If you’re wondering how to stay motivated and lose weight, I know how difficult it can be. I’ve fallen off track on many “weight loss journeys” that I’ve tried to take. Usually, I couldn’t even make it past the first DAY. Sometimes it’d last a few days, or a week – a couple of times I made it a few months. But they all ended the same way – I’d inevitably give up.
I feel like I always had such an unhealthy mindset about weight loss. I was always so focused on losing all the weight I possibly could and hating every minute of actually doing it, all the while wanting it to happen as soon as possible. It’s just a recipe for disaster.
I’ve learned through the years that this entire losing weight thing but be approached from a new light if you want hope of making it work long term.
You really need to change your mindset entirely. You can’t lose weight with a quick fix and keep it off – it has to be a sustainable, lifestyle change.
Focus on the journey, not the destination
I realize this sounds like a really cheesy motivational meme, but it’s just so true. I wish I could have had this positive view on weight loss when I was younger. (But you know, hindsight is 20/20)
All the times I tried to lose weight in the past, I always was obsessed with trying to do it quickly and disappointment set in when my body didn’t change fast enough.
I never enjoyed the time I spent losing weight, thought of it as a punishment, and couldn’t wait until it was over.
I never enjoyed exercise either. It was just something I did so I could eat more. Which by the way, is a VERY unhealthy way to think about it.
Of course, all of that led to failure.
This time around, I’m really changing my mindset entirely. I’m choosing to follow a weight loss program that lets me eat anything I want within limits, so I don’t feel like I’m being restricted.
I’m choosing foods I enjoy eating, not forcing myself to eat only eat things I think I should be eating.
I’m learning to reward myself and be happy about small milestones and non-scale victories. Losing 10+ lbs a month is a big deal! Being able to fit into clothes I haven’t worn in years is incredibly motivating. Even though I still might not have the body I ultimately want, I’m learning to love the journey that will get me there.
I’m also learning to enjoy exercise and thinking of it as a way to make my body feel better and improve my overall health. I’m never going to think of it as a way to “eat more” again – because that mindset can really make you go crazy and not enjoy what you’re doing.
Keep a record of your progress beyond the scale
While the scale is a good overall indicator, it’s not the only thing to pay attention to. The thing is, it kind of has a way of making people (myself included) totally sabotage their weight loss if it’s not moving exactly how they think it should.
There are so many factors that can affect your weight that you shouldn’t let daily fluctuations or a weekly gain keep you down. The scale likes to mess with your mind!
Ok, so you might be asking how else you can measure your progress. First of all – TAKE YOUR MEASUREMENTS! Take out a tape measure and record your chest, waist, stomach, hips, legs, arms, even your neck. If you have already lost some weight and haven’t done this yet, it’s ok – do it now!
Note these measurements once a month. To me, it’s incredibly motivating to see my body actually shrinking rather than a number on a scale that may or may not be going down as much as I think it should.
Something else you can do it take progress pictures! I know “before” pictures might be embarrassing to take, but you’ll be glad you have them as you progress. I would take them every month or two. It’s hard to see your body changing because you look in the mirror every day, so keeping a photo record is a good way to see your own progress.
You don’t even have to show them to anybody. But to look back and see the visual progress your body is making can be really motivating and encouraging.
One last thing I want to suggest – if you’re like me and have old clothes that no longer fit, try them on periodically. I tried on a few pairs of jeans last winter that I could barely get above my hips. Now I can actually zip them up!
All these little things add up to really encourage and motivate me to keep on going and losing the weight.
One last idea – Make a bet!
If you’re having a really difficult time actually starting out losing weight (I know the struggle it can take to really get into the right mindset for it) you really should check out Healthywage. Even if you’ve already started a weight loss journey but have a long way to go, and are having a hard time sticking with it, I totally recommend looking into it. This isn’t something that is right for everyone, but it is really giving me the extra motivation I need to keep going.
The program I am using is called Healthywage, and the bet I’m doing is called a Healthywager. This is a personal bet (you’re not part of a team) where you bet money on yourself you will lose a certain amount of weight. They do have smaller challenges you can sign up for, and team challenges similar to Dietbet (if you’ve heard of that) but the main challenge is for yourself only.
Your bet can be anywhere from 6 – 18 months, and you can bet as conservatively as you want (I think there’s a rule you have to lose at least 6% of your body weight or something though). So it definitely doesn’t have to be some crazy unrealistic bet that sets you up for failure.
You do have to put money down on your bet (you can do it all at once or in monthly installments) but when you win, you get everything back PLUS a profit. The profit is highly variable and depends on a lot of different factors, but you can play around with their prize calculator here. It’s completely free to do that and there’s no commitment, so have some fun playing around and see how much money you could win!
I didn’t find Healthywage and decide to lose weight to “get paid” – I was already in the process of losing weight and completely determined to do it, so why not bet a little money into it? It really is help keeping me focused and probably more so than I would be otherwise.
While I am setting a goal for my Healthywager bet, and that sort of makes me have to focus on a specific weight loss time-frame, I made it pretty realistic – 60 lbs in a year, which is only part of my weight loss journey since I have over 100 to lose in total! I know the last 40+ lbs will be the hardest, but I’m not going to force myself into a specific time frame to lose that weight.
Hopefully, that helps give some ideas to those struggling to stick to a weight loss plan. If you have any other ideas, or questions please drop me a comment down below!