Five Ways To Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation
We all know that weight loss isn’t something we can reach with minimal effort- it requires self-control, good planning, persistence, consistency and patience. It also requires motivation! Losing weight has to be something you really want to do, it has to come from the heart; however, just wanting to lose weight isn’t enough. Do you have what it takes to lose weight? Not only must you want to lose weight, but you must also be ready and able. This is because we’re constantly surrounded by an abundance of food and drink temptations, and so embarking on a weight loss journey as well as staying on that weight loss journey requires a certain mindset to keep you going. Here are five things you can do to help boost your weight loss motivation:-
1 Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation: What can you do for yourself NOW?
When we’re busy, it’s easy for healthy food choices to slip right to the bottom of the priority list, even though we might feel desperate to lose weight. If you have a weight loss goal, it can feel like a long way off. We can feel more inspired and motivated when we get more immediate results, and you can do this by expanding your weight loss goal into a goal of feeling better overall too.
Through acts of self-care, we can start to feel better. It’s therefore important to inject into your daily living small acts of self-kindness and self-care which make you feel good NOW amidst the stress of life. Pleasurable activities can often go out the window when we’re busy, and over time we can start feeling flat and have a ‘what’s the point?’ attitude, where we might start neglecting ourselves to the point where we’re rarely doing those things that are important to us, and that might include eating healthily.
~ Feel permanently tired because you don’t go to bed early enough or because you don’t get enough rest
~ You’re regularly dehydrated because you don’t keep an eye on your fluid consumption
~ You eat foods that cause you to experience blood sugar peaks and dips leading to hunger, cravings, the afternoon ‘slump’, poor concentration or irritability
~ You have toilet troubles- maybe you don’t eat enough fibre, or you’re eating foods which you’re intolerant to which cause bloating and/or other symptoms.
Self-care is a really important part of successful weight management. Self-care is about doing things that promote good health, it’s about acts of self-kindness, not expecting too much of yourself at once, being patient with yourself and not beating yourself up if things don’t go according to plan. If we speak harshly to ourselves, this can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, possibly leading us to reach for food because we feel ‘bad’; or feeling overly tired or feeling stressed because we haven’t made time to relax can lead to food cravings, making it hard to stick to healthy eating intentions. With acts of self-care we can start to feel both mentally and physically better, and when we feel better, we’re more likely to feel motivated and inspired to continue working towards our goals.
Try to inject small acts of self-kindness/self-care into your day- even tiny things can make us feel good. Here are some examples of things you can do to make you feel better today and tomorrow:-
~ Going to bed earlier
~ Choosing a meal that keeps you going and energised throughout the afternoon
~ Eating a snack which balances your blood sugar levels, for example, eating a piece of cheese or nuts with an apple, not just eating an apple, or eating some dark plain chocolate instead of biscuits
~ Choosing foods that your body tolerates well
~ Carrying a water bottle in your handbag and always having water on your desk
~ Fitting in a brisk 20 minute walk because you see it as a priority activity, despite being busy
~ Googling some useful information about a health topic that’s interesting and important to you
~ Having half an hour ‘me-time’ or mental rest, or allowing yourself to watch a really enjoyable film
~ Phoning a friend or family member for advice or support.
When we feel good, we have a better chance of making better choices overall, rather than battling through the day and relying on pick-me-ups such as chocolate, biscuits, coffee and alcohol. Similarly when we get more physically active, this can motivate us to make better food choices.
2 Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation: Balance ‘Shoulds’ And ‘Musts’ With Wants And Desires
Our personality can play a significant role in our eating and lifestyle behaviours, as well as our ability to manage our weight successfully. Some people might spend a good deal of their time doing things because they feel they should, perhaps not considering their own needs and what’s important to them (whether that’s rest-time, a bit more fun-time etc). They might also exercise a lot of self-discipline and might be driven to achieve; other people might spend a good deal of their time doing things based on ‘in the moment’, impulsive desires and decisions, focusing on what they want to do rather than what they should be doing; they might also lack self-discipline or easily give up diets or exercise plans.
