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Losing weight is hard—from motivating yourself to get started to ensuring you stick with it in order to reach your goals. But mustering up the motivation to embark on your weight loss journey is only half the battle. Finding ways to stay motivated to lose weight throughout the process is the other battle.
So, as you embark on your weight management journey, how can you set goals to ensure you stay motivated, and ultimately, reach your goals? In this article, we’ll explore several strategies you can use to set yourself up for success and maintain motivation throughout your weight loss journey.
Know your ‘why’ and use it to stay motivated to lose weight
When it comes to achieving your weight loss goals, the very first step is to get clear on your why. What is it that motivated you to pursue this journey in the first place? The most powerful “why” comes from within.
Look inward to understand what is motivating you. Ask yourself, “why do I really want to lose weight?”
Do you want to feel better? Do you want more self-confidence? Do you want to lower your risk of health problems in the future?
No matter what your goal, intrinsic motivation is the key to long-term success. Your doctor telling you to lose weight may motivate you to make changes in the short-term, but success in the long-term comes from within.
Set realistic weight loss goals
If you’re looking to achieve your goals, whether you’re trying to drink more water or lose ten pounds, you have to get SMART. Setting SMART goals is a tried-and-true method for creating realistic and attainable goals that set you up for success.
SMART goals should be:
- Specific: Instead of setting a goal to “lose weight,” get more specific by stating “I want to live a healthier lifestyle and move my body regularly to help me maintain a healthy weight.”
- Measurable: How will you know you’ve achieved your goal? Make it measurable. Do you want to lose 15 pounds or reach a certain weight?
- Achievable: Your goal should be a stretch but not impossible. Can you realistically achieve your goal within a certain timeline?
- Relevant: Does your goal align with your values? Is it relevant to your long-term health and wellness objectives?
- Time-based: Set a time limit for your goal. By when should you expect to have accomplished your goal?
Using what we’ve learned above, here’s an example of a SMART goal for your weight loss journey:
“I want to lose 15 pounds and reach my ideal weight of 140 pounds in the next 6 months. I will do this by living a healthier lifestyle, eating whole foods, and moving my body daily.”
Find what you enjoy
Sticking to your plans and reaching your goals is all about finding what works for you. If you dread what you’re eating or can’t stand to get on the treadmill, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re way more likely to achieve your goals if you actually enjoy the activities you’re doing and the food you’re eating.
If you already have some idea of the healthy food or type of exercising you like to do, perfect! Lean into those. If not, try a few different foods or exercises until you find what you like best. You may hate the treadmill, but perhaps you love doing a few laps in the pool to get your cardio in.
Or maybe you’re not the biggest fan of replacing white with brown rice, but perhaps you’d prefer a similar whole grain like farro or quinoa. When you find healthy foods and activities you actually enjoy, you’ll be much more likely to sustain your efforts throughout your weight loss journey. Check out the Whisk app for loads of healthy recipes with an easy-to-understand health score.
Track your weight loss progress for added motivation
Measuring your progress towards your weight loss goals will help you stay motivated and hold yourself accountable. A great way to track your progress is by keeping a weight loss journal. You can do so with a pen and notebook or digitally.
Each day use your journal to note:
- What you’ve eaten throughout the day (including snacks)
- If you’ve exercised and what type of exercise you did
- How you’re feeling that day
- Your weight (at the end of each week)
A weight loss journal can help you identify patterns and triggers, while also helping motivate you to continue working towards your goals.
Celebrate small wins
It’s not only about the destination, but the journey. Each day you’re taking one step closer towards achieving your goal. When you have a good week or hit a milestone, celebrate those wins! Acknowledging your smaller achievements will motivate you to keep going.
To celebrate the small wins, reward yourself. But, it’s best to avoid treating yourself to food. Instead, schedule a massage, buy a new book you’ve been eyeing, or treat yourself to a movie night out. Enjoy the progress you’ve made and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Get support from others
Whether it’s a friend, therapist, nutritionist, or personal trainer, getting support from others can help you stay motivated throughout your weight management journey. Tell a close friend about your goal or see if they might want to be your accountability buddy. This could mean working out together or simply checking in on you to ask how it’s going and offer words of encouragement.
Aside from friends or family, seeking help from a professional may be just what you need. If you’re struggling with what to eat, perhaps consulting a nutritionist could help you create a meal plan (or you could use the Whisk app as a starting point!). Or maybe you’re having trouble holding yourself accountable at the gym. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer could make a world of difference. If you’re struggling mentally, seeing a therapist might help you better understand and overcome any negative feelings you’re facing in your journey.
Plus, there’s no shortage of online support communities of people who are on the same journey as you. Join an online support group to share your wins, ask questions, and find motivation. Whisk has plenty of health-minded communities for you to tap into.
Negative self-talk can have a detrimental effect on your ability to stay motivated. Give yourself compassion and avoid harsh judgements. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you skip a workout or indulge in an unhealthy treat. Instead, understand that no one is perfect and recommit yourself to your goal.
Try replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Instead of “I’ll never lose weight,” say “I am fully capable of achieving my goals. It will take time but I will get there.” Replacing negative self-talk with positive will keep you in the right mindset to reach your goal—one small positive affirmation at a time.
Staying motivated to lose weight is a marathon, not a sprint
As much as we’d love there to be, there’s no fast and easy way to lose weight. It’s about commitment, consistency, and taking small steps each day to get to where you want to be. There might be peaks and troughs in your weight loss motivation and even your progress, but that’s ok. As long as you stick with it for the long haul, you’ll get there.
Although it’s not an easy journey, with these strategies, you can ensure you stay motivated with each small step you take towards achieving your weight loss goals.