5 ways you can stay motivated to lose weight

  • 3 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Are you in need of some tips to stay motivated to lose weight? Was the scale reflecting your hard work and then all of a sudden it stopped? Here are some practical tips to help you stay motivated to lose weight so you can continue to reach your goals.

Stay motivated to lose weight

If you've lost weight in the past you are familiar with the dedication and focus that comes at the start of any program when meal planning and bypassing temptations come easily. Then, time goes on, life gets busy and a weight-loss plateau sets in.

"The key to staying motivated to lose weight is similar to the [amount of] fuel in a car - you don't need the motivation tank to be full to drive, you just need to prevent it from running empty." says Joshua C. Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of Living SMART: 5 Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever.

Might you envision your motivation in this way? Many people assume that their motivation and dedication to their new lifestyle will feel the same on the first day of their diet plan as 6 months into it. This is likely not the case and that's ok! If you are looking for some ideas on how to reconnect with some of that initial energy and interest that you had when you started your weight loss journey, you are in the right place. Read on for some tips on how to stay motivated to lose weight.

1. Want to stay motivated to lose weight? Take a minute to pause and reflect back on how far you've come

One aspect of any weight loss journey is the dreaded weight loss plateau. For many it comes after consistent weight loss and then all of a sudden the scale won't budge. This is a normal yet frustrating part of the process.

If you are currently experiencing a weight loss plateau, take the time to reflect on where you started and how far you have come. There are times when we get so caught up reaching a certain number on the scale that we forget to stop and reflect on our overall progress. This is especially important if you have a lot of weight to lose. I encourage people to take note (literally make a list) of ALL the shifts and milestones that have happened as a result of their weight loss.

For example, is it easier to walk from your car into the office in the morning? Do you have a bit more energy in the afternoon to tackle meal preparation? Are you sleeping better? Taking time to reflect can remind you that weight loss is a process. Notice the milestones, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself (see tip #4) for your efforts.

2. Take a moment to decompress

Many people find that their motivation and willpower levels are highest in the morning. Do you have an easier time preparing a nutritious breakfast than avoiding after-dinner snacking? As we move through the day we make numerous decisions regarding what to eat/what to avoid and how to do it. Willpower is like a muscle that gets fatigued from use. If your willpower or motivation levels dip in the afternoon try taking some time for yourself before your motivation slumps. For example, take a walk after lunch, find some time to do some deep breathing, or listen to affirmations while driving. Taking care of yourself and decompressing can help to prevent overeating and can keep your motivation levels from dipping too low.

3. Think about the why

Your personal values are important. Did you know that reconnecting with your values can inspire you to take action when you feel like sitting on the couch and snacking? When life gets stressful it can be too easy to lose sight of why you started out on this weight loss journey to begin with. Did you want to lose weight for health reasons? Did you want to improve your health to help ensure you are around to play with your grandkids? Paying attention to the "why" can help you to continue to stay motivated to lose weight.

4. An important weight loss motivation tip: Reward yourself

Your body naturally rewards you for losing weight by providing you with more energy and better sleep. Many people find they stay motivated to lose weight if they provide themselves with an external reward. Rewards can help keep the motivation tank full. Consider rewarding a positive behavior in an effort to reinforce its continuation. For example you might reward yourself after working out at home for 3 days out of a week. Or you might schedule a reward for yourself after you reach a weight loss milestone such as losing 10 pounds. Rewards work best when they are taken seriously. I have worked with many adults who plan to reward themselves when they reach a weight loss milestone, only to find that life gets busy and they blow off the reward. If you want to stay motivated to lose weight, make it a point to follow through on your personal rewards.

5. Be your own best friend

What advice would you give a friend who shared she'd fallen off track over the weekend with her eating habits and gained two pounds? Chances are you would offer support and encourage her to get back into her routine as soon as possible. Showing support and compassion towards others is natural. Why is it so hard for us to show compassion towards ourselves?

Many people rely on negative self judgement as a way of staying motivated and in doing so fail to treat themselves with kind-heartedness. Next time a slip happens, try being a friend to yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that it is easier than you think to get back on track when you are compassionate towards yourself.

To learn more weight loss motivation tips:



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Updated: 3/30/2020

Weight Loss->Motivation Tracking & MyNetDiary->Tracking Benefits
Mar 30, 2020
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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