Keeping Motivation to Lose Weight: 12 Actionable Tips

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A large percentage of the population in the developed world struggle with weight loss. When planning to lose weight, you can easily find weight loss resources on the internet, gym tailored routines, and fitness programs tailored to fit various lifestyles. However, you still find yourself demotivated to succeed in your weight loss journey.

The main reason why people feel demotivated is because there are factors working against them. This includes the presence of triggers around your environment that make it difficult for you to do what is necessary to lose weight. This will then require more effort from you to figure out how you can overcome the situation you are in. What makes matters worse is that taking certain approaches, such as setting unrealistic goals, can further drain your motivation.

Even though starting and sticking to a weight loss program can seem impossible, it can still be done with the right mindset.

Here are a few tips for keeping motivation to lose weight:

  1. Accept you are not motivated enough
  2. Hold on to your reason
  3. Test yourself
  4. Set realistic goals
  5. Stop Comparing
  6. Build your own diet plan
  7. Focus on a feeling
  8. Keep a weight loss journal
  9. Find your emotional obstacles
  10. Get competitive
  11. Give yourself a break
  12. Reward yourself

Accept You Are Not Motivated Enough

Most people are in denial. The first step that you can take to be motivated is accepting that you are not motivated. After coming to terms with this, it will become much easier to take the required steps to move forward.

Find out the cause of your demotivation if you are enrolled in a fitness program and why you are not excited about your weight loss journey. Some of the most common causes of demotivation include lack of sleep and energy crash after eating too many carbohydrates.

If sleep is an issue for you try adding in something like a Hold On To Your Reason

It is essential to determine why you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to feel more comfortable in your clothes, reverse a prediabetes diagnosis, or attract more women/men. Even something as simple as purchasing “goal weight” clothing can help you get where you want to be. Whatever the goal is, hold on to it. Comments from your friend on why you should lose weight may not work because people don’t like being told what to do. However, when the weight loss goal comes from within, you are more likely to stay committed and, in the end, get positive results.

Your reason is truly your primary motivator. Here is a process you can use to find it:

  1. List all the reasons you can think of for losing weight — define your weight-loss motivation on paper.
  2. Highlight any that include other people.
  3. Rewrite the list, without the highlighted items.
  4. Inspect each one for phrases like “have to” or “must.” Such words imply obligation, not desire; eventually, they’ll also invite the instinct to rebel (and, thus, weaken your weight-loss motivation).
  5. Translate each “have to” into a “want to.”
  6. If your reasons lose their relevance, pare down the list again
  7. Repeat until you find two or three of the most compelling motivations to reach your goal.

Once you’ve determined exactly what you want to achieve and your deadline, work backward to create a monthly plan of action with realistic and specific goals for losing weight (such as committing to healthy snacking).

Keep Your Reason Visible to Keep Weight Loss Motivation

If you have an article of goal clothing, keep it somewhere you can see it regularly like next to a mirror. This can be a non-intrusive reminder to keep working towards your goals. You can even try speaking some positivity into your life. Visualize about how good it will feel to wear that clothing and say “I see myself wearing this and it feels great.”

Test Yourself for Keeping Motivation to Lose Weight

Needing some quick weight loss motivation? Give yourself a quick test similar to this one where diet is the example. It may help you remember why you started in the first place.

  • If I stop my diet, how will I feel in six months or one year from now?
  • If I stop my diet, what will my health be like?
  • If I stop my diet, how will my family and friends be affected?

Alternatively, imagine you don’t keep working towards your goal. What would your life be like in five or ten years? How does that make you feel?

Setting Realistic Goals for Keeping Motivation to Lose Weight

Weight loss is a marathon, and overnight weight loss programs are not recommended. Therefore, you should plan to lose the extra pounds slowly. This method is not only healthier than rapid weight loss procedures, but you are also more likely to maintain your ideal weight rather than quickly putting it back on after a sudden drop.

You can start by setting a goal to lose 1 or 2 pounds in a week or getting a certain body fat percentage by a certain date. Setting unattainable goals will drain your motivation. On the other hand, realistic and manageable goals will help with keeping motivation to lose weight.

