Need some help staying motivated when you’re trying to lose weight? It’s not easy to stick to your diet or exercise plan, especially if you’re trying to lose weight on your own and don’t have anyone cheering you on or supporting you along the way.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do that will increase your chances of keeping your motivation up and continuing your path toward weight loss. Here are seven tips on how to stay motivated when losing weight.
1) Make sure you know why you want to lose weight
The first and most important thing you need to do is make sure you know why you want to lose weight. As simple as it sounds, knowing your motivation will keep you focused and motivated when things get tough. For example, if your goal is to look better for a certain event (i.e., a vacation), then that’s going to be one major factor in your motivation.
If looking better helps motivate you, great! But if looking good in swimsuits doesn’t really excite or motivate you then it might be a sign that something else might be motivating or exciting enough for you instead—like competing in a 5K race.
Make a plan and visualise your success: Make a plan that outlines exactly what you need to do in order to achieve your goal. Think of it as your weight loss roadmap. You don’t have to go into detail, but if you want you can also add some details about when and how often you will do certain activities, such as walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week or joining an aerobic class 3 times per week.
This is also where visualisation comes in—by picturing yourself enjoying life at your goal weight, it will be easier for you to stay motivated because it will feel like something is actually achievable rather than just being an abstract goal that feels out of reach.
2) Focus on progress, not perfection
Setting lofty and unrealistic goals is one of the most common ways we demotivate ourselves. We don’t lose weight overnight, so why do we expect our exercise routine to be quick and easy? The key to staying motivated when losing weight is focusing on progress, not perfection. Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t reached your goal in a day or two; instead, focus on how far you’ve come already. After all, that scale won’t change overnight; what matters is how long it takes for your routine habits (eating well and exercising) to set in. Focus on making daily improvements rather than instant changes and you can improve your chances of staying motivated when losing weight.
3) Measure your progress
One of the best ways to stay motivated when losing weight is to measure your progress regularly. This helps you understand how far you’ve come but also gives you a tangible goal to shoot for. For example, if your goal is 20 pounds in four months, check back every month and see how much progress you’ve made. That visual will keep you going until your next check-in. And remember: small changes can still lead to big results! Just getting started with an exercise routine or even just drinking more water are great ways to start moving towards a healthier lifestyle.
4) Set short-term goals
Short-term goals make it easier to stay motivated and maintain your focus. Instead of setting a long-term goal—like losing 10 pounds—set a goal for every week. For example, lose one pound per week or lose five pounds in three weeks. If you make it a habit of losing one or two pounds every few days, you can lose more than 10 pounds in a month without even noticing it.
It’s also a good idea to reward yourself for achieving goals. For example, if you make it your goal to run 3 days a week, make it a point to buy an accessory for your workout clothing every time you meet that goal. This can help keep your motivation levels high as well as lower stress levels. Whatever motivates you, just remember to celebrate small wins because they can help keep the momentum going.
5) Be good to yourself
Rewards aren’t just for kids—and neither is motivation. Remember that you’re trying to lose weight, and not just go on a diet or try a new way of eating for fun. Have something healthy planned as a reward for yourself once you reach your goal weight (and don’t forget how hard you worked to get there!). It can be anything from treating yourself to your favourite meal or snack food, buying something special, seeing a movie, taking a mini-vacation with friends, etc. Whatever will make you happy!
Don’t let anyone stand in your way of success, especially yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and want you to succeed, or leave any negative or toxic relationships behind.
If a friend or family member doesn’t support your weight loss efforts or tries to discourage you from losing weight, it might be time for a heart-to-heart talk about why their words can do more harm than good. If they aren’t willing to accept that you need positive motivation, then it may be time for them to go.
6) Read success stories
To stay motivated, read success stories of people who have achieved what you want. Find and follow inspiring people on social media or in books or magazines. Surround yourself with people who will support your efforts, but don’t rely solely on their motivation—you need to take charge of that yourself. Success isn’t something that just happens; it’s something you achieve with hard work and commitment. You can be a success story too if you are determined and consistent about getting healthier one day at a time.
7) Reward yourself with treats
There’s a fine line between rewarding yourself and setting yourself up for failure. To keep weight loss motivation on track, treat yourself when you’ve achieved milestones rather than splurging on high-calorie junk food after every meal.
For example, reward yourself with a special dessert or other treats if you lose 5 pounds or maintain your goal weight for two weeks. If you slip up, get back on track as soon as possible so that your body doesn’t have time to adjust to less food; that makes it more likely that you’ll overeat later. Being overly strict could sabotage your efforts and make dieting more difficult in the long run.
Everyone wants a quick fix, and when it comes to weight loss most people are looking for it. If you want a long-term solution, then you need a dieting lifestyle change—not an overnight success story. The truth is that there’s no easy way to lose weight; it requires hard work and dedication. To truly stay motivated and successful when losing weight, find ways to make these changes fun and engaging so they don’t feel like a chore or an inconvenience.