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9 Proven Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Weight Loss Journey (Without Sacrificing Body Positivity)

/ November 8, 2022

Did you have a New Year’s resolution at the start of this year?

Many people begin the new year with a resolution to change something about themselves or about their lives, but the challenge is sticking with these promises we make to ourselves.

Among the most common promises we make to ourselves, be it at the turn of a new year or in preparation to show off that summer body, is the promise of losing weight. You see it all the time on your social media feed — friends who actually stick to their routine and continue going to the gym month after month — how do they stay motivated? 

Life is busy and events pop up all the time that make you think, I can skip just this one gym day

Before you know it, one skip day turns into one skip week, and suddenly you haven’t been to the gym in months and you’ve been giving in to your most unhealthy food cravings. You think, why can’t I just stick to my promise? Why can’t I stay motivated? 

First, let’s start with the good news: motivation is not a skill that comes naturally to anyone, it is a skill you must learn through practice. No one is born with the innate motivation to pursue their most difficult challenges. The people you see on social media who stick to their weight loss routines are people who have put in the effort to gain motivation, and keep it for the long haul!

Motivation is not a skill that comes naturally to anyone, it is a skill you must learn through practice.

So why does it seem like such an impossible feat to you? 

That’s where the “bad” news comes in: it takes lots of hard work! Luckily, we’ve got the advice you need to stay motivated through your weight loss journey without sacrificing body positivity. 

Accept That Your Motivation Is Low

This may sound obvious at first, but so many people try to power through their own lack of motivation without admitting to themselves that they have lost all their motivation. 

In order to get motivated, you have to be excited about what you’re doing. Many times, people confuse motivation with forcing themselves to do things they don’t want to do, but in reality, staying motivated often means finding things you do enjoy doing along the journey.

Don’t waste time forcing yourself to do a workout that brings you dread from the moment you wake up, but instead find a workout that works for you and that you actually enjoy doing. There are countless styles of workouts available for you online, and you never know what might work for you until you try it! 

It’s also important to understand the difference between discipline and motivation. 

If you’re doing the exact same workout every week and eating the exact same whole-grain muffin for breakfast every day, you are naturally going to get sick of it. This doesn’t mean you’re unmotivated, it means you’re bored of doing the same thing every day. Motivation is dedication plus enjoyment, so even though you might lose weight by forcing yourself through a workout program that you hate, chances are you’re going to be miserable through the whole process. 

And who wants to be miserable all the time? Life is too short for that! 

Understand Why You Want to Lose Weight

It isn’t uncommon for people to start their weight loss journey at the request of their doctor. Upon a regular check-up, their doctor tells them it may be time to start losing weight because their overall health is in decline. 

While it is important to listen to your doctor’s advice when it concerns your health, you are likely to struggle to stay motivated if you are only trying to lose weight because your doctor told you to.

Instead, set clear and attainable goals for yourself and write them all down. Go over these goals each day especially when you’re feeling like your motivation might be slipping. These goals can include whatever is most important to you. 

For example, some people might rank “looking good on the beach” as their number one goal because they want to feel good about themselves while another person’s greatest motivation might be remaining healthy so they can watch their grandchildren grow up. Whatever it is, it needs to be a source of motivation for you personally. 

Set Realistic Expectations for Your Weight Loss

You’re not going to get very far in your journey if you’re expecting to lose 50 pounds in one month. 

You have to keep your expectations realistic so as not to disappoint yourself when you move at a slower pace than what you anticipated. Numerous diets and diet supplements promise quick and simple weight loss. However, the majority of medical professionals advise dropping just 1-2 pounds every week.

Setting impossible goals may make you feel frustrated and encourage you to give up — while establishing and achieving realistic goals makes you feel accomplished. Additionally, those who accomplish their own weight loss objectives are more likely to keep off the weight in the long run. 

What Realistic Weight Loss Expectations Look Like

According to research conducted by numerous weight reduction facilities, people who anticipated losing the greatest weight were the most likely to abandon the program.

The good news is that even a small loss of weight—5–10% of your body weight—can significantly improve your health. This means only 9–18 pounds if you weigh 180 pounds, and

13 to 25 pounds if you weigh 250 pounds. Actually, decreasing 5–10% of your body weight can: 

  • Enhance blood sugar regulation
  • Decrease heart disease risk
  • Lower levels of cholesterol
  • Reduce the risk of certain malignancies
  • Decrease joint discomfort

Nobody is perfect, especially when it comes to reducing weight. Our tendency to quickly take an “all or nothing” stance is an odd and unfortunate indication of our times. But since we are complicated beings, we need to treat ourselves accordingly. That includes allowing for sporadic inconsistencies and outright terrible eating days. 

The best course of action on days like this is to reflect on what transpired, extend yourself forgiveness, and move on. You can continue to be motivated and make progress toward being healthier by letting go of mistakes and treating yourself with the kindness and forgiveness you’d be happy to show to others.

