How to stay motivated during your weight-loss journey
We’ve said it many times before and we will keep saying it: losing weight (or gaining muscle) takes its time. It’s a long process that begins with a challenge and sometimes never ends, as it becomes a lifestyle. However, getting used to your new habits is usually quite hard; it requires a strong motivation but this one has its own cycles and there will be times when your level of motivation will be very low. How can you stay motivated during your whole weight-loss process?
First of all, you need to keep in mind that you don’t need to be highly motivated all the time. If you find yourself losing all motivation, just take a break (for up to 3 days) before coming back on track, and don’t let the lack of motivation blow your overall confidence: it’s not a failure, it’s just the natural rhythm of your body.
Now that you know this, here are some motivational tips that will help you stick to your weight loss plan.
#1 Create a Strategy.
You don’t go to war without a strategy! Without it, you won’t know where to start from, what to do or even worse: you won’t even know what you want to achieve! So sit down, grab a paper and a pen (researchers say writing things down in paper helps your brain remember better than if you do in a laptop) an question yourself about the following aspects of your mission:
- What do you want to achieve? Set up a realistic, long-term goal: losing 8 to 10 lbs in a month? Realistic; losing 20 lbs in a month? Not so realistic. If you want to reach your weight loss goals, you need them to be achievable.
- Set up smaller objectives to keep track of your successes on the way to your Main Goal, and reward yourself (without food) every time you accomplish one. For instance, if you want to lose 30 lbs in 6 months, you could reward yourself with a spa day when you have lost 15 lbs.
- Keep a journal. This will help you notice what you have achieved already, but also your own tips, your meal plans and your thoughts.
- Remember, your goals don’t need to scale-related. You could be trying to eat healthier: reward yourself for a week without sweets or junk food, for example; if you find the harder part of your working out plan is actually going to the gym, you could aim to go three days a week each month and choose a treat every month you actually achieved it.
- If you are not sure how to set up SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time based), you might need a bit of help from a Personal Trainer. Get in touch with Glasgow PTS today, we will be happy to give you some advice!
#2 Do you know your reasons to lose weight?
Why do you want to lose weight/gain muscle/start exercising? Is it because you want to fit in a new dress, have gotten tired of being tired all the time, or want to stay in good shape when you become older? Whatever the reason, it’s important that you are aware of it. Then you can work with it: if it’s an object (an outfit, a dress…) you can keep it by your mirror to remember every day; if it’s your family (you want to stay healthy for them), try and find ways of get them involved in your process; etc.
But this is not the only thing you need to think about! For some people, a stronger motivator is not what they want to achieve but what they want to AVOID. Ask yourself what would happen if I don’t start taking care of myself? How will my life be in five, ten years time if I don’t start changing habits now?
#3 Don’t weigh in daily.
The scale doesn’t really represent your body changes, and your weight can vary a lot from one day to another (it may even suffer changes during the same day). So don’t get obsessed about a number in the scale. Try to weigh once a month or every two weeks to keep a real track of your successes.
If there’s something you should start doing though, it’s taking selfies, especially after working out or during a healthy meal. This is a better way of seeing your progress, but it will also remind you the way you feel after a good exercise or a good meal if you are feeling down or unmotivated.
#4 You’ve missed a training session or break your diet? Take it easy and reflect about it.
So you haven’t gone to the gym today as planned, or you’ve eaten way too much at your mum’s birthday. Should you hide in shame and cry your failure to the world? No way!
First of all, these things happen all the time to everybody. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, as it’s absolutely natural. Don’t take it hard on yourself and remember perfection doesn’t exist.
Once you have calmed down, you can confront yourself and ask questions. Why did you skip the gym today? You probably just need a break, as you have been very busy lately and are exhausted. If there’s something else behind, dig into it: is it because the gym is too far from home? You hate the exercises you are doing? Do you feel intimidated by the perfectly-sculpted bodies in your gym?
Same thing happens with the food. If you think you are getting back to old, bad habits, question yourself about it. Why do you really overeat? How can you change that?
#5 Buddy up!
Having a partner in crime is the most fun way of stay motivated and lose weight. Your friend will keep an eye on your records and commitments and you can keep an eye on theirs. Plus, you will have someone to share experiences, fears and tips with, and it could also mean a little bit of healthy competition if you’d like so.
If you can’t find a person to come to the gym with you, get your friends and family involved in different ways. For example, you can plan no-food or no-drink activities with them, to catch up avoiding temptations.
#6 Be compassionate and kind to yourself.
This is the most important tip you will ever need in life. We all have an evil, inner critic we can’t get rid of, but we can learn to silence it. How? Just start focusing on what your body can do instead of beating yourself up on how it looks. You don’t have to be perfect, you just need to try and be your best self. But if that doesn’t work one day or two, forgive yourself and remember one little misstep won’t undo all your good progress.