Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weight Loss Motivation

Weight loss has become a multi-billion dollar industry.  There are health clubs, supplements, surgeries, books, trainers, meal plans and even something called “Hot Pants”.  With so many facts, fads and findings one can become completely overwhelmed by the industry, and perhaps give up before even really beginning.

Despite what the industry makes you believe, weight loss does not have to be complicated.  For me, weight loss came down to three simple things: acknowledging that I had a problem, educating myself and staying motivated to get healthy.  The hardest part for me was actually realizing that I had a problem.  I was overweight for years before I even really noticed.  That may sound crazy, but the human mind is very good at rationalizing and making excuses for things that it doesn’t want to acknowledge.  It took the thought of having to buy size 14 pants and reaching “clinically obese” on the BMI scale for me to realize that I needed to get healthy.

Lucky for you all, you have already passed the first stage and acknowledged that you need to get healthy or else you would not be looking at this lovely blog :). The second stage, educating yourself, is something that I hope to be helping you with through my blog postings.  The last thing, staying motivated, is something that you need to focus on every single day in order to lose weight and keep it off.  The more educated you become, the more you will realize that weight loss can be a difficult process, and the more motivation you will need to continue!

Here are some of my tips for staying motivated:

  • Make very specific goals.  Do not simple say that you want to “lose weight”. Instead, list a specific weight that you would like to reach.  Having a target will in itself be motivating.  

  • Share your plan to get healthy with other people.  This will keep you motivated because you will not want others to see you fail.
  • Reward yourself when you reach certain goals.  When you finally beat the bad habit of late night snacking, reward yourself with a new workout shirt, a hot new pair of jeans or something else that will boost your self confidence (never use food as a reward).
  • Listen to motivating music whenever you can (at the gym, in the shower, while cleaning the house).  My new favorite workout tune is Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”.
  • Do not delete your “fat photos” and keep one pair of your “fat pants”.  Use these as reminders of where you have been, and where you do not want to go again.
  • Keep a record of what you do for exercise, what you eat and how much progress you have made towards your goals.  Putting things in writing will help hold you accountable and motivate you to keep going.
  • Keep your exercise bag packed somewhere where you can see it.  The visual cue may be enough to get you out the door.
  • Think both about how far you have come and how far you need to go.  If you only think about how well you are doing, you may get overconfident and slip up. However, if you only think about how far you have to go, you may just give up.  Think things like, “If losing 20 lbs feels this good, I can’t wait to see how good I feel after losing 20 more”.
  • Find someone who inspires you and use them as motivation.  You know that super mom who has the power career and killer thighs?  Don’t spend your energy hating her, instead spend it figuring out how she does it, and use her as a motivator.  
  • Think about how good being healthy makes you (or will make you) feel.  
  • When you go to eat or drink unhealthy foods, think not about how good they will taste, but how bad they will make you feel afterwards.  Avoiding things like heart burn, indigestion, gas,  hangovers, guilt, headaches, disappointment and bloating can be very motivating.
  • In a reverse approach, figure out what causes you to lose motivation, and deal with the issues at hand.  You may have underlying issues, like depression, that need to be addressed clinically before you can truly find the necessary motivation for weight loss.
  • Surround yourself with things and people that motivate you:
    • Stop following the woman on Pinterest that posts the latest cheesecake recipes and start following those with healthy recipes and exercise tips.
    • Make friends with people at your gym or weight loss center.  You know that they share your desire to be healthy and that they won’t ask you out for Margarita Monday or Taco Tuesday.
    • Workout with people who are at least equally as fit as you.  I just switched from a gym where I was one of the most fit members, to a gym that is full of people in better shape than me.  Although it is intimidating, it gives me motivation to be better.
No matter what your motivation, make sure that you are committed to making a permanent change in your lifestyle.  If you only think in the short term, the weight loss is almost guaranteed to be short lived.  Anyone can lose 10 lbs, but not everyone can change their habits enough to keep that 10 lbs off for life!  For example, losing weight for a wedding is a motivating goal, but even if you lose the weight you may end up gaining it back (plus more) after the event.  Instead, incorporate the long term goal of being a healthy wife/husband and parent.  You, and your family, will be grateful.

I hope that you find the entries in this blog to be a source of motivation.  If there is anything else I can do to help, please let me know! 

1 comment:

  1. I hope that I'll find motivation from your blog too! Your "before and after" photos are pretty motivating! Thanks for all the great advice.