We all want to look good. It would be unrealistic to ignore the fact that improving your appearance is a big motivating force in your desire to lose weight.
But lasting change has to happen in our minds, hearts, and self-image, and can not be only dependant on how many pounds we’ve lost. Wherever you are along your weight loss journey, this article will help you put things in perspective, so that you can reach your goals, and stay with them, for the long haul.
Motivation comes from within.
You can get guidelines on diet and nutrition, and guidance in starting a workout routine, but, unless you sign up for a weight loss boot camp, you will have to be self-motivated. So this motivation will have to come from within.
In fact, all the major weight loss influencers, as well as studies conducted by experts, agree on certain basic themes when it comes to motivation and body transformation.
Create good habits
Make lifestyle changes that you can live with. Instead of thinking of yourself as “on a diet”, think of yourself as committed to a life-long program of eating that will get you within a healthy weight range, and be sustainable long terms. Once you are on this eating program or exercise program, because it is a regular feature of your daily life, you won’t need motivation.
It just becomes your lifestyle and a part of who you are.
Reward yourself for your efforts
Even a little weight loss is an accomplishment. And a steady loss, week after week, is the best way to lose.
Celebrate losing even a fraction of a pound by treating yourself to a fun night out, a small gift to yourself, or a luxurious bubble bath or manicure. Instead of associating a diet with misery and deprivation, associate it with self-care.
Learn to love yourself; from the inside out.
Your body is your temple and wonder of creation. Cultivate a gratitude mindset about your body’s healthy functions, even if you don’t look like a photo shopped magazine model.
Because guess what? She doesn’t look like that either.
Keep junk food out of your house
Nothing can derail your motivation like having your favorite junk foods around. A moment of temptation will pass if the food is not within easy reach, but it’s much harder to resist when you keep it lying around.
Shop when you have eaten recently and feel satiated, and root out the problem at its source, the grocery store or convenience market.
Just add veggies
Always have a vegetable-based, oil-free snack around to munch on, like a pureed cauliflower soup, steamed green beans, or cut-up fresh veggies. When you have finished your allotted portion of calories, let yourself have as much of the veggie snack as you want. A carb portion can be pretty small (half a cup of rice, for example), so fill out meals with low carb vegetables, which are full of vitamins, keep your mouth munching, but don’t add a lot of calories to your diet.
Have something easy and light to go to when you feel the need to eat something, and prepare it before your hungry, so that you don’t get tempted towards high calorie, low nutrition foods out of hunger.
Nourish, don’t deprive
Tell yourself, “I am finally learning to feed myself”, and give yourself a lot of credit for that! A healthy diet is learning what portion sizes and what types of food make up a sustainable, long term program for nourishing yourself, so focus on what goes into your mouth, not on what you are cutting out.
It is also important to eating often enough so that your body feels it has what it needs for you to feel good.
Slow and steady
You might be tempted towards high-speed weight loss programs, but experts agree that a slow weight loss of about a pound a week is most healthy and sustainable. So resist the temptation to try a crash diet; they are called that for a reason.
Any diet that promises instant results, or more than a couple of pounds per week, is asking for trouble.
One: these diets rarely offer the nutrition you need.
Two: they can’t be sustained for long, because they don’t integrate changes into your diet in a way that you can keep up in the long term.
And Three: any diet that leaves you feeling hungry, or deprived, is bound to crash eventually.
Crash diets can slow your metabolism in the long run, making it harder and harder to lose weight. So go slow, and feel proud as you lose a pound a week.
They will quickly add up to a body transformation that can last.
Change starts within. Find affirmations that give you goosebumps because they cut through all your issues to the heart of the matter, and say them as often as possible.
This way, you will be tuning out the negative self-talk, and turning up the volume of the voice of kindness towards yourself.
Let your health and well being motivate you. It’s not just about how you look, it’s about how you feel.
Remember the benefits of weight loss: ease of movement, increased self-esteem, improvements in chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, a better function heart, healthier breathing, and improvements in chronic pain conditions like back and knee pain, which are, in general, worse when you have to carry around that extra weight.
Losing weight can help you live longer and better. So think about all the loved ones, milestones, and experiences you still have left to live for.
Every little step, every time you choose to eat moderately and healthy, saving splurges for that special day, you are choosing life. You are choosing to live your best life, a life of quality that you can treasure.
Studies have shown that without hope, a person literally cannot exist. There is always hope, even when all seems lost, you can find a way to cultivate hope in your heart.
The more we can imagine good things happening, the more space we can make for them in our lives. When it comes down to it, extreme weight gain usually stems from despair or a lack of hope.
By finding ways to foster hope, and care for it like a tiny sprout just breaking through the ground, we can help it develop into a mighty tree, bringing blessings and comfort into our lives. Hope is life, so let it grow.
Get a Goal
Is it a photo shoot, a family event, a birthday, a holiday, or some other special occasion? Whatever it might be, setting a reasonable, realistic time frame, by which you will have lost a certain amount of weight, can help get you motivated when all else fails.
Having a time frame creates hope and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. You can do your best to commit to a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life, but a short term goal can be a good way to get moving and show yourself that you can.
Picture yourself at the event, looking great! But beware, once the event passes and you have achieved your goal, you may be tempted to backslide. Instead, remember how good you feel at your goal weight, and recommit to continue to invest in yourself with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Get a Process Goal
Better yet, get a process goal. Event oriented goals can be good to get you in motion, but process goals get you taking practical, reasonable steps towards a healthy weight.
Instead of focusing on a number of pounds you want to lose, which can feel overwhelming, set a process goal, like getting some form of exercise daily, or cutting your sugar intake to a teaspoon a day, plus a couple of pieces of fruit. Process goals build self-esteem, as these changes become habits in the long run and you keep taking small steps towards your goal in a balanced, life-affirming way.
You don’t have to do this alone! Find an exercise partner, a weight loss support group, movement classes, or a dietitian to help you.
By making a public commitment to losing weight, you save face by showing up every week and sticking to your chosen program. Having a walking partner can make a world of difference and walking with a friend can be great fun and keep you out there, day after day.
If you are facing a major weight loss, or have special health problems, you may want to consult a dietician to get some personalized information on diet and exercise will work for you. No woman is an Island; with a weight loss friend, you can both encourage one another as needed.
The key to getting motivated comes from self-love. If you can dig past your self-critical, self-hating voices, to a deeper place of your commitment to life, your weight loss journey will become a way to care for yourself, and ultimately, make peace with your body. Now that’s a motivation to follow wholeheartedly.