How to find (and keep) your weight loss motivation
So you've decided that you want/need to lose weight. Once that decision is made you usually feel pretty motivated to take action and make it happen. Depending on how you approach your weight loss that motivation may last a month or two, one week or maybe just a day! Or perhaps you find you're really motivated and fired up one day and then totally uninspired the next.
These are my top tips for long term motivation to help you achieve your goals:
get clear on your why
There is a reason why this question is right at the beginning of my Menopause Diet Plan guide. You have to be really clear on the reasons why you want to lose weight. And your why becomes more powerful the deeper you go. For example:
Why do you want to lose weight?
I feel so tired & sluggish all the time. I want my energy back.
Why is it important to get your energy back?
I used to enjoy being active but now it's just too much effort.
Why is important for you to become active again?
My doctor told me my blood pressure is a bit high. I'd like to get it back to normal.
Why is it important to bring your blood pressure down?
There's a history of heart problems in my family. I want to do everything I can to avoid that.
This is just an example but hopefully you can see how much more powerful your why becomes when you start peeling back the layers.
expect progress, not perfection
One of my favourite quotes is "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good". Nobody is perfect. Nobody has the perfect diet and yet we still fall into the trap of telling ourselves that if we don't do it right it's not worth doing at all. For example, how many times have you started a new diet on Monday, had a slice of cake/chocolate bar/glass of wine on Thursday and then told yourself 'oh well, no point eating healthy now, I'll start again next Monday'?
Are you setting the bar too high? Do you have unrealistic expectations? Are you being too strict with yourself? Because that's the dieters mentality; telling yourself that you're 'not allowed to have a bit of chocolate at Easter' or you depriving yourself by going without a glass of wine at your favourite restaurant.
Lose the dieters mindset and focus on building healthier habits so that you're moving towards the 80/20 rule: aim to eat right and move/exercise 80% of the time and accept (and be happy) that 20% of the time you're a human being who enjoys the occasional chocolate bar and glass of wine!
Recognise your progress
In my experience women are not very good at giving themselves a pat on the back. Yet your brain is hardwired for positive reinforcement - think about how it makes you feel when someone else praises you or gives you a compliment. So start to reward yourself as you begin to make progress towards your goals. Maybe you have pedicure or a back massage, or buy yourself a new book or outfit. It doesn't have to be expensive - a few tea light candles and some bubbles can turn a regular bath into a indulgent spa.
enjoy the process
If you're doing something because you think you should, your motivation is going to run out quickly. So rather than forcing yourself to do something you hate, find an alternative. Hate kale? Try spinach/swiss chard/spring greens instead. Loathe the gym? There are hundreds or workouts on YouTube you can do at home instead. Remember, this is about finding a way of eating and moving that works for you.
be your own cheerleader
Do you regularly encourage and praise yourself or are you your own worst critic? Are you kind and accepting of yourself or do you berate and get angry with yourself? No one can stay motivated if they are constantly under attack and yet we often don't stop to notice if we are the main source of that criticism.
Start to pay attention to your self talk. Be kind and start speaking to yourself as if you were your own best friend.
Find something that gives you a quick boost
We all have days when our motivation deserts us. In those moments it's useful to have a resource to lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. That might be a favourite song that you can play and dance to, a quote or affirmation that you can use for your meditation or motivational speech you can watch - whatever inspires you and lights that fire in your belly.
I'd love to know.... what motivates you?