How many diets have you started in the last 18 months? I know you don’t like to think about it!
How many have you actually stuck to? Come on be honest!
If you are anything like me I start a new health kick every other month, so you are not alone.
Apparently, almost 40% of people who diet regularly give up within the first seven days (tick). 20% give up without finishing a month (tick). And just 20% of people will make it through to the second month of dieting – well let’s not go there.
That is realistically less than 20% of people actually succeed in reaching their goals.
If we then think about how many people, after succeeding to reach target, actually maintain their target weight loss we are looking at a lot of unmotivated people.
Shockingly, according to Public Health England, even though the list of health implications associated with obesity continues to grow, the number of people classed as obese is still increasing.
So why do so many people still struggle to lose weight and then maintain weight loss? How do you keep weight loss motivation high when it feels like you are depriving yourself and missing out on all the fun?
Lack of motivation is always one of the top excuses people give to explain why the diet didn’t work.
But lets be clear, you aren’t born with motivation.
Motivation is just a feeling. And as with any feeling, or emotion, you can create it and control it.
Drawing on the right emotion will give you the power to do anything you want to do.
So the big question is – how do you create and maintain your weight loss motivation?
How do you create that emotion that will keep you focussed and on track?
Having good intentions just doesn’t cut it!
But you already knew that.
Here are some tips and tricks to generate that positive emotion which will allow you to maintain weight loss motivation.
1. Decide on what you want to achieve
The most common reason for weight loss failure is setting unrealistic goals.
We can also be very impatient to see results, I am certainly guilty of this. Wouldn’t life be great if we could click our fingers and be a size 12?
A lifestyle change is the only thing that will really yield long-term results.
So decide on your goals in a specific and tangible way.
Detail it so you can picture yourself at your end goal. How will you look and feel? Dig deep so you really understand what you desire.
Try to make your goal positive, i.e. make sure you are aiming towards where you want to be and not trying to get away from something.
Instead of having one big goal, break your ultimate desire into smaller goals. This means you can more easily track them and celebrate your successes frequently. Seeing frequent success in itself has to be a great motivator.
Make sure you write down what these goals are so that you can review and revisit them. Writing things down makes it a more positive statement of intention rather than just making a mental note.
2. Find your ‘why’
Work out what your compelling motivation for changing your lifestyle is. Find reasons that are going to motivate and drive you. Something you can refer to when you are having a wobble, so they will help re-focus your efforts.
You need to dig deep to make sure your ‘why’ is something that really resonates with you. Find something that is intrinsically motivating, such as wanting to stay active as you get older or being able to play with your children.
These reasons are something that you can refer to whenever you have a decision to make about food or exercise. Just ask yourself will the outcome of the decision support your why, will it move you closer to your goal. You’ll know what the answer should be.
Your “why” motivation is something that will stay with you throughout life. This is what drives your lifestyle change.
Write down your ‘why’ and revisit them daily.
3. Set your short-term commitments
It’s time to make conscious decisions.
By that I mean thinking about your choices rather than just taking the easy or quickest route.
Most of the decisions we make every day are subconscious habits and routines, which means we are unaware of them. We aren’t born with these habits, we develop them over time to help save time and meet an underlying need.
‘Habits, are simply reliable solutions to recurring problems in our environment’ – Jason Hreha
Which is why, when we see or smell food, or pass a particular coffee shop, we can’t resist ‘treating’ ourselves because it made us feel good previously. We don’t think of the consequences. Or we think of the consequences and eat it anyway because you know it will make you feel better.
Look at what decisions you make about food and exercise on a daily basis, both consciously and unconsciously. Are these good decisions or just the path of least resistance?
These are your starting points for making adjustments to cut out your bad habits and triggers.
‘Success is the product of daily habits – not once in a lifetime transformations’ – Atomic Habits, James Clear
Define the new good habits you need to follow to meet your goals. You need to make these into consistent activities in your daily life to ensure ultimate long term success.
Write down the habits you want to create and keep track of how you are succeeding on a daily basis.