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Focus on Process Goals Instead of Your Final Result

A majority of the time, people on their weight loss journey focus on goals that can only be accomplished at the end, like losing a total amount of weight by a certain deadline. 

However, when you focus on these outcome goals instead of goals that can be accomplished during your journey, it can quickly get overwhelming and your goals may seem too distant to achieve, leaving you feeling entirely unmotivated. 

Instead, focus on process goals, or steps you’re going to take to reach your desired outcome. 

An example of a process goal would be: I’m going to work out four times every week. A study of 126 overweight adults indicated that those who were process-focused were more likely to lose weight and less likely to stray from their diets than those who were solely focused on weight loss results. 

Consider setting S.MA.R.T. goals for yourself, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based goals. Refrain from setting goals that are too vague. For example, try setting a goal like, “I will run for 30 minutes today,” instead of “I will walk more.” 

Start with an attainable goal and move up from there — you will be impressed at the progress you make over time!

Find Support on Your Weight Loss Journey

Everything is harder when you go at it alone, so why try to stay motivated to lose weight all by yourself? 

It doesn’t have to be a close friend or family member, but having someone to hold you accountable and encourage you when you falter is a part of staying motivated that should never be underestimated. 

Embarking on your weight loss journey with a partner is beneficial, but don’t stop there! There are many online support groups you can join where everyone will be on the same journey of motivation and weight loss. It’s important to keep yourself disciplined and diligent, but never underestimate the power of friendly support. 

Keep a Food Journal and Record Your Progress

Research suggests that people who monitor their food intake are more likely to both lose weight and maintain their weight loss, so it can be deduced that self-monitoring is a vital part of the weight loss process. However, in order to achieve success, you must be diligent with your journaling. 

That means keeping track of every single thing you eat, from full meals all the way to that piece of candy you snagged at the doctor’s office. 

You may also consider journaling your emotions alongside your food tracking which may illustrate triggers that cause you to overeat. Once you understand your emotions and triggers, you can find healthier ways to cope when you feel like overeating. 

Practice Mindfulness to Increase Motivation

Mindfulness is a tool you can use in so many aspects of life, so it comes as no surprise that it can be used to help you stay motivated during your weight loss journey. 

You should practice mindfulness if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your goals, or if you’re not moving through the process as quickly as you would like to be. When you practice mindfulness, you ground yourself and remember the process goals you set. 

Mindfulness can also be used as a helpful tool to keep yourself from overeating and establish healthy habits since it encourages you to slow down and acknowledge your emotions. While eating something you enjoy, slow down and think about how the food tastes in your mouth. What do you like about it? What does it taste like? 

Not only will this increase your appreciation for the food you already love, but it will also allow you to slow down while eating. 

Celebrate Your Success

Let’s face it — losing weight is hard! 

It’s immensely difficult to take off weight, especially if you’re not used to regular exercise. Additionally, it’s difficult to stay motivated to reach your goals when they seem so far out of reach. That’s why you must take the time to celebrate your success no matter how small. Give yourself credit when you accomplish a goal and treat yourself to something nice! 

Maybe you met the goal of running for 30 minutes every day for a week: Celebrate that! Reward yourself with a massage or a nice hot bath with a good book. You may even find your motivation is increased when you reward yourself after achieving a goal. 

It is, however, important to reward yourself appropriately. 

You’re not going to achieve any goals if you reward yourself with a cupcake every time you go to the gym. Avoid using food as a reward and instead opt for a fun activity you enjoy but rarely get the opportunity to experience. 

Leverage Tech to Achieve Your Goals

You can achieve and maintain motivation to accomplish your weight loss objectives if you have the right resources and assistance! There is a mountain of options for you to choose from when it comes to weight loss apps to help you along your journey. 

MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular weight loss apps available, and it works by tracking your weight and recommending a daily caloric intake. It also comes with a built-in food diary feature! 

Lifesum is another popular calorie-counting app that utilizes simplicity in its design and focuses on teaching you healthier habits to keep the weight off. 

If you want something that goes beyond just calorie counting, you might consider Noom, a digital health company that uses evidence-based approaches and scientifically-proven principles such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals create healthier, long-lasting habits. 

Additionally, when you sign up with Noom, you are assigned with one of their thousands of trained coaches to help you along your journey and give you support. 

Stay Positive Along the Way

No matter what, always stay positive as you embark on your weight loss journey and always be kind to yourself. For long-term weight loss success, having the motivation to lose weight is essential. 

It’s critical to identify your personal motivators because different things motivate different people. Be flexible with yourself, celebrate your small victories as you lose weight, never hesitate to seek assistance when you need it, and never be afraid to ask for help!

Here’s to achieving your weight loss goals!

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