As with everything, balance is key. Fun, pleasure and rest are extremely important in life, and a great antidote to stress, but sometimes it’s also important and necessary to do things we don’t feel like doing, or do things that require a bit of effort. On the other hand, if you inflict strict dietary and exercise rules on yourself, or you have very high expectations of yourself in general so that you set yourself overly challenging goals, such an approach is likely to be unsustainable.
3 Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation: ’Adding-In’ Mindset
When it comes to diets, it’s easy to fall into the mode of obsessing about what you should and shouldn’t eat- many diet plans provide lists of ‘allowed’ and ‘forbidden’ foods. A great way to boost your weight loss motivation is to have an ‘adding-in’ mindset- this enables you to focus on introducing new, healthy foods into your diet which can add more variety to your current eating and inspire you to try new recipes. One way you can start adopting an ‘adding-in’ mindset is to try one new fruit or vegetable every week, or buy a different type of nut for snacks each week, or try a new cheese or a variety of pulse or wholegrain you’ve not tried before. This approach can be a refreshing change from the typical dieting approach where it’s easy to feel deprived due to the focus on thinking about what you can’t eat.
4 Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation: Journaling
Keeping a journal can offer real benefits. It’s a great way to track your progress and can act as an aid to self-development and self-awareness. It’s an opportunity for you to record any information or tips you’ve learned, any new ideas which you might otherwise forget if you don’t write them down, any ‘light-bulb’ moments, as well as being a log of innermost feelings and desires. Exploring our feelings and desires is an important part of self-awareness and self-development, because how we think and feel can very much influence our behaviours. Keeping a journal can help you to clarify your intentions, gives you a bit of ‘me-time’ and focus, and allows you to go back in time to see where you were and how far you’ve come. You don’t need lots of time to write a journal- even just jotting down a couple of words each day can be valuable. A journal is a place to consolidate everything in relation to your self-development and weight loss journey, and is a great memory-jogger. A journal is not a food diary, where you jot down everything you eat- it’s a place where you can write down anything you want- it may well help to boost your weight loss motivation.
5 Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation: Aim For Gradual Weight Loss
If we set the intention to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest amount of time, such an approach is doomed to fail as it’s going to require significantly reducing your calorie intake. Cutting down drastically on your daily food consumption requires not only willpower, but it’s likely to feel overly restrictive, unenjoyable and unsustainable. If you do manage to stick to a rapid weight loss plan, then the chances of keeping off all or most of the weight you’ve lost is going to be a real challenge, especially if you haven’t tackled the underlying eating behaviours that made you overweight in the first place. It’s a much better idea to adopt a flexible eating approach that enables slower, more gradual weight loss over several months. Many diets can be anti-social as they’re low calorie and forbid certain foods, making such diets nearly impossible for many people to stick to for more than a few days or weeks. If you want to boost your weight loss motivation, then having a more flexible approach to weight loss is essential if you want to enjoy the journey and reach your final destination.
These five ways to boost your weight loss motivation illustrate just how important it is to have the right approach to weight loss- just wanting to lose weight isn’t enough. Approach it in a way that means you enjoy the journey through self-care strategies, you get to do some inner work to get to know and understand yourself through journaling, you make sure you don’t deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy and adopt an ‘adding-in’ mindset, you balance ‘shoulds’ with desires, you have a flexible attitude towards eating, and you’re prepared to lose weight gradually. That way you’re far more likely to enjoy the journey of losing weight. Ultimately, when we feel good, we’re much more likely to stay motivated, positive and hopeful along the way, enabling us to reach our goal.
For more information about how I support clients with their weight loss and weight maintenance goals, see ‘Services‘.
If you feel you could benefit from my Mindful Eating service, give me a call (Emma Randall) on 07961 423120, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m based in Lightwater, Surrey. Skype sessions also available.