Our Ultimate health and fitness planner has pages for you to to detail your goals and reasons why you want to succeed along with letting you log and track your habits to help you be more mindful of your decisions.
4. Measure your progress
When it comes to weight loss motivation, keep weekly and monthly metrics of your progress. These help make sure you are on track and motivate you so you can celebrate your successes, no matter how small.
The best way to check your progress is through pictures rather than scales. Scales don’t tell you whether your bum is firmer or whether your belly is flatter so are only half of the story. How many people do you know that are similar weights but vastly different body proportions?
Take a photo of yourself in the same position, clothing and light every month. Compare it to the previous month’s and note the changes. You may be surprised.
The tracker pages in our Health and Fitness planner are there for you to choose which metrics work best for your goals. There is even a space to attach your photos.
5. Be accountable
You will considerably improve your results by making yourself accountable to someone other than yourself. Checking in with someone else, and possibly helping them too, will help you stick to your plan.
Choose someone, who is aiming towards the same goal of losing weight to provide a sense of competition.
Or why not join a supportive facebook group that meets your goals and values and share your progress.
6. Exercise every day no matter what
Become more active.
Increasing your activity level will boost your energy.
Whether it is simply upping your step count, fitting in specific workouts or just getting off the bus a stop earlier make sure you keep moving.
Try and keep yourself motivated by trying fun and new ways to exercise. Researchers from Iowa State University found people who vary their workouts have increased motivation.
Challenging yourself to specific exercise goals can also add a greater incentive. It allows you to focus on specific goals and see your progress instantly.
Our health and fitness planner has pages with detailed 30 day exercise challenges, and also a sofa to 5k challenge. There are also pages for you to plan exercise routines and track your progress.
7. Plan, Plan, Plan
Having some kind of plan in place allows you to feel more in control of your time and make your life easier. This means you’ll be less likely to grab something unhealthy because you have nothing in the fridge.
Plan your meals for the coming week.
Plan when you are going shopping and note what you need to buy for the meals your are having.
Spend a few minutes each day planning the meals for the next day so you know what you will be eating and have everything ready.
Have a few ready prepared emergency meals in your fridge or freezer so you are never caught out.
Plan what exercises you will do and when. Planning your exercise routine means that you are less likely to skip, or defer, it.
Our health and fitness planner has pages for you to plan meals, shopping and exercise on a daily and weekly basis.
8. Be consistent
Stick to your new habits 100% of the time for 6 weeks to ensure these new habits stick and achieve success long term for fabulous results.
Once you are through the first 6 weeks, you should be well on the way to changing your lifestyle.
Depending on where you are on your weight loss journey you can either continue as you have been with your good habits. Or if you are looking at maintaining, try to find a balance across the week. Try to stick to being good for at least 80% of the time. Then you can enjoy some treats without feeling guilty.
Use the tracker pages in our health and fitness planner to help you keep track of your habits.
9. Treat yourself with kindness
Research shows weight loss motivation is more likely to stay high when you like the results and appreciate your body for all the things it can do for you. So learn to love yourself.
Weight loss motivation means thinking positively. The more you think your positive thoughts the sooner you will start believing them.
Develop 5-7 simple positive statements to reframe your negative inner voice and which address your key limiting beliefs.
Write your affirmations down in several places.
Repeat them several times per day.
Be relentless, persistent and deliberate in your affirmation practice.
Use the affirmation pages in our health and fitness planner to help you document your positive thoughts and stay tuned into them.
The secret, when it comes to retaining your weight loss motivation, is kindness towards yourself. Everyone has a bad day, so don’t stress about the small stuff. Tomorrow is a new day to try again and smash it this time.
Maintaining weight loss motivation – moving forward
The key to mainiting weight loss motivation is to be patient. Be reasonable with your expectations. It takes time for your body to change.
Taking it slow and steady will make the end result that much more pleasurable – like all good things in life.
Our health and fitness planner contains all of the tools you need to support all of these essential tips. After purchase you can simply print out the pages you need as and when you need them.