17 Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight & Keep it Off

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If yo-yo dieting is a problem for you, then you need to check out these fail-safe, bomb-proof methods of inspiring yourself to shed pounds successfully this year.

Inspire Yourself to Really Mean it This Time

We’ve all been there. You start a new health and fitness plan with great enthusiasm and determination. You are fed up of all those excess pounds, so you are going on a strict diet…and this time you really mean it!

For the first few days, everything goes well – but then your willpower starts to wilt. You see all your friends tucking into delicious dinners while you graze on shredded carrot. Your tummy starts screaming louder and louder for food, until eventually you cave into the pressure and gorge yourself on pizza, cake and ice-cream.

Back to square one. Again.

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But don’t cheer yourself up with a chocolate cookie – there is a better way. What you need is proper motivation. Not just some cheesy motivational quote, but a system you can follow to keep yourself on track. And you will find that right here. Follow these 17 simple strategies and you will have not just inspiration, but a path to follow to success. Then you will be on track to achieve an amazing weight-loss transformation like these inspiring people:

Understand Your ‘Why’

Losing weight is not easy, and it will require a significant commitment over a long period time. So to have any chance of sticking to the plan, you need compelling reasons to continue. So start by writing down all the reasons you want to lose weight.

These will be personal to you, of course, but they might typically include:

  • Looking great for a future event (wedding, vacation, etc.)
  • Attracting a new partner
  • Cutting the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke
  • Fitting into the jeans you wore three years ago
  • Keeping up with your kids
  • Improving your self confidence

Put these on a piece of paper and stick it near the place where you are most tempted to fail – perhaps the door of your fridge. Read your reasons every day, to remind yourself of where you are headed.

Keep it Real

We are constantly bombarded with messages from companies and publications promising us amazing weight loss results. That can result in us having high expectations that can never be fulfilled.

The truth is that losing 20 pounds in 10 days is never going to happen. Most doctors recommend a slow but steady loss of around 1-2 pounds per week. Even the top end of that scale is high. If you can lose one pound a week, you are doing great and will lose over 50 pounds in a year.

If you set your goals too high, you will only be disappointed when you fail to reach them. This is a case where it is much better to be the tortoise than the hare. You really will get there quicker in the end.

People who set realistic goals are also much more likely to keep the weight off. You are not a machine, so you need to work with targets that you feel comfortable with, and which fit into your lifestyle.

Celebrate Small Successes

Achieving your ultimate weight goal is going to take some time, so keep yourself motivated by setting small milestones along the way. For example, you might decide to have a minor celebration when you lose your first 10 pounds.

However, don’t plan on rewarding yourself with food…that is creating totally the wrong mindset and will set you back a long way. Instead, splash out on a healthy but fun indulgence, such as a trip to a spa or a new hairdo and manicure.

You can also celebrate changes in your lifestyle. For example, if going to the gym is a new experience for you, reward yourself the first time you go every week for a whole calendar month.

Create a Vision Board

A vision board is a fantastic tool that is easy to make yet can really keep you focused on achieving your goals. It is essentially a collage that encapsulates your vision of the future – how you would like you and your life to be a year or so from now.

This needs to be a real-world visual board that you can put up in a prominent place in your home. A Pinterest board won’t cut it…this needs to be in your face as a constant reminder of why you are turning down cookies and lacing up your running shoes.

So get yourself a corkboard and start cutting images from magazines, or printing them from Google images. Once again, you need to keep it real. You should certain include photos of people who look like the ‘ideal you’ – but be realistic. If you pin photos of supermodels, you will be disappointed when fail to reach their supernatural looks. Find pictures of slim but normal people who look similar to you.

Set SMART Goals

One of the main reasons that people fail to reach their goals is that they fail to define them clearly. Just saying ‘I want to lose weight’ is not a goal…it’s just a vague thought. You should set goals that are SMART…that is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

Here are some examples of great SMART weight-loss goals you might set:

  • I will go to the gym three times this week, and workout for 40 minutes
  • By the end of this week, I will switch from drinking soda to drinking water
  • I will eat fruit for dessert every day this month

Select a Health & Fitness Plan that Works for You

As human beings, we are all different. A diet plan that worked great for your best friend might be totally unsuited to you and your lifestyle. Remember, once you have started a plan, it will be a big part of your life for perhaps a year or more…so you had better be comfortable with it.

