Healthy diet and physical activity may be required to get that slim body you’ve always dreamt of, but your attitude about getting there plays an important role too. Your mindset is the difference between the successful weight loss and frustrating weight fluctuations.
This article is for all those women (and men) who want to lose weight and keep it off permanently because the big question for many is – how do I get motivated to lose weight and perhaps even more importantly how do I keep up this motivation for long enough to achieve weight loss.
Take a look at the standard weight loss formula:
Weight Loss = Diet + Exercise
In my personal weight loss efforts, I realized that this formula just does not carry weight (no pun intended!). We have been erroneously taught over and over that weight loss can only come through diet and exercise.
However, I have learnt that there is much more to weight loss than these two factors. Food and exercise are just a part of the equation. The person who wants to lose weight must actually change patterns of behaviour and her/his mindset so that he/she does not have to fight against self when trying to shed those kilos. That is what mindset is all about.
Diet and weight loss through exercise require a great deal of Self Control and Willpower. The use of these two factors can make weight loss an arduous process. So, simply setting the primary goal of losing unwanted weight is not enough; one must additionally set the all-important goal of using the least amount of willpower and self control to effect that change.
So how can you get motivated to lose weight?
What diet and weight loss motivation factors can help you on your journey?
Just how do you get into the mindset for losing weight?
Let us answer these questions by studying weight loss motivation tips that personally helped me a great deal in changing my mindset.
Tips to Help You Stay Motivated to Lose Weight
1. Understand the New Equation of Weight Loss
I learned that the correct weight loss equation is actually as given below:
Weight Loss = Diet + Exercise + Adherence + Personal Change
Statistics related to obesity show how important adherence is in the weight loss equation and yet how overlooked it is as well.
The 2014-15 National Health Survey found 63.4% of Australian adults are now overweight or obese and in the United States also nearly 64% women are believed to be overweight or obese yet, a survey pointed out that only 45% of women are actually trying to lose weight.
This is where adherence comes into play: sticking to a weight loss exercise and/or diet plan requires commitment. The regimen, whichever you choose, must be done in a committed manner with repetition.
Next comes personal change. Personal change means changing habits that led you to put on weight in the first place. It means changing all those well established thought and behavioural patterns that prevent us from eating healthily and establishing new patterns that are conducive to sticking to the regimen.
Both adherence and personal change are non-food plans that are an essential part of the mindset for losing weight. They both begin with positive self talk. Women and men who want to lose weight commonly use following dialogs that deter them on their weight loss journey:
· I do not have the right attitude to lose weight
· I can’t stand myself when I fail
· I do not like the way I look
· I am not ready
Overcoming these negatives is an essential weight loss and diet motivation. So get into positive mindset through following ways:
- Be gentle, loving and kind to yourself.
- Tell yourself that you deserve to be happy, look good, be healthy.
- Start your mornings with positive affirmations such as: 'I will treat myself with more love and respect than what I have given so far', 'I deserve foods that I love but those that nourish my body and mind'.
These positive affirmations will help your actions flow more naturally so you get set on auto pilot for weight loss.
2. Get into Auto-Pilot Mode
Why does it become second nature to us to reach out for comfort foods, taking second helpings etc.? The answer is because we seem to feel a certain way when we do these things.
So how to be motivated to lose weight? The best motivation for losing weight is to become as automatic and effortless as possible. Put these things right up there with your weight loss goals. To become automatic with weight loss use the following weight loss motivation tips:
- Get increasingly comfortable with what you are trying to accomplish.
- Do not try to control things as this will leave you lesser mental energy than you need – just flow as much as you can into your diet and weight loss regimen.
- Minimise the feeling that you are putting too much effort.
- Set lots of sub-goals - success leads to more success.
3. Figure out What Throws You off the Plan and Deal with It
Instead of thinking of your end goal 'I will diet and lose 20 kilos', focus on the strategies – about what it will take to achieve your intention, what throws you off the diet or exercise, what processes are most relevant to achieve the goal and what you need to learn on this journey.
This is one of the most important ways how to get motivated to lose weight. An essential part of this process is to think of strategies to get back on the bandwagon after you have had a cheat day. Set very specific goals such as 'I will get back on the diet at the very next meal'.
4. Think About the Instant Rewards That You Get from Commitment to Weight Loss
Physical changes might take weeks, even months, to show results. So the best way to stay motivated to lose weight is to think about (almost) instant rewards of the weight loss journey:
- Increased brain power and boosted productivity - If you are planning to skip your workout just because you have a presentation to work on or an important assignment to deliver which leaves you with no time, understand that a quick trip to the gym will actually help you. Even a 30 minute workout at the gym helps shift brain activity to enhance functioning, coordination, thoughts and action.
- Increased social ties - One of the best ways how to get in the right mindset to lose weight is to do it in a group. If your partner or friends refuse to join you, you can always sign up to a body pump or a cardio class. Chances are you will make a friend or two who will further motivate you. Also, you will meet like-minded people who are more or less in the same situation as you are; this can help you reduce negative self talk and guilt, become more outgoing, personable and kinder and also feel more attractive.
- Glowing skin - If this is not motivation for weight loss and exercise, I do not know what is. Sweat helps clean pores like no expensive facial treatment at a salon can. Exercise also increases heart rate and improves blood flow and circulation to the skin’s surface giving you a revitalizing flush of colour.
- Better sex - When you eat right and exercise, you actually feel a lot sexier. A recent study showed that women who went on a simple 20 minute run on the treadmill before a watching an erotic film with their partner had a 150% increase in genital arousal. Exercise helped greater amount of blood to rush to the vagina creating greater lubrication for better sex.
- Improved sleep - A 2011 study proved that people who exercised for 30 minutes a day for 5 days in a week were able to fall asleep a lot faster and also had better energy during the daytime.
