The beginning of any weight loss plan is usually easy. You have the fresh motivation, you are clear about why you are starting a new routine, and you have a lot of energy and hope. But for most people, that enthusiasm only lasts for about a week or two.
Eventually, you tired of the effort, you miss your old foods and habits, and it seems like everyone around you is enjoying all the treats that you are depriving yourself of.
It is a subtle shift, but slowly you begin nibbling on a candy bar, ordering a daily, “just this once” treat, and finding reasons why you just can’t work out today—again. Before you know it, you have lost your way and are in danger of completely giving up.
You are not alone. This happens to most people who try to lose weight and get fit. Let’s be honest: it’s hard. If it were easy to be slim and healthy, we would not have the epidemic of obesity that we are experiencing in our country.
However, you do not have to just sit back and watch your motivation and enthusiasm disappear. You can fight for it! Follow these simple strategies to rekindle your excitement and resolve and get back on track in no time.
- Get help. There is no guilt in admitting that you can’t pull this off by yourself. Find a personal trainer who can help you with your goals. When you invest money in something, you are more likely to work hard to get your money’s worth! Buy several sessions with a trainer, during which you can work out, go over your food diary together, and discuss any obstacles that are getting between you and your goals.
- Resurrect you’re ‘why.’ If you lose sight of why you want to lose weight, it is easy to lose motivation. You started this journey for a reason, what was it? Maybe you just lost a parent to a disease caused by obesity. Perhaps you learned that you are pre-diabetic, and the only way to turn off the ticking time bomb inside your body is to get serious about your health. Or maybe you are tired of feeling unattractive and want to fit into smaller clothes. Whatever your reason, spend some time thinking about it.
- Find some new recipes. It is very easy to grow bored with the same old recipes and foods. If you are dieting, you probably have a short list of foods that you like that you can eat without guilt. But after a couple of weeks, these foods become tasteless. Tantalize your taste buds with some new recipes. Bring some new healthy food into the house so that you can regain pleasure in eating. You will probably notice a boost in your motivation and momentum.
How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
If you have ever set a weight loss goal and failed to reach it, you know how discouraging it can be. Every time we fail at weight loss, we lose a little more confidence in ourselves and our ability to lose the extra weight and keep it off. It does not take long before we are convinced we can never do it and we give up completely.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons this happens is because we set goals that are unrealistic. The purpose of a goal is to provide motivation and draw us toward it. We should enjoy moving in the direction of our goal.
But if a goal is too big, too distant and too complicated, it will not motivate us; it will overwhelm us and paralyze us. It will work against us and be more likely to bring failure than success.
Keep reading to learn the secrets of setting realistic weight loss goals.
- Attainable. A realistic and effective weight loss goal is one that is small and attainable. Your goal needs to be something that you can reach in one or two weeks. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 50 pounds,” say, “I want to only eat dessert once a week for the next two weeks.” This is a goal that you can reach and it will have a profound impact on your weight: giving up dessert for most of the week! Two weeks is not very long to wait to celebrate your success, and the closeness of it will help to keep you motivated.
- Controllable. Your goals need to be things that you can actively control. Setting a goal of losing X number of pounds is not completely within your control. There are many things that affect your weight—water retention, physical activity or even weight lifting can cause the scale to go up. By setting a specific poundage loss, you are setting yourself up for discouragement, and it is largely out of your control. Choose instead a controllable goal. For instance, you can control how many days a week that you exercise. A good goal would be, “By the end of next week, I will have worked out X number of minutes.”
- Measurable. A realistic goal is one that you can measure so that you know when you have reached it. Saying, “I am going to eat five servings of vegetables every day” is much better than saying, “I want to lose a lot of weight.” The first goal is measurable, the second is too vague.
5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Diet
If you have ever started a new diet and then given up on it, you know the guilt and frustration that it brings. It is disheartening to know what you need to do to lose weight and get fit but not be able to motivate yourself to actually do it. Many people have been in your shoes.
But take heart, there are some things you can do to make your next diet a success. Weight loss and fitness are within your reach; you just need a little help.
- Control your portions. Did you know that the more you eat, the more you want to eat? When you eat large portions, your stomach actually stretches out a bit. That means the next time you eat, it will require more food to feel full. Eating less, however, will help you begin to be satisfied with smaller portions, and this will help you lose weight. Pre-measure your food onto your plate, and do not go back for seconds.
- Don’t completely deprive yourself. You can only go so long without a treat. The longer you go, the more likely you are to either binge or give up. You can prevent both of these situations by allowing yourself a treat now and then. Once per week, indulge a little. Decide what you would like to have most, and let yourself have it. Just remember to practice moderation. If you want some ice cream, just have one scoop–not the whole container!
- Get some help. One of the reasons people have a hard time sticking to their diets is that they are doing it alone. But you will be more successful if you have a buddy to encourage and motivate you along the way. Find a friend who wants to lose weight too. Meet up once a week to discuss how you each are doing, what you are finding hard to do, and simply be cheerleaders for each other.
- Educate yourself. Fear can be a great motivator. That is why many people do not get serious about exercise and health until they have a serious medical scare. But why wait until you have a medical situation? Do a little research about the deadly effects of being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising. Just knowing what your future holds if you stay unhealthy can give you a boost of motivation that will have you running for the produce section!
- Set reachable goals. It is important to set goals for yourself as your diet and get healthy, but make sure they are attainable. If you set big goals that will take a year to reach, they will not provide much incentive. Instead, set goals that can be reached with a week or two, such as, “I will exercise for 30 minutes, 6 days each week.”
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and at the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I believe that accepting not being a perfect person is the beginning of becoming one. Life continues to throw opportunities at us to learn from our mistakes in order to better ourselves. I have my own share of hardships and successes and I am happy that I am on a learning curve and improving myself.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
Earlier I used to have intermittent bouts of anger and frustration with regards to my work and relationships, but gradually I started to overcome my insecurities and inhibitions. The fact that I know I have many weaknesses yet have the ability to make things better – is the biggest appreciation I have for myself.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
My individuality and my attitude are the keys to unlock my own true potential to achieve something bigger in life. I think this is my most rewarding and enduring achievement.
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
I agree that we all have imperfections, but the most interesting aspect of this is there is a perfect world out there; that is even if we are imperfect, we know to align ourselves perfectly to make the world a perfect place.
I am not the person that manages time effectively, do things correctly all the time so on and so forth. I am also not the person who stayed ahead of her classmates as well as colleagues, yet I always came up with solutions and answers that worked. So yes, this oddity is what defines me.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my individuality. I love my storytelling. I love my desire to touch people’s heart through my writing.