7 Easy Weight Loss Motivation Strategies
If you’ve ever started a diet plan, healthy eating plan, weight loss plan – or any kind of “improve your body” plan, you know how hard it is to stay motivated and stick with it.
For the first few days, you’re fired up, ready to rock-n-roll! But then, it starts getting harder…harder still…and before long, it seems impossibly difficult to take the actions that you were so excited about just days ago.
More often than not, you start a weight loss plan fired up by the exciting outcome that will be yours – but as you go along, that spark fades and is replaced by the struggle of challenging actions day by day – and it seems like it will never get easier.
Most people at this point just give up.
YOU don’t have to, however, because this report is going to share 30 great ways to keep yourself feeling motivated.
Almost ALL of them are mental “tricks”. Why? Because your attitude has a direct impact on the actions you take each day. A negative attitude virtually guarantees that you’ll sabotage yourself or give up altogether.
Read on for some simple, effective ways to make sure that doesn’t happen to you!
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #1 – Focus on the Present Moment
When most people start a diet plan, they are focused solely on the future. They dream and imagine how great their life is going to be once they are thin; they fantasize about meeting Mr. or Ms. Right; they pour all of their excitement into that future moment when they will have “made it”.
It’s great to imagine a better future, to see your gorgeous, fit new body and get excited about that. In fact, that’s pretty normal; almost all of us do it. Most often we do this because we believe that everything in our life will be better when we are thin. We expect everything in our lives to completely transform as a result of us being thin – but being thin won’t necessarily make us happy.
YES – we’ll definitely feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. We’ll enjoy greater confidence. Have more energy. Be a little more outgoing.
These are all great benefits that can be extremely motivating – but don’t neglect the joys of the present moment! Doing so keeps you forever disconnected from this moment in time. That becomes a problem because you keep putting your life off until you reach your goal, which leaves you hanging in limbo.
One of the best ways to stay excited about the future AND remain happily in the present moment is to start thinking, acting, talking and BEING like the future thin version of yourself.
Not sure how to do that? Start by writing a list of the qualities you would like to have once you’re thin. Examples: “Be more energetic. Have more confidence. Feel better about myself. Wear clothes that make me feel good.” Now, for every item on your list, find ways to start incorporating these qualities into your life now.
You could “pretend” to be more energetic, even if you’re not yet feeling that way. You could buy one item of clothing that you love and look good wearing (yes, even if it’s still in a larger size than you want). You could practice walking and talking like a person who has great self-confidence. It may feel awkward at first but the more you do it, the more confident you’re naturally going to feel – and wait till you see how other people react to you! Big difference.
By thinking, acting, talking and generally BEING the thin, happy person you want to be in the future – right NOW – you help make the transition from here to there easier and quicker.
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Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #2 – Be Gentle with Yourself!
One of the most common reasons why people “fail” when it comes to diets is because they slip back into bad habits, and one of the bad habits that almost all of us struggle with is emotional eating.
What you may not know is that one of the most common reasons why people eat emotionally is because they are trying to comfort themselves.
Perhaps you’ve done this too – drown your sorrows in a gallon of ice cream, a plate of french fries, a bag of potato chips, or other “comfort food”?
Comfort eating is one of the biggest diet saboteurs, and you may do it without even knowing why. This happens a lot, especially with very strict diet programs. In essence, you try to “punish” yourself into losing weight, and all you end up doing is making yourself feel awful – which immediately makes you crave comfort foods!
Here’s a better way:
Find ways to comfort yourself besides eating. Put together a “tool chest” of comforting items that you can use when you need to feel nurtured. In this chest you can place delicious herbal teas, a blank journal, favorite books to read, DVD movies that make you laugh, encouraging notes to yourself, favorite quote books – anything that will lift your spirits and make you feel at ease.
When you feel happy (or even just “good”) it is much easier to stick to your diet. You won’t be under the spell of turbulent emotions, and therefore you will feel no need to eat to smother uncomfortable feelings.
Another important tip:
You may want to avoid extremely rigid weight loss programs that don’t allow you to eat ANYTHING you like. Yes, they can be effective . . . for awhile. But eventually your love of food is going to make you “cheat” – and then you’ll feel disappointed with yourself and maybe even give up on your diet altogether.
Instead, why not allow for a little more flexibility and indulge in a small treat maybe once per week, or even once every two weeks?
If you know that you can enjoy some of your favorite foods occasionally, you’ll be less likely to feel as if you’re being punished and go off on wild binges.
Finally, you can also find ways to treat yourself while still staying on your diet! Explore some great low-calorie, healthy recipes and see if you can come up with treats that SEEM decadent but are actually still good for you and don’t sabotage your diet. It’s not as hard as you may think..
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #3 – Reinforce Your Healthy Habits
Have you ever tried to break a bad habit by obsessively focusing on it and trying to make it go away? It doesn’t work too well, does it? In fact, the more you focus on it, the stronger the habit seems to get.
What does work well is devoting most of your attention to creating and reinforcing positive habits. In other words, stop fighting against a junk food habit, and instead focus on adopting a healthy food habit.
Rather than resisting your tendencies toward laziness, you can focus your attention on creating a habit of being more active.
That may sound like a very small difference, but it’s huge because negative motivators are not nearly as effective as positive motivators. If you feel good about something, it’s going to motivate you a LOT more than something you feel guilty, frustrated, or powerless about!
How exactly do you reinforce a positive habit?
Self talk is one good way. The things you “say to yourself” on a regular basis eventually become your “truth”.
Rather than mentally groaning and complaining about exercise, tell yourself you love it! “Wow, working out makes me feel really good. I look forward to going for a walk later. I can tell that my muscles are getting stronger from all the weight training I’m doing. I love exercise!”
When you first start talking to yourself like this, you’ll know that you are “lying” in a sense. You won’t feel that inner click of truthfulness quite yet – but if you keep going, you will eventually.
You can use this same approach to minimize the strength of your bad habits. Rather than getting angry at yourself for craving fattening foods, say something like this: “I’m only craving fattening foods because I’m so used to eating them. That desire will start to fade soon. In the meantime, I’m really enjoying finding creative ways to eat healthier.”
The more you dismiss the power of your bad habits, the less prevalent they are going to seem.
If you happen to slip back into unhealthy habits once or twice, don’t make a big deal about it!
Simply say to yourself, “All right, I goofed. No big deal; I can get back on track no problem. I’m proud of myself for making steady progress, even if I’m not perfect.”
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #4 – Love Yourself
We mentioned before that diets and healthy eating plans can often feel like a punishment – and being punished makes you feel unloved! Unfortunately, when you feel unloved, you’re likely to reach for something to make yourself feel better (yep, more comfort eating).
Have you ever been involved in an intense love relationship that made you feel like you were walking on clouds? You probably didn’t feel the need to overeat then, huh? In fact, you probably didn’t think about food at all because you were so wrapped up in feelings of euphoria.
Even if you’re not currently involved in a steamy romance, you can still use this same concept to keep yourself motivated about sticking to your healthy eating plan.
Do that by spending time each and every day focusing on the reasons why you love yourself. Oh, I know, it sounds so “touchy feely,” “warm and fuzzy,” it can’t possibly work, right? Wrong!
When you first start, you’ll probably feel a little silly. But the more you focus on building yourself up, cheering yourself on, and emphasizing your positive qualities, the more you’re going to feel uplifted and loved – and the less tempted you will be to slip back into harmful habits.
There are a few different ways to love yourself better:
1) In the mirror.
Start by facing yourself in the mirror each morning and saying nice things to yourself. “Hey, have I told you lately how proud of you I am? I love you. You’re a good person. You can do this, keep going! I believe in you. You are amazing. You’re smart, you’re talented, you’re successful, and you’re sexy as hell!”
The more you say things like this to yourself, the stronger your self-esteem will grow.
2) In writing.
At least once a day, make a list of things you love about yourself. The items on this list don’t have to be very impressive; just nice things.
Examples: “I have nice eyes. I appreciate my determination to improve my life. I love my sense of humor. I love that I’m very resilient – I always bounce back no matter the difficulties I face. I like my long legs. I love the color of my hair. I like my fingernails. I’m proud of myself for getting my degree.”
3) Mental affirmations.
As you’re performing mundane activities during the day, you can also be mentally reciting some positive affirmations about yourself: “I’m proud of who I am. I will succeed at anything I set my mind to. I love my life. I’m going to make my life even better than it is now. I’m going to achieve all of my goals easily. I can accomplish anything if I want it badly enough.”
Say these affirmations while you’re driving, washing dishes, walking, or even during television commercials.
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #5 – Reconnecting with Physical Hunger Cues
When most of us start a diet, we focus only on what we’re allowed to eat, how much we’re allowed to eat, what we’re forbidden to eat, how many calories, fat grams, carbohydrate grams we have eaten so far today – but rarely, if ever, do any of these plans teach us how to tell when our bodies want to be fed!
Believe it or not, our bodies are infinitely wise when it comes to achieving balance and well-being.
When your body needs fuel, it communicates by making you feel hungry. If you ignore that signal, you’ll probably experience unpleasant side effects like shakiness, weakness, and irritability, which are often signs of low blood sugar.
But most of us completely ignore the signs of physical hunger and instead eat according to a bunch of other criteria:
- If it’s time to eat.
- If others are eating.
- If the food is just there.
- If we’re bored.
- If we’re angry.
- If we’re nervous.
- (Fill in your reasons here).
Rather than using all of these outer cues, you can easily learn to pay attention to your body and it will always let you know when it needs more fuel. Before eating, ask yourself, “How hungry am I right now?” If you don’t yet feel physically hungry, try to hold off eating until you do. Or compromise by having a small portion instead of a full meal. (Careful with this one – it’s awfully easy to eat too many “small portions” during the day and overdo it.)
When uncomfortable emotions like restlessness, anxiety or anger come knocking, find other ways to quiet them. Go for a brisk walk, meditate, breathe deeply, stretch – there are plenty of easy ways to balance your emotions and reduce cravings.
Listening to your body’s natural hunger cues doesn’t mean you can’t follow a diet too – they definitely have their merits! Sometimes it’s easier to follow a set plan than trust that you’ll always know what and how much to eat.
There’s nothing wrong with following a diet plan, but you can also learn to listen to your body at the same time. It will tell you when you’re eating too much, when you are eating foods that disagree with it, and much more.
The more in touch with your body you get, the easier it’s going to be to reach your weight loss goals, simply because you won’t feel deprived as you go along.
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #6 – Boost Your Confidence
One of the reasons you want to lose weight is to feel better about yourself and be more confident, right? Well, even before you reach your weight loss goal, you can start working on that!
Granted, maybe you’re not feeling so good about your body the way it is right now. Maybe you even feel embarrassed and ashamed and wish you could crawl into a hole for the next 6 months and emerge thin and beautiful.
Don’t worry – you’re not going to have to do that.
Instead, try these two easy tips to start feeling better about your body now.
1) Look for things to like about your body the way it is.
You could probably rattle off a list of about a hundred or more things you DISLIKE about your body right now – but are there ANY things that you LIKE?
- Your skin?
- Your toenails?
- Your eyelashes?
- Your teeth?
- Your voice?
- Your general frame size?
- Your proportions?
It’s not easy to set aside the things you don’t like and focus on things you do like, but when you start doing so you’ll realize that your body isn’t ALL BAD.
Remember that NO ONE has a perfect body – and even after you’re thin there will probably be things about your body that you don’t care so much for. Don’t worry about those things; just focus on the positive!
2) Pamper yourself.
Make time for taking care of your body each day, or as often as you can. Take good care of your skin; wear clothing you love; indulge in manicures and massages; keep your hair cut and styled – basically treat all aspects of your body as if they are valuable.
This is important because too often people with weight issues stop caring about how they look, which makes their self-esteem take a nosedive.
Instead, do your best to look and feel good every day, and you’ll find that it’s much easier to stay motivated to improve your body from the inside out, too!
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #7 – Lighten Up
Have you ever felt really weighed down? Physically or emotionally? It’s hard to feel motivated when you feel so sluggish and heavy, right?
Believe it or not, making yourself feel “lighter” is a great way to energize your body and boost your spirits, which automatically strengthens your motivation.
There are a couple of ways you can do this:
1) Walking practice.
When you walk, do you have a heavy tread? Do you “thump” your feet down with each step?
Practice walking lightly by taking softer steps (maybe even smaller steps if it helps), being very easy on your feet and imagining that your body weighs very little.
As you walk, imagine that you are as light as a dancer, and you could easily leap into the air if you wanted to. The first few times you try this it may feel strange, but keep at it and before long you really will start to feel lighter and thinner!
This is a great exercise to do before you go to sleep at night. Lie comfortably in your bed and take a few slow, deep breaths as you imagine all of your muscles going limp and relaxed.
When you feel calm and comfortable, imagine that your body starts getting lighter and lighter, to the point where it feels as if it’s almost lifting off the bed, floating in the air.
It takes concentration at first, but the longer you can stay with the feeling, the more you’re going to notice you actually feel uplifted physically and emotionally.
An alternative to these exercises would be to focus not on being “lighter” necessarily, but instead feeling as if the girth of your body is decreasing so you feel slimmer and smaller than you normally do. You can do this while sitting in your favorite chair, while driving, sitting on the bus or airplanes, in restaurant booths, or anywhere else.
