One of the toughest parts of the weight loss journey is staying motivated. There are peaks and valleys and it so hard sometimes just to carry on. I know – I have been there. How did I keep going? That’s what I want to talk about today.
In this blog I only want to share what has worked for me, not just stuff you could find yourself elsewhere on the net. So here we go with my top ten.
1. Chart you Progress I have spoken before about how important it is to keep a track of your food. It is equally important to write down your progress in a few ways. First of all, keep a record of your weight losses. Write it down even if it goes up a little. When we have one of those bumps where we go up a little, we tend to focus on the up. If you can look back on a notebook, an app on your phone or a calendar (where ever you write it down) and you see an overall trend of down, you will want to keep on keeping on.
2. Use mirrors and photos I know, I know. You are thinking Mirrors? Are you crazy? Trust me with this, but there is a twist here. When you look in a mirror, do it from a positive perspective. Look at how much you have lost. Do not allow the negative self talk to start. Instead of thing My butt is huge! think My waistline has really gone down or I can see where I have lost inches. Use photos in the same way. Like I had said in a previous blog post, find old pictures of you at your heaviest and keep a copy where you can see it. Put it near your computer, tuck it away on your phone, and on those days when you think you haven’t made progress, have a look. Be encouraged by how far you have come rather than be DIScouraged by how far you have to go.
3. Talk to Someone Find a weight loss buddy, either one or a group. I have my group at my TOPS meetings as well as a couple of people I stay in touch with individually. You can find groups like TOPS or Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous to find some group support, but it is also important to find that friend you can call, email or even text when you are struggling. Meet them for coffee and just talk about what you are going through. Don’t expect them to “fix” you. Just let them be some listening ears. It really helps to let it out.
4. Use Music When you are exercising or even walking, use music to keep yourself going. Use music you like. I am an oldies fan so I use a lot of upbeat 60’s type music, but I also have a special cardio play list that I use when doing my boxing workout. I know this will sound corny but it has tracks like the theme from Rocky, Eye of the Tiger and other “pumping’ songs. I use a lot of TV themes like the old Mission Impossible and others but the point is use what works for you. At the gym I use headphones, but at home I let it blast out! Richard Simmons tells the story of going to the gym when he first started trying to lose weight. He found the gym intimidating as many of us do, so he went home, put on his favourite records and voila Sweatin’ to the Oldies was born.
5. Walk the Dog Now I have to admit this one is not mine as we don’t own a dog, but I see people walking their dogs past my house every day, and, and in some cases depending on the size of the dog, being walked BY the dog. If you have a dog, you have a reason to walk 2 or 3 times a day. Don’t own a dog? If you know someone who has one, borrow theirs.
6. Use Quotes I recently got onto Pinterest and one of the boards I have is weight loss and other motivational quotes. I love to collect them and sometimes just take a few minutes and read through them. A couple of my favourites is “You are not fat, you HAVE fat” and “You aren’t hungry. You are bored. Drink some water. Learn the difference.” With the internet, you have a world of quotes available to you. Save ones that resonate with you. Again keep them on your phone, on your wall, on your computer or wherever you can see them.
7. Go Slow You didn’t put the weight on overnight, it is not coming off overnight. Understand that this will take time. Don’t push yourself too fast or too hard because that just leads to frustration and that’s when we start down the road to giving up.
8. Don’t be a Perfectionist This is very similar to number 7. You are going to have days where you eat something you shouldn’t or you eat more than you should. There will be days when you make some bad food choices. Guess what? It happens to all of us, and yet our reaction is “Everyone else can do this but I just can’t seem to do it, so I give up.” I remember years ago when I was the Director of a Salvation Army Drop In and Shelter. We used to get a lot of “goodies” donated to serve with our coffee. We had a volunteer who would sit there eating a double slice of chocolate cheesecake, and say to me “I just don’t understand why I can’t lose some weight”. OK, you made a bad decision. You can cry about it or you can get over it and move on.
9. Set Small Reasonable Goals When I first joined TOPS, I was 329 pounds, and my goal was to get to 200. That seemed like a million miles away and every time I focused on losing 129 pounds, I nearly threw in the towel. In fact I did quit once as I related in a previous post. I started looking at smaller goals. There is a bit of a cliche you hear in goal setting workshops. How do you eat an elephant? One bite a time. Focus on losing 5 or 10 pounds. When you do that, look at the next 5 or 10 pounds.
10. Reward Yourself I spoke about this briefly in another post, but this is important enough to repeat. This can be a very difficult journey. It is a lot of work. You need to be able to reward yourself for the victories, but please, don’t reward yourself with food. Take yourself to a movie, buy that book you have been wanting to read, buy some new clothes that fit your new body or any number of things. No one has to know. This is just a reward for you because of YOUR work.
Well there you have it. My top 10 motivators on this weight loss journey. I hope it helps you as much as they have me.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!