What’s the hardest part of losing weight? Is it the need to control oneself from over-eating? Is it the body pain from exercising? Or is it the actual energy you need to get up morning after morning even on days you don’t feel like doing it?
Truth is, once we get motivation out of the way, you’ve won 90% of the battle. So here are five tips on how we can motivate ourselves on this journey.
This is the biggest and most important part of the journey. Identify the reasons why you want to lose weight. Is it to improve health conditions? Is it to regain your confidence and wear the clothes you used to wear? Is it to enjoy certain activities you love, like sports, better? Is it to make life easier, such taking care of your toddler? We all have our reasons why we want to lose weight and it is best to identify and be honest with ourselves so when the time comes when you wake up and feel like quitting, you remind yourself your ‘why’ and you can press on.
Remember, you did not gain all that weight overnight. You gained the excess weight through weeks, months, and maybe years of unwise decisions and habits. Similarly, you cannot expect to lose the same in just one day. It also takes weeks, months, and maybe years of good food choices and exercise routines. In fact, the healthy weight loss recommended by health practitioners is half to one kilogram per week. When you set your expectations too high, you are running the risk of getting demotivated and quitting.
Take heart though, studies show that losing just 5-10% of your current body weight, although it may not look much outwardly for you, already has a large impact on your health. This amount of weight loss already improves blood sugar control, reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers cholesterol levels, reduces joint pain and lowers the risk of certain cancers.
Thinking about the total weight to be lost may be overwhelming, especially if it’s a big number like 50 or even 100 lbs. However, if you set small goals over a period of time makes the task more achievable. For example you can aim to lose 5 lbs in the next four weeks for starters. Reward yourself with a nice pair of shoes for a job well done, then set another milestone for yourself.
Sure your best friend may have had amazing results by enrolling in a dance class, but what if dancing is not your thing? Your colleague may have lost a lot of weight by joining a gym near his apartment but should you join the same gym if you live far from him? Your sister may have reached her goal by going zero carbs, but what if you love your fruits and grains?
What may have worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you because we are all different. Be honest with yourself and assess your weight loss plant against your lifestyle and the things you like. Do you love nature? You can jog or hike outdoors. You can also search new recipes using your favourite healthy food and plan your meals in a way that the food is enjoyable yet within healthy range in terms of calories and macronutrients. If you actually enjoy what you do, the less you would drag your feet and the less likely you would quit.
The easiest way to gain back all the weight is to think your efforts are temporary and that you can go back to bad habits once you reach your desired weight.
We need to stick to a healthy lifestyle to keep our bodies fit and healthy—perhaps we can increase the amount of food we eat or go easy on exercise when we stop trying to lose weight, but never ever kiss healthy food and exercise goodbye. They’re here to stay so make sure to find a place for them, like a couple of hours carved out for meal preps on the weekend or 30 minutes a day for some physical activity.
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