Stop Comparing

Although it may seem like posting or saving models or influencers is a good way to get more motivation it is more than likely hurting your self image. This will make keeping motivation to lose weight more difficult.

Scientists in the Netherlands divided women who wanted to lose weight into two groups: the first group was given a food journal with photos of thin models on the cover and interior pages, and the second group was given a journal with a neutral logo image on the front. While the neutral group lost weight, those given the journals sprinkled with supermodel images gained weight.

The researchers say that the images of models discouraged the women by creating unrealistic self-standards. Staring at photos of much-thinner women while logging food intake may have made them feel like they’d never be able to achieve that look, so they stopped trying. Instead of comparing yourself to unrealistic fashion models, stay inspired by posting images of you at your healthiest for a serious dose of weight-loss inspiration.

Build Your Own Diet Plan

selective focus photography of pasta with tomato and basil- keeping your favorite foods, key to keeping motivation to lose weight
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Instead of following fad diets, create a plan that works with your own lifestyle. A great place to start is using a tool like Calorie Calculator: Find Your Caloric Needs. Starting small will help with keeping motivation to lose weight. Once you have your calorie goal determine which foods you can and can’t live without and work the ones you can’t into your diet. If you are a snacker, divide your calories into 6 or 7 meals that support grazing. Whatever you do, don’t give up your favorite foods. Doing so will make your cravings stronger and willpower weaker.

Focus on a Feeling

It can become very frustrating to focus on the number on the scale, daily food intake, and training. Instead try to concentrate on your mood after eating or working out. It can even be beneficial to document how you felt in a journal if you are keeping one. If you start to lose drive, looking back on your notes can help with keeping motivation to lose weight.

Keep A Weight Loss Journal

white notebook and pen- keep a journal for keeping motivation to lose weight
Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on

Self-monitoring is essential to keeping motivation to lose weight. Researchers have found out that those who track what they eat are more likely to lose weight or maintain their weight loss. You should write down everything, including your snacks, candy, and all the meals that you consume. You can either use an offline journal such as a diary or use online methods such as Cronometer. Both methods are effective in boosting your motivation.

It’s also important to track your progress in ways other than the scale. Progress pictures and measurements are a great way to see change when the scale might be lagging behind!

Find Your Emotional Obstacles

Sadness and anger are two of the most common reasons people overeat, but food won’t solve either one. Your journal can provide insights into what may be causing you to binge occasionally. Once you start evaluating your eating triggers, you’ll be able to deal with the underlying emotions.

Get Competitive

A little competition can go a long way. Social influence of team-based weight-loss competitions can help you lose up to 20 percent more weight than you would if you did it alone, according to a study published in the journal Obesity. In fact, team captains shed more weight than team members, which the researchers explain is likely due to their position and involvement in the group competition. So next time you find yourself wondering how to stay motivated to lose weight, remember to recruit a group of friends or coworkers and lead your team to victory!

Give Yourself a Break

Think of your motivation as money in a bank account. You don’t have to be rich in it to use it, but it is useless if empty. If you find that motivation is running low take a day or two to do something you enjoy and make some “motivation deposits”. Just don’t use breaks as an excuse to stray away from the habits that will help you get to your goal weight.

Reward Yourself for Keeping Motivation to Lose Weight

You should not beat yourself up during this journey. Of course, you will have to be disciplined, but you can reward yourself from time to time. For instance, when you reach a certain goal, you can treat yourself by going to the movies or Bonus Tip- Don’t Hurt Your Progress Trying to Make Progress

Although the scale can be a helpful tool for measuring your progress, many people get in the habit of weighing themselves too often. Daily weigh-ins, or multiple weigh-ins per day, will only sap your weight-loss motivation with a roller coaster of emotions and can cause you to freak out by temporary up-ticks in the scale that have nothing to do with body mass or body fat. Instead, try to limit yourself to weekly weigh-ins to more accurately track your progress.

Learn more about How To Maintain Weight Loss Long-Term.

In 2013 I attended TVCC with my studies focusing on nutrition and biology. After leaving TVCC I pursued a career in inbound marketing and have worked in many different industries including health and fitness, firearms, coaching, and many more. I spent 6 years training for powerlifting and 6 years after training for a bodybuilding show in Idaho, which sadly did not come to fruition.

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