Think twice about choosing a diet that demands a tough regime. A lot of people have reported great success with the ketogenic diet, for example, but it demands a huge shift in the way you eat. You may be more likely to stick to a conventional diet plan that is less radical. Whichever way you do it, the most important contributors to losing weight are:

  • Reducing your calorie intake
  • Cutting down on junk food
  • Keeping away from fast food
  • Reducing portion sizes
  • Avoid the temptation to snack between meals
  • Cutting back on fried food and sugary desserts
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables

Get Back on When You Fall Off

Abraham Lincoln had many failures in his life. But he always managed to pick himself up and go on to fantastic success, becoming one of the greatest presidents of the United States. So if you have a minor failure along your weight-loss journey, ask yourself what Abe would do? He would get back on his ‘horse’ and carry on, right?

The same goes for you. There are so many challenges to losing weight, you are almost certain to fail once in a while. Maybe you go to a friend’s birthday party, and just can’t resist three helpings of birthday cake. Perhaps you heard some bad news, and consoled yourself with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

It’s OK, it happens.

Just don’t let it happen too often – and when it does, get straight back on your diet plan the next day. Don’t think ‘well, I blew it last night, so I might as well have a king-size candy bar for breakfast.’ Accept that you messed up, but you can fix it if you get back on track today. That is, right now!

Keep a Journal

Yeah, I know – a weight-loss journal sounds a bit fuddy-duddy, but it really works. Many studies have shown that people who track their food intake and exercise patterns are far more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss.

The important thing here is to write everything down, especially in terms of what you eat. If you sneak a spoonful of peanut butter while making the kids’ sandwiches, you have to write it down. There is no point in cheating yourself. 

It’s also a good idea to record your emotions as you progress through your weight-loss journey. This is a great way to identify the issues that cause you to overeat. Once you can see those problems in black and white, you can work to circumvent them.

You can use a journaling app, or make it more tangible by using good old-fashioned pen and notebook…it’s up to you

Share Your Journey

A great way to improve your motivation is to enlist the help of your friends and family. That’s easy to do in today’s social media world. If you share your weight-loss goals on Facebook and other social media platforms, you will get all the encouragement you need to continue.

Share your success along the way, and you will be amazed at the feedback you will receive. When you hit challenges, share those, too. A friendly word from a pal might be all you need to get you back on track.

Buddy Up

If you can enlist a friend to embark on your weight-loss journey with you, amazing things will happen. You can motivate each other, and support each other when the going gets tough.

When you are doing things alone, it’s easy to cheat and break the rules. But when you have to answer to your buddy, you are forced to be more honest in your actions. There will be days when you just don’t feel like working out – you are just too tired, or too busy. But when your buddy shows up ready for action, you will have no choice but to make it happen. And later, you will be very glad you did.

Get Pro Help

If you are still struggling to stay on track, then maybe you need to bring in a professional. There is nothing wrong with this; weight loss is very important goal, and you should call in any help that will get you there.

As well as motivating you week by week, a professional trainer can help you find the exercise routines that work best for you. You can also get your form corrected so that you are getting maximum benefit. And you can be sure a trainer will push you harder than you push yourself.

Another option is to hire a dietician to teach you about the right foods to include in your diet. The right choice of foods – in the right quantities – can have a bigger impact on your weight loss ambitions than your workout routine. So it is worth spending money to ensure you get this part right.

Allow Yourself Modest Treats

Giving up sweet and sugary foods altogether is too much of an ask for most people. After all, we are constantly surrounded by such tempting, delicious foods. Saying ‘I will never eat those foods again’ is probably going too far. After a while, your willpower will falter and you will give in to temptation.

