Weight loss requires motivation. Simple, but not at all obvious.
So the question is “How to motivate yourself to lose weight?”
Of the thousands of people who undertake a slimming process, only a few achieve and maintain the desired results.
The reasons behind this phenomenon are really many and all different. One must have the courage to discriminate the actual causes from the alibis (excuses).
Let’s be clear, the error is man’s, and failure to comply with a slimming path should leave the time it finds – except for medical needs. Blaming oneself is always, for various reasons, wrong and counterproductive.
In order to increase the chances of success it is therefore desirable to try to understand what are the primary causes of failure to lose weight. The outpatient and sports technicians’ experience reveals that the main reason is a lack of motivation.
So, “I want to but I can’t” means “I’m not motivated enough“. This is quite a problem, because motivation can only come from oneself. A good dietician or a personal trainer is to set an excellent example and keep up the stimulus but, to manage it, somewhere, the stimulus has to be there.
To be honest, fortunately, many people today have grasped this aspect; the average course of food therapies and cutting paths in aesthetic culture does not seem to have changed. It is therefore necessary to investigate, first, what drives us to undertake such a project. In the next paragraph we will make more clarity about the difference between “reason” and “motivation”, and how one influences the other.
How To Motivate Yourself To Lose Weight
Motive Vs Motivation
Motive and motivation are not synonymous or proportional.
Motivation, i.e. the energy that fuels will and perseverance, arises from the motive or cause for which one intends to lose weight. Normally, the more important the cause, the greater the chances of success.
On the other hand, the motive is a constant, a fulcrum, while motivation is a variable that can be fragmented in the infinite moments that characterize our daily life.
Motivation, to be sustained, must never deviate from its source; ergo, the objective must always remain a priority and well focused during the hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes years.
Heavy? Obsessive? Poorly sustainable? If so, it is because this effort is disproportionate to the cause. To better understand what we are talking about, let us take examples.
- Subject A: slightly overweight 40-year-old male in his 40s who aims to show off his abdominal turtle on the beach, while loving alcohol and nutritious food. The motive becomes futile in front of a beer and a pork sandwich, and the motivation as a result, especially in the perpetuation of routines – which, for slimming purposes, can be defined as wrong.
- Subject B: obese woman suffering from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of eating fatty steatosis, with a high risk of aggravation to organ failure. The reason is powerful and the motivation as well, at any time of the day.
The example is perfectly indicative, even if there are summits, a thousand exceptions and facets.
The motivation to lose weight can be high even in people who do not have a medical cause, in which case passion, determination and perseverance take over. It is habits that depend on the objective and not the other way around. Psychologically some subjects are certainly more predisposed than others. Moreover, we cannot hide it, there are those who have to face more difficulties.
Let’s take another example:
- Subject A: mother of two young children, works as a shift worker in a nursing home, is expected to lose a few kilos she gained during her last pregnancy but does not have the financial resources to enroll in any physical activity course.
- Subject B: university student, practises body building and is followed by a personal trainer, lives with his parents who provide him with financial support and life management (meals, laundry, cleaning etc.).
This example is also perfectly fitting, though a bit extreme.
There are also situations in which maintaining motivation takes on disproportionate importance compared to the reason that it “should” generate. Apparently positive, this circumstance is instead very delicate and indeed often worrying.
Motivation is no longer built on positive emotions, discipline and the desire to do good, but negative, such as fear.
This is where eating disorders begin.
But why, even with all the cards in our favour, even if we don’t fall into a case history of pathology, do we sometimes not find or lose the right motivation to lose weight? Almost always because of emotional instability, that is, a lack of psychological balance.
Let us highlight, last but not least, another substantial factor, namely emotional balance.
We will not talk about psychology or various disorders, but we should make it clear that, while failure leads to frustration, it is precisely frustration that reduces the tolerability of the program.
The abuse of food and drink, especially alcohol, is a symptom of instability; therefore, a vicious circle occurs.
With lucidity it should appear obvious that, if it is not possible to achieve the aim with this system, it becomes necessary to intervene first of all on the emotional balance. Let us now make a small summary of the psychological condition that distinguishes people who are constantly looking for slimming but who unfortunately continue to fail.
