At the outset of any weight loss journey or transformation challenge, motivation is high. You’re embarking on a new quest, one that (hopefully) results in obtaining your best body ever.
However, as the weeks tick on by, motivation and enthusiasm can start to fade, especially if your weight of rate loss has slowed or hit a plateau.
Here, we give you 9 ways to stay motivated during your weight loss journey.
9 Motivation Tips to Boost Weight Loss
#1 Be S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:
It is a method used by individuals to help set realistic, achievable goals in any facet of life, be it weight loss, business, or personal development.
So often the reason individuals fail to achieve their goals is due to the fact that they lack specificity and a well-laid out plan of attack.
You’ll hear people say “i want to lose weight.”
But, how much weight do they want to lose, when do they want to have the weight lost by, and how exactly are they going to facilitate weight loss?
Ambiguous goals and aspirations are all fine and good, but if you’re serious about achieving a goal, you need to be SMART.
Write down how much weight you want to lose, and when you want to accomplish this weight loss by. Additionally, you need to be able to track your process (calorie intake, waist measurements, body weight, etc.) to know if what you’re doing to lose weight is working or not.
Finally, you need to be realistic with your goals. If you’re 100 pounds overweight, you can’t expect to lose it in one week, four weeks, or likely four months. Yes, losing 100 pounds is certainly manageable and achievable, but you need to have a realistic view of how long it will take.
#2 Divide & Conquer
Building off point #1, it is important to have realistic, achievable goals, but you also need to have a plan of attack for how you’re going to accomplish said goals.
This is where the “divide & conquer” concept comes into play, especially if your goal is a long-term one.
“Divide & Conquer” essentially means that you break your “big” goal into smaller, more manageable ones.
So, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, then the “divide and conquer” mentality will have you break that big weight loss goal into smaller chunks, such as losing 5 pounds per month, or 1-2 pounds per week.
By focusing on these mini-goals, it makes the bigger goal seem that much more manageable. Also, when you achieve these mini-milestones, it’ll also give you a boost in dopamine and sense of accomplishment, which will help keep you motivated during your transformation challenge.
#3 Track Your Progress
Again, building off of point #1, you can only know where to go if you know where you have previously been.
Basic tracking of body weight, calorie intake, waist circumference, and activity levels gives you valuable data on whether or not your weight loss plan of action is working.
A few other things you can keep track of (if you’re interested in doing so and it doesn’t add to your stress levels) are sleep, daily mood, workout performance (how heavy/hard it felt), and how you felt after eating certain foods.
When you start to feel your motivation waning, flip back through your log book and remind yourself of what you have accomplished thus far as well as what you need to do going forward to keep on the path to success.
#4 Remember Your “Why”
We all start our transformation challenges with a reason.
It might be wanting to improve health & longevity, look good for a reunion, or combat the progression of chronic disease like obesity & type 2 diabetes.
Whatever the reason, the deeper you get into your weight loss journey, the more likely it is to get mired in the minutiae of weight loss and forget about why you started this journey in the first place.
Taking a step back and doing a bit of introspection can help recenter your mind so that you can continue to push your body in the coming weeks.
#5 Celebrate Your Accomplishments
During your weight loss journey, make sure you take time to stop and smell the “roses.”
By this, we mean that you should take the opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments along the way -- this is why it’s important to track your progress and create mini-goals using the divide and conquer strategy discussed in point #2.
Taking stock of what you have accomplished thus far and rewarding yourself for those accomplishments can help provide additional motivation to continue working hard day in and day out.
Rewards can be scaled to the magnitude of accomplishment -- little rewards for mini-milestones and bigger rewards for major milestones.
One example of a little reward could be…
#6 A New Weight Loss Outfit
As you lose weight, you will lose inches all over your body, which means your old clothes won’t fit anymore.
To help celebrate your success, you can treat yourself to some new clothes along the way.
Another option is to buy the outfit before you’ve actually reached your weight loss goal and use it as a reminder of what your ultimate end goal is.
Both options can help serve as a source of motivation for those times when you’re struggling to stay the course.
#7 Be Positive
No journey in life is without its share of setbacks.
As such, you should expect there to be some bumps along the way. These bumps can take many forms and will vary from one person to another.
For one person, a speed bump on the road to weight loss could be a plateau that lasts for a week or two. For another person, the speed bump could be struggles with diet or temptations from family and friends to ditch the diet all for the sake of “living a little.”
Whatever form those challenges take, it’s important to be aware first and foremost that they will arise (likely more than once). But, when they do cross your path, do NOT engage in negative self-talk (saying “I can’t do this” or “I’m not strong enough” or “I’ve failed”). Allowing these negative thoughts to fester will only derail your motivation and sabotage your progress.
Instead, rewrite the script and focus on the positives, even when faced with adversity.
For instance, if you’ve hit a plateau, look back through your log book and see how much weight you’ve lost thus far. And, if you’ve been taking progress photos each week, flip through those as well to remind yourself of where you started and where you are now.
These will remind you of your accomplishments and help you to stay focused on the positive rather than dwell on the negatives.
#8 Weight is Just One Marker of Success
So often when individuals embark on a transformation challenge, they live and die by the number on the scale.
And, while the number on the scale is one marker of success, it by no means is the only marker of success on a weight loss journey.
For instance, you could be losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time. So, while your body weight may remain the same, your actual body composition is drastically changing for the better.
All this is to say that while you should keep an eye on whether the number on the scale is going down over the long term, don’t be a slave to it.
Use other markers to track progress as well, such as waist circumference, arm circumference, thigh circumference, photographs, and weights lifted in the gym. Using a variety of markers will give you a more holistic view of how your weight loss program is working for you.
#9 Be Consistent But Flexible
Human beings are creatures of habit, and there’s a lot that can be said for having a structured, regimented plan for weight loss and working it diligently day after day.
But, there’s also something to be said for going with the flow and being able to adapt when things get hectic.
Case in point, your friends are getting together for a night out on the town. Instead of turning down their invitation or bringing your own dish of chicken, broccoli, and rice to the restaurant, embrace the opportunity to socialize and enjoy some good food.
Now, this night out isn’t a pass to completely bail on your diet, but you can still go out with your friends, have fun, and still stick to your diet.
For example, many restaurants now list calorie count and macronutrient breakdowns for the foods they serve. By doing a little planning, you can find something that fits within your calorie needs for the day, even though it may not be something that’s exactly on your meal plan.
Similarly, it helps to be flexible with your workouts as well. If a particular machine at the gym is being used by another gym goer, you don’t have to waste your own time waiting for them to finish. You can simply substitute in another exercise variation that mimics the same movement pattern (for example, goblet squats for leg press, push ups for chest presses, etc.). Or, you could ask the person to work while they’re resting.
The important takeaway here is to have a plan, but if things get a little bit shuffled around to not let it completely derail you or demotivate you. Be ready, willing, and able to adapt and then be able to get back to your plan as soon as you can!