hard even if you're the most motivated person on earth and can talk yourself into cleaning the house on a gorgeous Saturday morning, hangover and all. But it can be done, it has been done, and you can do it too. It just takes a little planning ahead and maybe a few — or a slew — of strategies for staying motivated.
Don't worry, we've got your back.
Write down your weight loss goals. Writing down your goals is a good way to cement them in your mind and feel like you have a better handle on where you want to be and where you're headed. Keep your weight loss goals realistic: Two pounds a week is a good target. Any less, and you may lose interest when the weight comes off too slowly. Any more, and you're probably not approaching your weight loss in the healthiest way, which means the weight will come back in spades if you don't maintain your current momentum.
Stay off the scale. Numbers on a scale can be highly discouraging, and they can make you wonder if it's worth depriving yourself of all those delicious calories you're missing out on. Weighing yourself more than once every two weeks — or better yet, once a month — is highly counter-productive, especially if your weight loss plan includes weight training: As you lose fat, you'll gain muscle, and since muscle weighs more than fat, the dial on the scale won't move as much as you feel it should. Instead of going by the numbers, judge your success based on how you feel, how your clothes fit, and all of the compliments you're getting.
Beautify your life. If your life is generally a bit of a mess, sticking with a weight loss plan can be difficult. Clutter and chaos and the general confusion and lack of self-efficacy that's borne of them can make it hard to change other essential areas of your life, which is kind of the basis for losing weight. Clean it all up! Downsize the clutter by getting rid of junk and stuff and things. Downsize the chaos by getting your bills under control and keeping a to-do list so that you're not always in stress mode, putting out fires. Beautify your home so that your environment is calm, welcoming, and conducive to making thoughtful choices and maintaining mental clarity.
Schedule your workouts. If your workouts happen when they happen — when you're in the mood, when you have time — you may be missing a few, but burning those calories and building those muscles are central to losing weight quickly and effectively. Plan your workout schedule a week in advance so that you always know when you'll be heading off to the gym or out on your daily walk.
Treat yourself nicely. Self-criticism is a terrible and detrimental motivational tool. You may think that you can motivate yourself to pass up dessert by staring at yourself in the mirror and letting your perceived flaws send your self-hatred through the roof, but what it really does is promote the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead you to choose the couch over the treadmill or a box of cookies over an apple. When you're feeling hyper self-critical, step away from the mirror, close your eyes, and take some slow, deep breaths. Explain to your inner bitch that you're much more than your body, and that you refuse to be a party to negative and judgmental thoughts about yourself. Then, do three lovely things for yourself. Eat a handful of fresh blueberries. Drink a large glass of water. Do three Sun Salutations. Give yourself a pedicure. Post your favorite picture of yourself on Facebook.
Kick out the jams. The North American Association for the Study of Obesity recently conducted a study that found that women who listen to music while working out are more likely to stick with an exercise program. Music has the power to very literally increase your energy and motivation levels and keep you going a little longer or moving a little faster. So make a playlist of songs that fill you with inspiration and that make you wanna move, move, move. Play it while you work out. Heck, play it all the time, and clog while you cook, vogue as you vacuum, mambo with the mop, and shake it in the shower. The more you move, the more calories you're burning.
Meditate every day. Meditation is simply the process of focusing your mind on the immediate present and letting all thoughts of the past and future pass through without judgment and without dwelling on them. Quieting the mind puts you in touch with your subconscious and your spirit, which have way more of life's challenges figured out than you do. Spending fifteen minutes a day in mindful meditation lets some of that wisdom seep through and scrape away at those mental blocks and false beliefs set in place by your ego. Over time, the mindfulness you enjoy during meditation will translate to a higher level of motivation and self-efficacy, which will, in turn, make it easier to naturally make good choices.
What’s your favorite tip of these? Or what could you be more consistent on?