A better idea is to restrict treats to one day of the week – perhaps Saturday. Then you can say to yourself, ‘I’m not going to eat pasta today, but I will have a lovely pasta dinner at the weekend.’ That gives you something to look forward to, and you are far more likely to follow through.

The trick, here, of course is not to over-indulge on your treat day. There is no point in starving yourself six days a week and then bingeing on Saturday. But if you keep you treats modest, this can be a great way to make your food regime more palatable.

Love Who You Are Today

The road to your weight-loss goal may be a long one…perhaps a year or more. But as soon as you take the first step on that journey, you are on your way.

When you look in the mirror, you may see someone who is still fatter than you would like. But if you have started on a diet plan, then you are already shrinking. So love the ‘getting slimmer by the day’ person in the mirror.

Research has shown that people who don’t like their bodies are less likely to lose weight than those who do. So be proud of yourself for wanting to make improvements in your life, and for taking the first steps towards making it happen.

Here are a few ways you can boost your body image:

  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Never compare yourself to ‘perfect people’ such as models
  • Take pride in every day you stick to your plan
  • Buy clothes that make you look good the way you are now

Make Working Out Fun

Gyms make an awful lot of money from people who sign up for membership, then continue paying without actually attending. Once the novelty of the first couple of sessions wears off, they lose interest and quit.

Exercise is important, so you can’t afford to wimp out like that. You need to find an exercise routine that works for you. If you prefer hiking in the woods to sweating barbells in the gym, then go for it. Maybe you need to mix things up – cycling in the park one day, working out at the gym the next, and swimming the day after that.

A workout routine that you actually stick to is always better than one that bores you to the point where you give up. Maybe you just want to stay at home and dance to your favorite music for 30 minutes. Go for it, that will work just fine!

If you are a social person, you might prefer to work out as part of a group. You can join spinning, Pilates or aerobics sessions at the gym, or find a group of runners on Meetup.com.

Think Positive

The way you think and talk makes a huge difference to your results. Don’t tell your friends ‘I’m trying to lose weight,’ – instead say, ‘I’m going to lose weight.’ Because you really are this time, right?

Get yourself in the right mind frame and everything else because so much easier. Don’t think of yourself as a failure because you ate a candy bar last Wednesday. Be proud of yourself because apart from that one lapse, you stuck to your plan for the whole week.

Mind power is everything in weight loss. We all know what we need to do to lose weight – eat less and exercise more. It’s simple. But you need a very positive attitude to turn the theory into practice.

Make the Most of Apps

We are so lucky to live in a world where we have amazing technology at our fingertips. Your smartphone can be a fantastic tool to motivate you and keep you on track to reach your weight-loss goals.

Download some weight-loss apps and experiment to see which one works for you. They give you access to a wealth of information on nutrition and other health topics, and keep track of your progress in your exercise regime.

Make it a Lifestyle Change

If you have ever managed to achieve your goal weight, only to see your poundage balloon back up to where it was before, then this one is for you. The problem here is that people think they can revert to their old lifestyle once they have hit the target.

Sorry, but this is not the way it works. It was your old lifestyle that got you into this fat mess in the first place. If you want to keep weight off for the long term, you have to think of your new health and fitness regime as your new lifestyle…forever!

Once you hit your goal weight, you can ease up a little bit. After all, you don’t want to shrink to unhealthy fat levels. But you can only afford to back off a touch. Maybe a little more good quality food, and perhaps a touch less exercise.

But keep weighing yourself, and if your weight starts going up, you will know you have backed off to far. Eating better food and doing more exercise is a much better lifestyle…don’t try to give up on it!

You Really Can Do It!

Losing weight is not easy, but it is absolutely doable. It’s a question of mind over matter, and harnessing your willpower to achieve real transformation in your life.

You definitely have the capacity to lose weight. All you have to do is find the motivation to make it happen. So take these 17 strategies to heart, and use them to set yourself on the road to new and much slimmer you.

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About the author

Joe Bensam

I am an experienced bodybuilder and qualified personal trainer who specializes in strength training, conditioning and building muscle. I am committed to helping others improve their health, fitness and build through good advice on workouts and nutrition.