- Better health - Don't forget about the many long-term rewards that you will definitely receive. Your health will improve and you will lower the risks of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. After all, research shows that the idea you can be fat but fit and healthy is a myth.
5. Weight Loss Mindset- Tips for Avoiding Common Excuses
Excuses - we all make them. Here are essential ways to overcome common weight loss excuses to stay motivated to lose weight:
- I find exercise boring - Infuse creativity in the exercise. Try an exercise class or group activity that you think you will enjoy or sign up for dance. Losing weight is just like dating: try harder and longer until you find something you love.
- I do not have time - Redefine working out as an activity that you need not do in one stretch. Instead - go for three 10-minute mini workout sessions. Get into this mindset for weight loss: climb stairs instead of taking the elevator, run or walk to store for grocery, and even do some strenuous house cleaning, gardening, lawn mowing and so on. Ultimately - make health a priority!
- I am too tired - Unless you are sick, you always have the energy for a workout - you only need to tap into it. If you think you are not ready to lose weight, you never will be ready. The best time to lose weight is NOW, not tomorrow or next month. You can even start by committing to shorter exercise sessions: start with as little as 5 minutes. The first 5 minutes will actually energise you - if not - stop and try again tomorrow. This is one of the best weight loss motivation tips for people who hate exercising.
6. You Decide What You Eat
If you are wondering how to stay motivated on a diet, the best diet motivation comes from using a diet plan which you feel is right for you long term.
It is a fact though that you need to eat a bit less to lose weight. For some people, it helps to cut back on sugar. Many give up desserts altogether. For others, it helps to just eat less of everything.
Personally, I feel the second approach is best - you do not deprive yourself so you are in a better position to stay in the weight loss mindset. Don't follow fad diets that tell you to exclude any food groups e.g. carbohydrates or fats. Try the following:
- Limit high calorie foods - Reach out for vegetables with a dip when hungry. If your sweet tooth demands a dessert, eat a small piece of dark chocolate or go for a fruit bowl with some unsweetened yogurt.
- Reduce alcohol and sugary beverages - Did you know that all alcohol is high in calories? Stay hydrated. Drink water and fresh fruit juices (without added sugar) and avoid adding sugar to your coffee/tea. Add Stevia sweetener if you have a sweet tooth as it has no calories.
- Practice portion control - Instead of depriving your body by cutting back on food groups; eat smaller portions of food you love. Start measuring food and, better yet, cook a lot less than you did. Use smaller plates and eat slowly.
- Shop smart at the grocery store - Avoid buying food you will regret eating later. Restock your pantry with healthy food. More importantly, get into the weight loss mindset by creating shopping lists and sticking to them.
- Eat plenty of healthy food including lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, good fats and some grains. Change your long-term eating habits, rather than be 'on a diet'. And, it's definitely a good idea to stop eating junk food and highly processed food full of sugar or fat.
7. Make Small Changes
Think about small changes you plan on making. I find it helps to write down things I have eaten through the day and the activities I have done. You can even:
- Photograph food you have eaten through the day.
- Track calories of what you eat by using online tools.
- Note down every single item you have eaten or drunk in a journal.
- Try one new healthy recipe, new food every day. Try to replace less healthy foods with better alternatives/options. For example replace mayonnaise with yogurt or sugar in your coffee with Stevia. Go for a walk or a swim.
8. Make Vision Boards and Visualization
Over the past decade, a great deal has been said about positive visualization and achieving goals through vision boards. Both these activities can help if you need some motivation to lose weight. Visualizing the way you will look like and feel is extremely powerful. Here are some tips which you must follow daily:
- Start your mornings with light meditation - Sit with your eyes closed. Thank the Universe for everything you have. Then focus on your breath for the next 10 minutes (takes practice!).
- Create a vision of yourself with a slim and energetic, healthy body. Imagine beautiful clothes you can wear and the compliments you will receive. Sense how good you feel when you receive those compliments. This is one of the proven weight loss motivation tips.
- Create vision boards and look at them daily - Post pictures of how slim you were a decade ago or post pictures of celebrities or role models who you feel have a great body. Collect images of slim men and women as well as things you want in life. Create a scrap book and paste this in your closet or your room where you can look at them daily. Post pictures of healthy food, motivational quotes and people working out and so on.
- Continue to make affirmative and positive statements daily - This will help you feel happy and positive.
9. Deal with Weight Loss Plateau
Despite these efforts, there will be times when you do not see any weight loss on your weighing scale. This happens to EVERYONE on the weight loss journey. This can be terribly discouraging and most people tend to quit at this point. 'What’s the use? I’m not getting anywhere!' This is the time to turn things around.
Measuring yourself on the scale is not the only way of seeing if your weight loss efforts are bearing fruit. There are other ways to see if you are getting anywhere. You can ask yourself following questions
- Are my pants/dresses still as tight?
- Has my stomach fullness feeling changed?
- Do I still need to open my belt after I have eaten?
You never know, the answers to these questions might actually help you stay motivated in your weight loss efforts. Finally also ask yourself: Am I happier? You happiness and reduced anxiety levels are big motivational factors in helping you stay committed to your goals.
Losing weight is not about diet and exercise alone, there is the all important, yet often overlooked factor of psychology or mindset. There has always been a connection between food and feelings which itself is enough to show how important mindset is in staying motivated to lose weight.
Mindset for losing weight involves patterns, frustrations, success, failure, goal setting, goal attainment, goal pursuits and so on. First - it begins with starting and setting a desire or an intention.
Next comes planning and strategies to implement that which you wish to achieve. Then comes perseverance, talking to yourself positively during moments of failure and also making deals with yourself to stick to the path even when things look down. That is what it takes to stay motivated to lose weight; that is what weight loss mindset is all about!