Motivation to Lose Weight: Top 10 Tips
The more reasons you have to lose weight or responses to the question “Why do I want to lose weight?” the stronger your motivation will be. The ‘why’ in weight loss is more important (for motivation) than the ‘how’ or the method you use to achieve this goal. The famous old English proverb “Where there is a will, there is a way…” is appropriate in this context. In other words, you will always find a way to accomplish something if you really want to do it. While ‘looking better’ is a common reason for wanting to lose weight, if it’s your only reason, you may lack sufficient motivation to begin and lose your motivation fast.
- To become a healthier person – you cannot ‘buy’ good health. The knowledge that you do not have it and the realization that you did not do everything in your power to retain it is a heavy weight to bear. Achieving better health is a major weight-loss motivator, particularly if you have gone through a health scare, such as a heart attack. Don’t wait for your catalyst for change to be a health scare. Just the desire to reduce or eliminate your risk of suffering from negative, costly and potentially life-threatening health consequences in the future is a powerful motivating factor for weight loss.
- To be the very best you can be and because you can – why decide to settle for ‘okay?’ Remind yourself how frustrating it is to feel powerless when it comes to achieving your fitness and weight loss goals; knowing that you are what is standing in the way. You deserve to function at your best, throughout your life. The awareness that you can become what you are capable of becoming and refusing to settle for less is motivating.
- To be a role model – maybe the success of another was your initial motivator (“If she can do it, then so can I!”). Wanting to be like a friend, relative or public figure who has successfully lost weight is a compelling reason to begin your own weight loss regime but how much more motivating is it to see yourself as that role model for others? The recognition, admiration and compliments you receive throughout the weight loss process and once you achieve and maintain your goal will have you glowing with pride.
- To be a better friend or loved one – often, being overweight can result in a lack of energy and poor self-esteem, which, in turn, can have a negative impact on your family, friends and other relationships. The desire to give more and do more for the people you love is a great motivator. When you feel happier and better about yourself after losing weight, you’ll pass on those good feelings to those around you, treating those you care about even just a little bit better.
- To feed your need to ‘compete’ – the best, most impressive results often arise from friendly competition. A competitive nature can be a strong motivator. Just look at “The Biggest Loser” television program…it is all about tapping into a person’s desire to ‘win.’ Competing with a specific person or group of people, wanting to be fitter and healthier than others can drive you to want to lose weight while building your confidence and self-esteem. The desire to want to remain fit and healthy, or carry on that feeling of success is a motivator for maintaining an appropriate body weight.
- Use social networking to your advantage – just one more reason to use social networking venues! Whether your post, tweet or blog, just put it ‘out there.’ Tell others how and why you are undertaking the major life-changing goal of losing weight. Support will pour in, helping to keep you accountable and increasing the likelihood that you will stay motivated. Post or blog your goals online to find others who are taking a similar journey to add to your support system.
- Always schedule your workouts – this works particularly well if you are a busy professional that lives by your calendar entries or daily planner. Writing in workout dates in your calendar gives your plan structure and priority. You can use anything from an old-fashioned wall calendar to an iphone, Outlook calendar or Blackberry. It’s not about what you use, it’s about writing it down and scheduling it like a meeting – you are less likely to miss or skip it.
- Keep your motivation (and goals) evolving – what was appropriate and motivating six months ago might not be so today. You may find that your motivation begins to wane after you reach one or more specific goals. Brainstorm new reasons to stay motivated to continue to lose weight and keep in mind that goals can and should be dynamic and evolving (in addition to realistic and attainable). Always have something to aim toward.
- Do some constructive note-taking –making specific movements forward, no matter how seemingly insignificant, enhances motivation to keep you going. If you are struggling, try constructive note-taking. Write down all of the options you can think of for breaking through what is holding you back from meeting a particular goal. Review the list, pick out the best option and turn it into action: what, how and when. Your best option may be modifying the goal itself.
- Try positive reinforcement – another exercise for staying motivated to lose weight is to try thinking of ONE reason that losing weight is bad for your health. Can you think of one? How about two or three? Next, write down all of the reasons you can think about why losing weight is good for you. Which list is longer? Read it once in a while to stay motivated.
- C Leggatt-Cook and K Chamberlain. Blogging for weight loss: personal accountability, writing selves, and the weight-loss blogosphere. Sociol Health Illn. 2011 Dec 8.
- KO Hwang et al. Structural social support predicts functional social support in an online weight loss programme. Health Expect. 2012 Jan 2.
- S Stotland et al. Positive and negative dimensions of weight control motivation. Eat Behav. 2012 Jan;13(1):20-6.