It’s Friday afternoon—you just got home from work after a long and stressful week. You had plans to hit the park for a walk and make a healthy dinner at home but, instead, you find yourself on the couch in your pajamas, watching your favorite television series—take-out box in-hand. And just like that, your weight loss motivation seems to have vanished. Does this weight loss story sound familiar?
Weight loss is a journey: we all have days when our motivation to eat right and exercise is sky high — and other days when we can’t seem to get off the couch. Instead of criticizing yourself when days like these happen, try to realize that weight loss is a process. By shifting your focus to finding ways to restore your motivation, you may help your weight loss success overall.
1. Think about why you want to lose weight
One of the best motivation tips for losing weight is to write down all the reasons why you want to drop the extra pounds. Maybe you want to have more energy to do what you love during the day — or perhaps you want to lose weight to improve your health. We all have our reasons, and knowing yours can serve as an excellent catalyst for change.
Once you’ve written your reasons down, try to read them once a week, or enough to keep them top of mind. By reminding yourself of the reasons why you decided to adopt a new, healthier lifestyle, it may make it less likely that you will stray from your healthy eating and exercise plans. Research shows that people are more likely to be successful with their weight loss efforts when the desire to change their lifestyle comes from within.1
2. Focus on S.M.A.R.T. weight loss goals
If your main focus is to reach your end goal of losing a certain amount of weight, you aren’t alone. Many people only think about reaching their outcome goal, which often involves getting to their target weight. An outcome goal can feel distant and overwhelming — and researchers have discovered that this type of focus can derail your weight loss efforts.2
To set strong goals, make them S.M.A.R.T.4 which means making them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Some great examples include striving to eat three servings of vegetables a day or planning to walk for 30-minutes, five days a week.
This type of goal setting ensures that you are staying realistic while setting yourself up for success — which may keep you from feeling discouraged and giving up if your aspirations are too lofty. Studies have shown that when people set unrealistic expectations, such as trying to lose a significant amount of weight very quickly, they may be more likely to abandon their efforts to change their diet and exercise habits.5
3. Seek out support
Research has found that a weight loss program with support is more likely to help you achieve your goals than trying to go at it alone.6 By having a support system in place, you can lean on someone to listen and give you some extra motivation and advice, especially on those harder days.
Another idea: find a fitness buddy that enjoys getting active regularly. Not only can they help encourage you to go for a walk or a bike ride when you may not be in the mood, but they are also a great accountability partner. You’ll find that it’s much harder to bail on a workout when you know someone is counting on you to be there.
Exercise has benefits beyond burning calories and building muscle—it can also improve your mood and feelings of well-being.7 But finding an activity that you love may be the key to sustainability and avoiding burnout.8
While not all of us are fitness aficionados, there’s likely an activity that you find enjoyable. Still not sure what that is? Take some time to try different options and choose what interests you. A few things to consider: think about whether you like to exercise inside or outside, in a gym or at home, and in a group or solo. Narrowing down your interests may help you hone in on the best kind of exercise for you.
Another motivation tactic: music. Research shows that it could not only boost your desire to workout, but it could also help you work up a sweat for a little longer.9 Keep in mind exercise doesn’t have to be intimidating. It could be as simple as a 30-minute daily walk around the neighborhood (or you can use these easy ways to sneak in exercise at work or home!)
5. Celebrate your wins
As you embark on a weight loss journey, it’s important to celebrate the successes along the way, no matter how big or small they may be. Being proud of yourself can serve as an inspiration to keep making progress. Give yourself a non-food reward for hitting your goals so you’ll continue striving to reach them. For example, treat yourself to a spa day or get that new outfit you’ve been eyeing.
Are you ready to change your life and improve your health with a science-based weight loss program? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started.
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig