Weight Loss Motivation


weight loss motivation

Maintaining weight loss motivation is one of the most important aspects of beginning and sustaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.

In fact, weight loss motivation, coupled with a well designed plan and focus, are imperative to successfully achieving your personal weight loss goals. While motivation is merely a state of mind, there are several techniques that can be used to improve and maintain a higher level of motivation.

First, it is important to believe in yourself, your weight plan, and that you will achieve your personal weight loss goals. Second, it is important to set realistic goals, avoid the expectation of unrealistic results, and focus on the positive aspects associated with your weight loss plan (i.e. increased levels of energy, improved health, greater mental clarity, etc.).

In addition to the mental aspects associated with maintaining a high level of motivation, incorporating an exercise journal, a meal tracker, and defining your personal weight loss goals will assist in the entire process of successfully losing excess body weight.

Tools for Motivation


An exercise journal is designed to record the details of each of your exercise workouts. For example, if an individual incorporates a running routine into their overall exercise program, they can create a running exercise journal to record the time and days that they ran, the distance of each run, the time required to complete each of their runs, the specific course that they ran, the total number of miles run per week, and their average heart rate.

Thereafter, the individual can monitor their improvement by comparing the times it takes to complete their run on the same course. For instance, if an individual runs the same course every Monday afternoon, they can compare their times to complete the course over time to monitor their improvement.

Utilizing a meal tracker is an excellent way to monitor your daily food intake and to evaluate your eating habits and patterns. The purpose of a meal tracker is to write down all of the foods that are consumed each day, the total amount of calories from each meal, and the amount of fat derived from each meal. By doing so, an individual can monitor the total number of calories and fat they consume each day and compare it against their food intake daily goal.

For instance, if an individual's personal weight loss goal is to eliminate 25 pounds of excess body weight over the next 2.5 months, and their weight loss plan includes consuming 1,600 calories per day, they can evaluate whether they are meeting their goal on a daily basis.

For example, if an individual consumes a breakfast meal that consists of 453 total calories and their total caloric intake goal for the day is 1,600, they have an additional 1,147 calories that they can consume throughout the remainder of the day.

Meal trackers are also a useful tool for locating any potential weaknesses in an individual's dietary plan. By tracking and recording your total food consumption per day, you may notice that you have a tendency to consume foods and beverages that are high in processed content or fat in the mid-afternoon hours. By observing this tendency, you can modify your eating habits more quickly and make the necessary adjustments to remain on schedule and achieve your personal weight loss goals in your specified timeframe.

For the reasons listed above, we have provided several meal tracker tools that our users can download and utilize to assist in the obtainment of their personal weight loss goals. The various meal tracker tools can be found here: Calorie Tracker Tools.

The importance of defining and setting your personal weight loss goals prior to actually beginning your weight loss program cannot be overstated. By taking the time to define your personal weight loss goals, you will not only be able to monitor your progress, but maintain a higher level of motivation and a higher probability of achieving your goals as well. It is important to remember that all weight loss goals and milestones should be realistic, achievable and challenging.

The Importance of Setting Goals


goal sticky note

It's crucially important to create short-term and long-term weight loss goals. For example, an individual's short-term goals may consist of losing 2 pounds per week every week, exercising 3 times per week, consuming 1,600 calories per day and consuming less than 30% of their total caloric intake from fat.

Short-term goals and milestones are designed to provide more rapid feedback and allow for adjustments to an individual's personal weight loss plan. Short-term goals and milestones also allow the individual to monitor their progress and determine whether they are on schedule or if they need to make modifications to their current approach to get back on schedule.

Long-term goals are designed with the "big picture" in mind. More specifically, long-term goals represent the goals associated with the overall obtainment of personal weight loss and overall health goals.

For instance, if an individual's overall weight loss goal is to lose 25 pounds, it would fall under the "long-term goals" portion of their weight loss goal plan. Additional long-term weight loss goals may include losing a specific number of inches from the various locations of the body (i.e. 6 inches from the hips, 4 inches from the waist, etc.).

Finally, long-term goals may include running in a marathon, achieving a specific heart rate level for a specific amount of time (i.e. maintain a heart rate of 150 beats/minute for a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes), and to fit into a specific dress or pant size. For additional information on setting effective weight loss goals, please visit our Setting Weight Loss Goals section.

How to Avoid Losing Motivation


Below are a list of several common motivation killers and tips and techniques designed to overcome them. It's important to remember that failure can be a natural part of the learning process. In fact, failure can be one of the most beneficial tools in relation to the obtainment of a goal.

Although mistakes may be part of the learning process, mistakes can be detrimental if the individual does not resolve them while maintaining a high level of motivation at the same time. Make sure that every time a mistake occurs, beneficial learning takes place so that the same mistake will not be made in the future. Several of the more common weight loss mistakes and their solutions are as follows:

    weight loss motivation
  1. Choosing exercise types that you don't enjoy: Most individuals enjoy some form of exercise. However, many individuals choose exercise types that they don't enjoy simply because they'll burn a higher number of calories.

    For instance, if you simply do not enjoy jogging, do not add jogging as an exercise type in your weight loss plan. Instead, choose a cardiovascular exercise type that you truly enjoy, even if it means a slower rate of calorie burning. You'll be more likely to stick with the activity on a long-term basis.

  2. Overloading yourself: Whether it results from scheduling too many exercise sessions or participating in an exercise type that requires an extremely high level of intensity, too much driving time, too much of a time commitment, too much stress on the body, or does not allow for enough rest, individuals can often feel overwhelmed. Do not allow this to happen, as it is a common condition in which motivation can be challenged. In other words, it is important that each individual not create an exercise routine where they feel like they are always trying to catch up.

    Whatever exercise routine an individual is able to commit to, and perform regularly, is acceptable. Remember, adjustments to your exercise routine can be made as you progress in your fitness.

  3. Choosing exercise types and approaches that are beyond your financial means: Fitness club and gym memberships can rapidly add up in cost. Make sure that a lack of money is not an excuse to stop exercising. There are countless forms of exercise that can be performed for virtually no cost, with just your body, and require a small amount of space.

    For instance, walking, jogging, running, swimming at a local pool, performing yoga or Pilates at home, and exercise videos are all forms of inexpensive exercise. If you require a tutorial or instruction on how a specific exercise type is to be performed, try renting the specific exercise video for assistance. In fact, many video stores offer exercise videos to their members for free.

  4. Expecting unrealistic results: Many individuals have spent their entire life putting on excess body weight. While it will not require a lifetime to eliminate the excess body weight, it will not occur overnight either. Hence, it is important to be realistic about your personal weight loss goals. Some individuals require months of exercise before their bodies begin to show the physical benefits associated with their exercise routine and weight loss plan. Do not get discouraged, as the physical results will come with persistence, dedication and commitment to a solid physical fitness plan.

  5. Failing to research the various types of exercise: In today's culture, and with the advent of the Internet, there are almost unlimited fitness resources that are available to virtually everyone. In fact, you're using one right now! Take the time to perform research on the various types of exercise to determine the benefits of each specific exercise type, the physical requirements necessary to perform the exercise type, the necessary monetary commitment, the space requirements and the time requirements. Consider renting informational DVDs specific to the exercise type of interest.

  6. Practicing ineffective time management with your children: Children can consume a lot of time. Add child rearing, a full-time job and chores at home, and it can be difficult to fit an exercise routine into your lifestyle. If an individual has children, it's important to remember that most fitness centers offer some form of day care. Try to incorporate exercise activities that can be performed with the whole family. For instance, try walking or jogging while pushing a baby carriage, adding a baby carriage to the back of your bike, exercising in a pool with your child, or exercising while your child takes a nap or is asleep for the night.

  7. Ignoring variety and allowing the level of challenge in your exercise program to stagnate: Add variety and modify your exercise routine every 4 to 6 weeks. Not only will this keep your exercise routine fresh and new, but it provides a form of cross-training that will increase the rate at which you see results. In addition, varying your workout routine will continually force your body to improve in its physical condition and capability, while improving and maintaining a high level of mental motivation at the same time.

  8. Trying to exercise through extreme pain: Physical exercise should never be extremely painful. If an individual finds that it is extremely painful to perform a specific form of exercise, it is important to stop and determine why. There are several reasons why an exercise type may be painful.

    First, the individual may not be ready for the physical demands of the specific exercise type. Second, the individual may have a physical injury that makes it difficult to perform the specific exercise type. Third, the individual may be performing the exercise type incorrectly. While a burning sensation in the muscles is typical during an exercise routine, extreme pain is not. When performing an aerobic activity, try to exercise to a level where it is still possible (however difficult) to hold a normal conversation.