This helps you shift your perspective from focusing on being “too large” to being “comfortable” no matter where you are.
The true benefit of exercises like these is that they make you feel as if you’re making a lot of progress on your weight loss goal – feeling lighter and thinner – and what better way is there to keep yourself motivated to stick with it for the long term?
Weight Loss Motivation Strategy #8 – Make it Fun!
Here’s a bonus tip for you:
One of the biggest reasons people lose their motivation is because losing weight is HARD WORK. Exercise is hard when you’re out of shape. Dieting is hard when you feel deprived and restricted.
But that all changes when you start having fun!
Have you ever noticed that when you’re having fun doing something, time flies and it seems really easy to keep going for much longer periods of time?
You can apply this same concept to your weight loss journey.
Here are two good ways to start:
1) Diet Fun
Rather than getting frustrated by limited food options, commit yourself to finding ways to create delicious, nutritious meals – and have FUN doing so!
- Can you make a healthy pizza and form the toppings into a big smiley face?
- Can you turn on some good music and dance around the kitchen while you cook?
- Can you make a list of new healthy foods to try, and include at least one of them in every meal? – Can you research ways to eat healthier on a budget?
- Can you explore new healthy eating establishments in your area and treat yourself to a new one each month?
There are so many ways to make dieting FUN rather than boring or unpleasant!
In fact, these ideas are great for getting your children interested in healthier eating too.
- Take them shopping and see how many healthy and good tasting foods you can find in the supermarket. Whoever points out the highest number of them wins and gets to choose one of those healthy foods as a treat.
- Help your kids make easy, healthy snacks in the kitchen (there are tons of cool recipes online for free). The more fun you have with your new eating plan, the easier it’s going to be to stick to it!
2) Exercise Fun
Likewise, you can make exercise fun in endless ways too.
- Maybe you don’t enjoy jogging or walking, but you LOVE to dance? Join a dance class!
- Maybe you would enjoy circuit training at a place like Curves, where you switch machines every couple of minutes and have fun in the process?
- Maybe you could get your kids more active by holding family volleyball tournaments in the backyard, or taking up rollerblading or rock-climbing?
There are so many ways to get and stay active AND enjoy it.
Here’s an important hint: Most exercises that also engage your MIND – not just your body – will keep you focused and interested.
Exercises that are boring (like walking on a treadmill in a health club) usually make you lose interest pretty fast – unless maybe if you’re listening to good music or otherwise distracting yourself from boredom.
In the end, the most important thing in any successful weight loss plan is:
Enjoying the Journey
Remember one important thing about motivation: when most people think about motivation, they are really talking about finding ways to force themselves to do something they don’t want to do!
That’s usually a losing battle, right?
If you spend all of your time feeling annoyed about having to be on a diet, feeling frustrated about not being able to eat what you want, feeling resentful about having to exercise – or any other “negative” focus, you’re naturally going to sabotage yourself because no one can persevere while feeling so restricted.
On the other hand, if you find ways to feel excited about what you’re doing, that’s NATURAL MOTIVATION at it’s best!
Find ways to inspire and encourage yourself. Find ways to make your journey more meaningful. Find ways to make challenges exciting and stimulating. Play “mind tricks” with yourself if you have to – that’s what motivation essentially is anyway.
One other tip: Remember that while it’s possible to observe something in your environment and get motivated by it, more often than not your motivation comes from within – right between your own ears!
That’s right; your thoughts are the key players in how motivated you feel on a regular basis. When you know how to take control of your thoughts, you also enjoy greater control over your feelings, and most importantly, control over your actions.
- It all starts with a DECISION to improve your body and take better care of yourself.
- Next is the WILLINGNESS to make sacrifices and change your habits, even if sometimes it’s challenging to do so.
- Finally, you’ll enjoy a feeling of MASTERY as you get better at choosing more productive thoughts, feeling better both physically and emotionally, and getting into the “zone” of healthy, steady weight loss.
Once you reach that point, you’ll stop feeling as if you are helplessly compelled to sabotage yourself, and start finding it very easy to make better choices. You’ll start enjoying every step of your journey to a thinner you, and it will seem to happen a lot faster and a lot less painfully than you thought it would. Remember that you deserve all of the benefits that will result from your transformation! See your efforts not as a punishment, but as an investment into a better, healthier, more attractive YOU, and you will never regret the time and energy you devoted to yourself.
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