Have you ever had a moment where you were excited to step on the scale, eager to see how much weight you’ve lost after a week of eating perfectly and working out every day, only to see that your weight is still the same as it was before?
Or, maybe it’s even worse: you see that you’ve gained weight, even after all of that effort!
What about when you have followed a strict eating plan for days, only to feel miserable the second that you cave in and eat a slice of pizza?
Maybe you’ve skipped going to the gym for the third or fourth day in a row, and you’re starting to feel like reaching your weight loss goals will be impossible or like you will never be able to get back on track.
Well, we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone in this.
When any of these situations happen, our first instinct is usually to throw in the towel or lose all motivation to keep going. It’s a natural response when it feels like we are struggling or are not going to be able to reach our goals.
However, we are also here to let you know that you do not have to be hard on yourself. Trying to lose weight requires a lot of motivation. Trying to lose weight in a healthy way, where you don’t see the drastic results promised in many online articles, is even more challenging.
However, with the right mindset and the right tools, you will be able to overcome any challenges and accomplish your weight loss goals.
Here are nine ways for you to stay motivated on your weight loss journey:
1. Discover your why
Chances are you didn’t just wake up one morning, flip a coin, and randomly decide that you are going to start losing weight. You decided to start losing weight for a reason, and it will help you to remember this reason when times get tough.
There is a reason why many boxers train using photos of championship belts, photos of their opponents, or posters of motivational quotes. Legendary champion Muhammad Ali is quoted saying, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
By visualising his goal of being a champion, he could push through tough workouts and stay motivated during challenging training sessions.
There are going to be some days when you do not feel like going to the gym or eating a healthy meal. During these times, it will be helpful for you to have a written or visual reminder of why you are trying to lose weight in the first place:
- Are you trying to reduce your risk of developing type II diabetes?
- Are you trying to be healthy enough to play with your children or your grandchildren in the future?
- Are you trying to have more energy throughout the day?
- Are you trying to be fit enough to play a particular sport or engage in more strenuous physical activity?
- Are you trying to increase your confidence and fit better in your clothes?
- Are you trying to make it easier for you to stay active?
Figure out your “why” and use this to help you when you are struggling to stay motivated.
2. Have healthy expectations
A quick Google search for losing weight will give you countless hits with articles promising that you can lose something like “10 kilos in 10 days” or articles promoting unhealthy diets with “scientifically backed” statistics showing that you can drop all of your belly fat in two weeks.
While the before and after images on these articles may make you feel like these results are attainable and sustainable, the truth is that these expectations are unrealistic and harmful.
It is important to have healthy expectations when you are trying to lose weight. Don’t feel discouraged if you are not dropping a kilo every week. If you were, that would not be a good thing!
Ultimately, to lose weight, your energy intake needs to be less than the amount of energy you use in a day. Instead of relying on crash diets or drastic measures that promise insane results, focusing on a modest energy deficit will result in losing a healthy amount of weight (roughly 0.5kg per week or 2kg per month).
This more gradual process will usually lead to safer and more sustainable results in the long run, even if the short-term results don’t feel as impressive.
Don’t allow unrealistic expectations to make you feel like you are failing on your weight loss journey. Have healthy expectations for your weight loss, and you will find that you are making more progress than you might think.
3. Prioritise progress over perfection
If you miss a workout or go overboard on dessert one night, it’s easy to feel like you have failed.
This feeling is what turns “slips” into “slides.” When you get frustrated with small mistakes, it is easier to keep making these mistakes and lose sight of your goals.
It can be tempting to skip all of your workouts for the rest of the week after you miss one so that you can “start fresh on Sunday” or to keep eating poorly after you overeat one night since you’ve already “messed up for the week.”
By learning to prioritise progress instead of perfection, you won’t risk losing motivation any time you make a slight slip-up on your weight loss journey.
Instead of getting down on yourself for missing a workout, acknowledge the workouts you did complete that week. If you used to have a sedentary lifestyle, but you’ve now started working out twice a week, that is a cause for celebration!
By celebrating your progress even when you’re not doing everything perfectly, you will find ways to stay motivated every week.
4. Create good habits
When you have a pattern or routine, it is a lot easier for you to keep up with your goals. Habits are what keep you going when your body is tired, and your motivation is draining.