  9. Ignoring short-term goals: Many individuals put together a set of long-term weight loss goals in which they either cannot see the finish line or feel as if they will never reach the finish line. Short-term goals are designed to create milestones along the way so that the individual can monitor (and celebrate) their accomplishments. This is imperative for maintaining a high level of motivation. Begin by defining several short-term goals that can be monitored weekly and over a 3 to 4-month period. Remember that the intent of the short-term goals is to facilitate the larger long-term goals.

  10. Designing an exercise regimen that severely clashes with your schedule: It is important that you evaluate the amount of time you can commit to your exercise program. If an individual finds that it is difficult to regularly commit 1 or 2 hours of time to a specific exercise type 3 times a week, they need to make adjustments to their overall exercise plan. For instance, if an individual typically performs a strength training routine followed by an aerobic activity for 1 to 2 hours per session, 3 times a week, and is finding it difficult to allocate the time to do so, simply break up the exercise routine.

    In other words, the individual may find that performing the strength training and aerobic routines on separate days will allow them to accomplish both routines while eliminating the time constraint. It's important to remember that performing an exercise routine over smaller time periods is better than not exercising at all.

Using the Right Methods of Evaluation


If an individual is using evaluation criteria that fails to provide the true results obtained from their weight loss program, the results will be discouraging and detrimental to their motivational level. Below are several typical approaches to evaluating your progress as your work towards achieving your personal weight loss goals:

    weight loss measuring tape
  • Throw away the body weight scale: The body weight scale tends to mask several of the actual benefits achieved by the individual.

    This is because the traditional body weight scale does not take into account the percentage of lean muscle mass vs. body fat.

    As an individual begins to exercise, they will gain lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass, by volume, weighs more than body fat, so an individual may lose 15 pounds of excess body fat while gaining 10 pounds of lean muscle mass.

    The individual may feel that they have worked hard only to lose 5 pounds. In truth, the individual may have actually made significant gains in terms of the number of inches they lost, their overall health, and their specific weight loss goals.

    A better approach is to use a tape measure, a skinfold caliper or another body fat analysis tool.

    By doing so, you will be able to truly determine the results of your weight loss efforts based on inches that you have lost and/or decreases in body fat percentage.

  • Use a tape measure to evaluate weight loss results: A tape measure is an excellent alternative to a body weight scale in that a tape measure records the actual inches lost per specific body part. For example, if an individual defines their weight loss goals in terms of inches per body part, then they eliminate the need to weigh themselves altogether. The benefit of this approach is that the failure of a body weight scale to take into account an individual's lean muscle mass is eliminated.

    For instance, if an individual defines one of their weight loss goals as "reducing their waist measurement by six inches," then they can simply measure their waist on a monthly basis to determine if they are moving towards their goal. Typical body parts that are measured within a weight loss program include the neck, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves and upper arms. If you look in the mirror and all of your body parts are at the approximate measurements that you desire, body weight is not an issue.

  • Try on some old clothes: Though not a clear indicator of minor weight loss, trying on some old clothes that you could no longer comfortably fit into can be an appropriate indicator of inches lost and weight loss. Again, how clothes fit is a direct indicator of the individual's body part inches, and an indirect indicator of the individual's body weight.

    One approach is to consider buying new clothes that are a size or two too small when you begin your weight loss program, and setting a weight loss goal to comfortably fit into them within a certain timeframe. As the individual tries the clothes on, they will begin to notice that the new clothes are not as tight and that they are moving towards obtaining their weight loss goal. This is a surefire way to maintain a high level of motivation.

  • Visit a friend: If you have not seen a friend recently, visit them after you have been on your weight loss program for a couple of months. Not only is it motivational if the friend mentions that you look like you have lost weight, but the time spent reminiscing and discussing your weight loss efforts are excellent for reinforcing your dedication and commitment to your weight loss program.

    Additionally, it is much easier for an individual who you haven't seen in a couple of months to notice changes in your body when compared to you evaluating your body on a daily basis.

happy female with weight loss

Motivation is one of the primary keys required for any successful weight loss program. In fact, it is motivation that facilitates performing your actual exercise routine, modifying your dietary intake, maintaining focus and determination, and achieving your personal weight loss goals.

To this end, it is important to implement and utilize as many support tools as possible. By doing so, you will ensure that you are able to maintain a high level of motivation throughout the entirety of your weight loss program. The importance of this aspect of your weight loss program can not be overstated.

However, your weight loss program, and goals, should not be viewed as a single one time goal. Instead, achieving your optimum weight should be considered a part of your overall lifestyle approach and include all aspects of good health and fitness. By embarking on an overall lifestyle that is filled with good health, exercise, nutrition and mental well-being, your weight will take care of itself.