We have said it, slimming is a widespread necessity. On the other hand, not everyone “has to” do it for medical reasons; more often than not, on the contrary, it represents a means to fill the need – let’s say “narcissistic” – to like and enjoy oneself.
In contemporary Western society no one, not even the most balanced and stable person, can totally disregard this mechanism.
Therefore, the so-called “low self-esteem” is perhaps the most widespread cause of discontent, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
It is for this reason that getting as close as possible to the ideal image of beauty becomes a duty, sometimes impossible to fulfill, because one’s body image is not a real parameter, that is objectively measurable, but a construct influenced by many variables.
Regardless of the kilograms and centimeters, if the consideration that we have of ourselves and the tone of the mood are low, the weight will always be excessive, the belly always prominent, the stature always low, the shoulder blades always winged, the breasts always small, the calves always thin or large, the shoulders always wide or narrow, etc..
It is good to concentrate on stress reduction. Having done this, there are some tricks that can be very useful in the search for the right motivation to lose weight.
How to Motivate yourself
Tips to motivate yourself
- Do not hesitate to consult a professional to optimize weight loss if necessary. People who feel more confident in their knowledge and skills tend to lose more weight.
- Focus on the focus, i.e. the reason or cause from which the motivation takes strength. It is not a redundancy; neglecting this point it is almost impossible to motivate yourself to lose weight. In practice, some people find it useful to write them from the beginning and read them daily, using them as reminders when counterproductive temptations arise.
- It is also very useful to remember all the beneficial effects of slimming, such as the prevention of metabolic pathologies (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc.), maintaining body fitness and superior performance (especially in terms of endurance).
- Appreciate periodic progress, without focusing only on the ultimate goal – which is sometimes quite long to come – and focus on the process. A study of 126 overweight women who participated in a weight loss program found that those who were focused on the process, not the end result, were more likely to lose weight and less likely to deviate from their diet than those who focused only on the end results.
- Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Some examples of SMART goals include: I will walk fast for 30 minutes five days next week, I will eat four servings of vegetables every day this week, I will drink only one drink this week, etc.
- It is essential to focus on the positive aspects of the trend, not just the negative ones – if any. For example, losing 3 kg in the first month and 1 kg in the second, should not be interpreted as a reduction in weight loss, but as winning a loss of 4 kg – which in itself is already evident. In addition, people who have positive expectations and feel confident in their ability to achieve their goals tend to lose more weight.
- Search for realistic goals, avoiding FAST diet This is fundamental, because unlikely goals will almost certainly generate a failure. Let’s not forget that, also for health reasons, most professionals recommend losing about 3 kg per month – when overweight. Some studies claim that people who achieve their weight loss goals are more likely to maintain the result; just as people who want to lose a lot of weight quickly are very likely to leave the program and lose motivation.
- For those who need to lose weight for health purposes, remember that even just 5-10% of the initial weight loss can have a great impact on health: improving blood glucose control, lowering levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid and blood pressure (consequently also the risk of heart disease), reducing joint pain and reducing the risk of certain cancers.
- Base your system on 5 key principles: Reduce calorie intake, Reduce portion size, Reduce junk food frequency, Always understand fruit and vegetables, Do workout every day
- Some people find it helpful to keep a dietary diary, to monitor their behaviour and compare it to the weight loss achieved periodically.
- Celebrate success: Losing weight is hard, so it’s good to celebrate all your successes to stay motivated.
- Creating social support, involving the right people with whom to share goals and method
- Formalise the commitment by making it public: in this way you are more likely to pursue your goals, to increase your sense of responsibility.
- Counting holidays and festivities: this helps to prevent excesses and healthy compensation for an extra dinner or lunch.
- Avoid perfectionism and don’t be too hard on yourself. Any slimming has its ups and downs, none excluded.
- Learn to love and appreciate your body. Research has repeatedly shown that people who don’t like their bodies are less likely to lose weight.
- Match the diet with the desired motor activity. No matter if it is not the most effective, at the end of the path will be more useful than the others to maintain motivation and achieve the goal.