How to Stay Motivated During Weight Loss

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Are you able to stay motivated during weight loss? Sometimes, we start losing weight with a diet and exercise plan, but we don't finish. Maybe outside pressure becomes overwhelming or perhaps we aren't ready to lose weight. Whatever the cause, both men and women find this aspect of dieting especially hard. 

But you're not destined for failure. Even if you've started and stopped countless times before, you can still make weight loss happen. By putting some important skills to use, you will find it a little easier to stay motivated, stick to your weight loss efforts, and reach your goal weight.

Tips for Staying Motivated

Use these tips to keep your motivation levels high when working toward a weight loss goal.

Set Goals and Track Progress 

At the beginning of your weight loss journey it can be helpful to set a SMART goal. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

S.M.A.R.T. goals are often used often in corporate settings because they help workers to define clear strategies and outcomes for their success. But they can be useful for people who are trying to set nutrition, weight loss, or fitness goals as well. 

After you set a goal, you'll want to track your progress. Whether you keep a spreadsheet on your computer or simply jot down your stats in a notebook, keeping an eye on your progress will help to keep you motivated.

Also tracking and self-monitoring provides important data. This way if you gained weight or lost weight, then you can look back to see exactly what you did. The data can provide (non-judgmental) insight about which changes have been successful and which may need to be modified. By being able to look back at the data, we can have a better understanding of how our behaviors impact our goals.

You can track your weight, measurements, body mass index (BMI), or any health behavior (such as veggie consumption, daily steps, portion size, or water intake, etc). You can also keep track of your emotions. It is up to you. By looking back at how far you've come, you're less likely to revert to old habits.

Reward Yourself

One of the best ways to stay motivated throughout your weight loss journey is to reward yourself without food. Some might enjoy an afternoon of golf or fishing. Others might like a new book or a lazy Saturday of watching movies in bed. Or maybe you'd prefer to redecorate your bedroom or go on a hike.

People have different rewards they might enjoy. Discover what it is that makes you happy—without food—and set it up as a reward for reaching small goals along the way.

Address Emotional Eating

To achieve long-term weight loss success, you will have to deal with emotional eating habits by asking some important questions: Do you overeat when you're angry? Do you splurge on an extra serving of dessert when you're feeling frustrated or sad?

Being honest with yourself is the only way to get the true measure of your emotional eating triggers. Without facing them, you will always be less likely to be in control of your weight. Jot down notes in your weight loss journal about your feelings when you eat. Then take time to review the journal and look for patterns that you might be able to address and change.

Go on the Offense

There will always be people who encourage you to indulge "just this once." That's not really a problem until "this once" happens over and over again. Remember that your new eating plan isn't just a temporary diet but a lifestyle change that you've elected. Using this mentality, you can choose what you want to do in these situations.

But if every time you see someone you back-burner your new lifestyle goals, it may mean you need to take a moment and think about what is going on and what you really want. It may be time to re-evaluate your goals or remember your "why." You also may need to distance yourself or have a serious talk with others about your weight loss efforts. Peer pressure doesn't end when you get older. And it doesn't affect one gender or another.

In fact, men tend to experience more pressure to eat "manly" sized portions or foods that are perceived to be more masculine, like an oversized steak or burger. But you can plan non-food activities with loved ones and work hard to resist temptation when you're in an environment where food is part of the festivities.

Use Medical Motivation to Stay on Track

In an informal reader poll, 65% of readers said they were losing weight for the sake of appearances. Only 35% said they were doing it for their health. That fact is surprising, considering the impact that weight loss can have on health and overall quality of life.

When you need to stay motivated to stick to your new eating and exercise habits, think about the health benefits of reaching your goal weight. By reaching and maintaining a healthier weight, you are more likely to live a longer life with fewer medical problems. Wearing a smaller size is the icing on the cake. A happier, healthier life is the ultimate reward.

A Word From Verywell

If weight loss were easy, then no one would need to slim down. The fact is that losing weight is terribly difficult and trying to manage daily motivation is the hardest part. Grab an accountability buddy and walk through some of these motivation boosters together. Cheer each other on and keep each other focused. The benefits are worth it if you can stay on track.

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