Written by Nyomi Graef
For many people, losing weight and keeping it off can be two of the hardest things to do in life. Being happy and motivated during weight loss, and persisting through hard times while losing weight, can be especially tough. What can we do to help? Use the ideas below that connect with you.
Remember the benefits of losing weight
Often think of the positive reasons for why you want to lose weight. This is vital to help motivate you and be happier throughout your weight loss.
Benefits might be, for instance, to:
Write down your benefits and read them often — at least once a day. Put them somewhere where you can reach them easily, such as in the top drawer in your kitchen or on top of your bedside table. When you feel like stopping losing weight, read the reasons to help motivate you to continue.
Think of possible problems of not losing weight
Problems might include:
Put up inspirational pictures, sayings, quotes and affirmations in your home and workplace
Put these up on the fridge, doors and walls to boost your spirits and inspire you to keep going, especially when the going gets tough.
Enjoy your food
Eating can be one of the great joys in life. Obviously if we don’t enjoy what we eat, we are likely to stop eating it, so make the effort to find healthy foods that you also like.
Our taste buds can take time to adapt to new flavours, so we might find the new foods hard to eat for a while. Persist -- the benefits of healthy eating and weight loss are worth it.
Imagine the positive outcomes that you want from losing weight
What we often imagine (visualise) can happen (within reason), so visualise what you want from your weight loss. Imagine positive outcomes every day. How much time should we spend imagining? That’s up to you, but small amounts, such as 5 minutes a few times a day, is a good start.
Things to visualise might include:
Overcome barriers to weight loss
There are many barriers to losing weight, and lots can most likely be overcome. Below are some common barriers, with ideas for how to overcome them.
Keep going after setbacks
Whether it’s eating a large packet of chips, eating too much when you go out, or eating all the biscuits in the biscuit jar in one sitting, don’t overdramatise setbacks by deciding to stop losing weight altogether. So you slipped-up. It happens. Forgive yourself and aim to do better next time. Persist with your weight loss -- get back on track after setbacks and keep going.
Set small and large weight loss goals
Goals help keep you on track and help motivate you. Set small goals (such as weekly goals) that work towards achieving your large/larger goals (such as 3-monthly goals).
Review your weight loss goals regularly (daily/weekly/monthly and so on). People who monitor and evaluate their goals often are more likely to succeed than people who don’t do these two things.
If unexpected problems come up, your goals might need adapting. Make your weight loss goals flexible in case this happens.
Use the SMART technique for goal setting. SMART stands for various things. One of the best is:
Below are some examples of goals using the SMART technique:
Reward yourself often
Give yourself a pat on the back whenever you achieve a goal and do a good job. Rewards for weight loss don’t have to be large and expensive. They can be little things like watching a movie online, having a cup of your favourite tea with a friend, or buying something inexpensive for yourself.
Use positive self-talk
Negative self-talk hinders you and makes you feel bad. Positive self-talk encourages you, motivates you and helps you achieve your goals.
Examples of positive self-talk might include:
Praise yourself often
Praise helps boost our self-esteem, confidence and happiness. Think "well done", "great job" (or similar praises) when you achieve your goals and, possibly, when you achieved a fair amount of a goal. Unexpected events, problems and so on can happen in life that hinder our progress, no matter how much we do our best.
Be patient with and committed to your weight loss
The weight took time to put on, so it will take time to lose. Commit to your weight loss, even if it takes months or years to lose the weight.
Be around supportive people
Avoid negative people who put you down and don’t believe in you. Surround yourself with people who boost your confidence, make you feel good and praise you.
Have a weight loss buddy
A weight loss buddy is a great help for your weight loss. They can cheer you up when you’re down, help keep you on track and more. Your buddy might also be losing weight, so you can help each other fight the battle of the bulge.
Read motivational weight loss stories
Motivational weight loss stories in magazines, online, books and so on help inspire and motivate you. If they can lose weight and keep it off, you can too.
Get weight loss tips from fit, happy and healthy people who’ve succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off long-term.
Remember that one weight loss plan does not suit everybody
There are many ways to lose weight. The best ones should be safe, healthy, effective, affordable, enjoyable, practical, sustainable, realistic, and tailored to suit each of us as individuals. We each have different health problems/injuries/allergies/food sensitivities/likes/dislikes, and so on, so one rigid eating plan does not suit everyone.
For best results, a weight loss plan should include both healthy eating and physical activity, at a minimum. Other important elements are to have the right mindset for weight loss, along with stress management techniques, and help with sleep, for instance, among other strategies.
Remember your positive qualities
You are far more than your body weight. You might be a good listener, friend, parent, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, and so on. Don’t let your body weight define you.
Forget the past and focus on the now
Put whatever weight loss failures you’ve had behind you and start afresh. Carrying around the past that you no longer need burdens you. Let it go. Focus on the now and create the future that you want.
Use as many of the above weight loss tips that you feel is best. Think of your own ideas, speak with others, or do your own research on the topic, if you’re interested.