Making goals is easy. Sticking to them is hard. This rings true even more for goals like losing weight. It’s because weight loss requires pushing yourself, both physically and psychologically, over a long period of time.
Motivation can peak during the first few weeks. Getting a fancy gym membership gives you a boost at the beginning, but the novelty wears off with time. Other tasks pop up, and soon the gym becomes a low priority.
The good news is that you’re not alone. A lot of people go through the same cycle as their motivation sizzles then fizzles. The first step to avoid falling into this rut is to set realistic goals. Dropping too much weight too fast can be detrimental to your health. Try to go slow. Design a plan by which you can lose weight in a sustainable manner. Once you have set realistic goals, you can use these five ways to adhere to them.
1. Reduce Temptations
The first step is to analyze your diet. You probably already know which unhealthy foods tempt you the most. Try looking for alternatives. Starving yourself may help you lose some weight. However, there’s a high chance you’ll also lose the smile on your face.
Skipping meals is not sustainable. It’s a better idea to try out healthier options like high-fiber and low-fat foods. Or whip up some delicious drinks with super greens powder. Such healthy beverages are easy to enjoy with a busy lifestyle. As a bonus, they keep you full for longer because they’re high in fiber.
Next step is to analyze your lifestyle. Consider adding physical movement to sedentary tasks, like using a desk treadmill. Amp up your physical activities by parking further away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Go to the gym straight from work because once you get home that comfy couch can be very tempting. You may also need to find new friends because burger-loving buddies do you more harm than you think.
2. Find a Buddy
It’s tougher to stick to your diet when your friends keep making plans to eat out. Explain to them how losing weight is important for you. Perhaps you can all choose restaurants with healthier options on the menu.
Hang out with people who can help you stay accountable and motivated. Everyone needs social support, especially if they’re fighting the uphill battle of weight loss. You could make some new friends at the gym. Workout buddies on a similar journey can share experiences as well as recipes and exercise routines.
If you’re not into socializing, consider getting a dog. Walking the dog daily can help boost your step count. Or make technology your friend. A weight loss app can track your calorie intake, physical activity, and changes in your weight. Some apps even provide consultation with weight loss coaches. If you’re not satisfied with your progress, they can make recommendations customized for you.
3. Stop Comparing
Just like your body is different from others, your weight loss journey will be different too. Don’t give up if you don’t get the results the trainer or the website had promised. Results take time and you must stay consistent. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your efforts. Don’t let social media influencers with filters fool you.
Remember not to let the numbers on the scale discourage you either. If you are strength training, the numbers on the scale may not really change much. You could be losing fat and gaining muscle. Changing habits takes time and there will be setbacks too.
Even if you mess up your diet for a day, don’t give up. Just because you had pizza at the office party, doesn’t mean you can binge all weekend. Start fresh the next day, and keep going with the same momentum. You need to channel your inner will power and be proud of your progress, even if it’s slow.
4. Celebrate Milestones
Break down your ultimate goal into smaller goals to make it less daunting. Remember to celebrate each step. However, not every celebration needs cake. Positive reinforcement could be buying yourself new clothes or going to the movies with friends.
Try to find non-edible options for enjoyment. Replace comfort food with a spa day. Learn how to differentiate between emotional hunger and physical hunger too.
Just remember not to get carried away with the celebration and ruin the progress you made. You can post a before and after picture on social media to share your achievement with others. Such celebrations aren’t just a great way to keep you on track but can also motivate others. The accountability of sharing your progress with others can be one way to keep you on track.
5. Ask the Experts
In some cases, weight gain is attributed to physiological conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, or depression. If you’re still unable to see results, consult a specialist. Speaking to a nutritionist will alleviate your fears and provide you with the latest knowledge of good and bad calories.
Motivational interviewing with a psychologist is also beneficial for those who give up their goals too quickly. It can help you understand your own motivations and empower you to change your ways. Stress has a direct impact on your eating habits and therefore a psychological assessment may identify eating triggers. Once you know the root cause, it gets easier to control it.
Your weight loss goal should be focused on becoming healthier — not just skinnier. Steer clear from fad diets because they often have risky side effects. If you develop nausea, weakness, or hormonal changes, consult a physician. Don’t subject your body to grueling work out sessions that cause more pain than gain. Be kind to your body today, and it will be kind to you in the future.