Find the best times during the day to work out and try to make a habit so that it becomes habitual. If you’re used to packing your gym bag and going straight to the gym right after work, you’ll find yourself heading that way even on days when you don’t particularly feel like exercising.
If you make it a habit to make coffee and a healthy breakfast when you first wake up in the morning instead of swinging through a corner cafe to grab a coffee and banana bread, you’ll find yourself experiencing fewer cravings during the day.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes roughly 66 days to form a habit. When you’ve developed a habit, your body will work on autopilot, allowing you to make progress toward your goals without hassle.
5. Reframe setbacks as opportunities
When you experience a setback as you are working to lose weight, it can be easy to lose all of your motivation altogether.
However, it’s important to remember that every loss is a lesson.
Whenever you experience a setback, reframe it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Instead of being upset about eating a 3,000-calorie takeaway meal instead of eating the food you already have at home, reflect on your decision.
What made you decide to order UberEats? Your answers to this question will help you learn from your setback and make progress in the future.
Were you starving because you didn’t have a filling lunch? Start packing extra protein-rich foods in your lunch each day. Were you feeling too tired to cook at home? Try completing meal prep during the weekend.
By seeing your setbacks as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and how to develop healthy habits, you’ll find yourself having more success while trying to lose weight.
6. Celebrate small milestones
Set small goals and celebrate these goals along the way to your larger weight loss goals. If your plan is to lose 15kg overall, acknowledge your progress by celebrating every time you lose 5kg or celebrating every time you make it through a week of consistent workouts.
By celebrating small milestones, you will keep yourself from falling into the trap of believing that the steps you are taking toward your goals aren’t meaningful.
Come up with a list of a few smaller goals that will help you notice the progress you are making and give you a confidence and motivation boost.
7. Find healthy ways to cope with stress
In a study published in the article “Are Psychological Distress and Resilience Associated with Dietary Intake Among Australian University Students?” researchers found that people with high levels of psychological stress were more likely to drink soft drinks and consume takeaway food than those with lower levels of stress.
By finding healthy ways to cope with stress, you will be able to prevent stress from getting in the way of your weight loss goals.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, try participating in a hobby, going on a walk, playing a sport, or spending time with loved ones. Instead of using food to cope with your feelings, which will cause frustration and more stress in the long run, engage in healthy activities to help lower your stress and feel good about yourself.
8. Lean on others for support
We aren’t meant to go through life alone. It is critical that you have friends to lean on for support and accountability as you work toward losing weight.
Having friends who will listen to you express your feelings and struggles along your journey will help you feel validated and supported on your hardest days. Friends and family members can offer words of encouragement on the days that you feel like giving up, and they can be there to celebrate your successes on the days when you are doing well. You can even find new friends in a group class!
An accountability partner can also be helpful because they will ask you the tough questions and make sure you are on the right track to complete your goals.
Whether you choose to find support through friends, family members, accountability partners, or even a pet, you will find that your journey is easier when you’re not going through it alone.
9. Remember that you’re on a journey
Your weight loss journey is exactly what it sounds like: a journey. That means that there are bound to be obstacles, hardships, ups, and downs along the way.
If you could lose your desired amount of weight without any challenges, it wouldn’t be called a journey.
Don’t be discouraged when you hit a roadblock along the way. Take a deep breath, remind yourself why you’re on this journey, and keep moving forward.
You shouldn’t just expect hardships along the way, you should embrace them. These obstacles lead to sustainable change and provide opportunities for you to learn along the way.
When it comes to losing weight, it’s not about being perfect and dropping dozens of kilograms within a matter of weeks. Sustainable weight loss is about having a healthy mindset and creating behaviours and patterns that will help you in good times and bad times.
It’s not about punishing yourself for getting off track but rather about setting reasonable goals, celebrating small milestones, and learning more about yourself.
It’s not about suffering alone to get to your goals, but rather pushing through challenges with self-love and the support of your friends and family.
If you’re wondering how to stay motivated to lose weight, try getting help from your friends at Crunch Fitness. See how Crunch Fitness and our team of welcoming professionals and our supportive community can help you reach your goals when you visit our clubs.
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