1. Focus on Your Reasons for Losing Weight
Initially, your motivation for losing weight may begin with an upcoming vacation, high school reunion, or swimsuit season, but your primary focus should be directed toward what will keep you inspired for the long haul. Remind yourself why it’s important to stay on track by keeping a running list of reasons of why you want to reach a healthier weight. This detailed list may include motives that revolve around feeling healthier, living longer, increasing energy, improving mood, boosting your self-esteem, setting a good example for your kids or being able to reach a goal on your bucket list like mountain climbing or running a half marathon. Keep your list of motives in a place that will remind you daily of what you’re working toward.
2. Aim for Goals beyond the Limits of the Scale
Too much attention to the number on the scale can zap your weight loss motivation pretty quickly. The scale isn’t always the most accurate measure of your progress. When those numbers don’t want to budge, start evaluating your success in other ways. In addition to losing weight, what else are you striving to obtain? Other health goals may include being able to run a 5 or 10K or being able to master a two-minute plank. Achievements can be measured in the number of fruits and vegetables you consume each day or in lowering your cholesterol levels. The changes you make not only affect your weight but can also reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and increase your chances at living a longer, more fulfilling life. Success is not measured by our waistline or our body weight, it is measured in the steps we take to become a healthier version of ourselves.
3. Write “IT” Down
What exactly does “it” refer to? Everything related to weight loss! “It” includes yours goals, reasons to lose weight, exercise log, food journal and frequent weigh-ins. People who are successful at weight loss are also successful at self-monitoring. Keep a written or online food diary to help pinpoint your nutritional deficiencies and recognize any emotional or environmental triggers affecting your weight loss efforts. Invest in a pedometer and track your daily steps to closely monitor your activity level. Your weight loss journal will help keep you accountable and on track.
4. Make it Fun
Yes, losing weight is hard. No, it is not fun ditching the bowl of ice cream for a handful of carrots, but that doesn’t mean that the entire weight loss journey has to be continuously dull and excruciating. Find ways to spice up your boring meal plan by trying new healthy recipes, shopping at local farmer’s market for fresh produce you’ve never tried and by making sure you don’t eat the same thing week to week. Stuck in an exercise rut? Change it up by experimenting with different work out machines, sampling new exercise classes, finding an fitness buddy or by relocating your usual three-mile walk to a new location or path. Variety adds flavor to your recipe for weight loss.
5. Silence the All-or-Nothing Approach
How many times have you told yourself that the whole day is ruined due to one minor slip-up? One cookie sneaks in then the rest of the day is downhill! Or how many times did you avoid the gym because you couldn’t put in a full 60 minutes or not join a new exercise class because you might not last the entire duration? Our minds often cling to this idea of perfection and quickly give up when the slightest fault occurs. Weight loss is not like sobriety – you don’t fall off the wagon after eating one cookie. One slight fumble doesn’t destroy your weight loss plan but being inflexible and accepting no less than 110 percent of your efforts will backfire. Losing weight is not about being perfect, it is about being and feeling healthier. Don’t be too hard on yourself – give yourself credit for making each day the healthiest you can. There will be days that feel like you’ve “fallen of the wagon”, but only you can determine how far you fall. Keep in mind … the farther the fall, the harder it is to get back on track.
Jordyn Forsyth is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She specializes in weight management, chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Jordyn strives to educate, empower and encourage others to make sustainable lifestyle changes. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Sciences from Baylor University and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.