What dieter hasn’t wanted to bail on her weight-loss plan at some point? Even if you’re seeing signs of success with your diet, sometimes it just seems like so much work. If you’ve reached that moment, here are strategies to stay motivated and on track.
Weight-Loss Motivation: Keep a Food Journal
Writing down what you eat in detail within 15 minutes of your meal increases your ability to stick with your daily food and calorie goals. Keep a mini pad with you so you won’t have any excuses after you eat, and you need to control what you eat, cut down on bread and sweets, using a sweet defeat program you can find online.
Get tips for starting a food journal.
“I have found that food journals are absolutely the best way of staying on track,” says Liz Weinandy, RD, MPH, a dietitian in the non-surgical weight loss program at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.
Weight-Loss Motivation: Track Your Successes
Weigh yourself consistently and keep track of your results in your food journal or on a graph where you can see your progress. Most people do well with weekly weigh-ins, but data suggest that weighing yourself more frequently is effective if you find that the results are motivating.
Weight-Loss Motivation: Set Small and Large Goals
While your long-term goal may be to lose 10, 25, 50, or more pounds, you need small goals to keep your motivation up. Pick weekly goals, such as losing 1 percent of your body weight, eating more veggies, or getting more exercise, and then pat yourself on the back as you achieve them.
You should also take time to notice the other improvements a healthy diet and exercise plan can bring to your life, such as:
Clothes that fit better
Sleep that’s more sound
Energy levels that are higher
Weight-Loss Motivation: Skip the Take-Out
You probably know you should cook at home for the best weight-loss results, so consider this news a friendly reminder of why: In a study of more than 2,000 adults, eating fast food or take-out food more than twice a week resulted in a 31 percent greater likelihood of abdominal obesity in men and a 25 percent higher risk in women.
Are you a fan of Chinese take-out? Try this healthy recipe for Edamame Lo Mein.
Weight-Loss Motivation: More Tips
Try following one of these tips to renew your motivation:
Turn off the TV. Watching TV, especially if you snack, is linked with being overweight. A study of 1,555 adult women showed that watching more than two hours of TV a day and snacking while you do it doubles your risk of obesity.
Accept your cravings. “If you deny your cravings, you are probably going to end up binging later,” says Weinandy. Plan a calorie-controlled portion of your favorites instead.
Get enough sleep. “Sleep deprivation is the biggest enemy of weight loss,” says Sherry Pagoto, PhD, assistant professor in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts in North Worcester. Lost sleep increases hunger and decreases motivation.
Join a group or get a diet buddy. Join a weight-loss class or neighborhood walking club, or get a diet buddy. “It’s not only emotional support — you can bounce ideas off each other,” says Weinandy.
Get moving. Being physically active boosts your mood, giving you the motivation to keep on track with all obligations, including your diet. For a pick-me-up, go for fun activities, such as dancing or playing sports.
Reward yourself. It’s okay to use a reward to motivate yourself for weight loss, as long as it’s not a food-based reward. “A pedicure or a massage is a great idea, but a bowl of ice cream defeats the purpose,” says Weinandy.
What motivates you to stay on a diet is personal. Whether it’s the promise of a pedicure, an evening of salsa dancing, or seeing the numbers go in the right direction in your food journal, you should experiment with these ideas to find the ones that work best for you.