How Not to Derail Your Weight Loss
Weight loss is a struggle for everyone, but those who have the easiest time shedding unwanted pounds are those who persevere and don’t let minor setbacks or distractions keep them from striving toward their end goal. The key to that dogged determination is maintaining the motivation that got you up off the couch or pushed you to toss out your secret stash of chocolates. But trying to maintain maximum motivation can lead to burnout.
“I tell people not to waste precious time and energy on staying highly motivated,” says Joshua C. Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of Living SMART: 5 Essential Skills to Change Your Health Habits Forever. “. . . Motivation has a natural rhythm. Most people see a drop in motivation as a signal of failure, but it’s not.” That lull is just your natural response to going full-tilt for an extended period of time.
But how do you maintain that natural ebb and flow in the face of daily life? Here are 7 proven tips to keep you motivated toward your weight loss goal when those inevitable hurdles try to trip you up.
No, we’re not talking about an all-kale diet here. Simply take a break outside. Interesting research from the University of Essex (in England) discovered that exercising in Mother Nature’s bounty surrounded by greenery is better, more effective, and has longer lasting effects than hitting the gym. Indeed, exercising outdoors is scientifically proven to:
- Make us feel happier
- Help us feel better about ourselves
- Give us a longer-lasting post-exercise energy boost
You want to know something even more exciting? Self-reports from people in these studies show that exercise outside is perceived as being easier than running on a treadmill (for example) and they were more likely to do it again as opposed to exercising indoors.
Focus on Your Feelings
Don’t let the numbers on a scale or the countdown on a treadmill determine your success. Focusing on a specific detail like those mentioned above is an easy way to sap your limited well of motivation.
Instead, says Simon Rego, Ph.D. and director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, concentrate on your mood after you’ve accomplished a small goal (such as eating a healthy meal or having a great workout).
“If you focus on how you feel each time you exercise, you’ll get all the benefits of burning calories, plus the reinforcement of remembering how good it felt to do it, which should increase your motivation to do more.”
You’ll not hear many self-help books or diet gurus telling you to focus on the negative outcomes of being overweight (and you shouldn’t), but for some people, positive motivators (such as picturing yourself in swimwear looking great on your next vacation) just aren’t enough. Sometimes mentally following yourself down the path you’re currently on is the inspiration you need to get moving.
Indeed, Matthew Richter-Sand, an Air Force veteran, personal trainer, and founder of NX Fit, says that he asks clients “. . . what their lives will be like in five, 10, or even 20 years from now” if they don’t change their ways. “I make them imagine how badly they will feel and how much they’ve missed out on in life—it’s absolutely critical that they’re honest with themselves at this point. It’s too easy to sugarcoat things and pretend like it’s okay. It’s not okay!”
This type of mental exercise is helpful because it can really hammer home how harmful your current lifestyle actually is.
Confront Your fears
Sometimes fear can erode your motivation and when it does, you may not even realize it is happening. Dr. Anne Dranitsaris, a recognized brain-based therapist, says that knowing why you’re skipping the gym can help you eliminate those obstacles and get back to a healthy routine.
Do you really not want to exercise or are you simply embarrassed to show your body in workout gear? Are you really too tired to work out today or are you scared that at the end of the week the scale will not have budged?
You don’t have to confront those fears head-on. Instead, Dr. Dranistsaris suggests creating workarounds—solutions that allow you to get the job done by bypassing the thing that’s causing your anxiety.
- Pop in a workout DVD at home instead of going to the gym
- Ask a friend to workout with you to take your mind off the anxiety
- Go outside or find a gym you feel comfortable at (like a women-only facility)
Shift your focus from nitpicking to appreciating your body. Instead of getting angry because the scale showed no progress this week, be grateful for how the exercise has improved your stamina, muscle tone, or ability to make it through the day without those constant aches and pains that plagued you before.
Shifting focus from how you look to how you function allows you to notice (and appreciate) the very real benefits of exercise that we often consider side effects of weight loss.
Document Your Journey
If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, the last thing you probably want to do is to sit down for a photo shoot. But documenting your life change is an excellent way to stay motivated. No, you don’t have to share your journey on Twitter or Instagram; but snapping those photos for yourself is a great reminder of where you were at the beginning and how far you’ve come since. If you are brave enough, sharing those photos with friends, family, and your support group is yet another way you can create a scenario in which you’re holding yourself accountable in a healthy and positive fashion.
Find an Easier Diet Alternative
Sometimes it’s the diet food that hinders your ability to stick with a weight loss program. When you eat the same bland stuff day in and day out or have to count every single calorie you put in your mouth, weight loss can become a chore.
Instead, find a healthy, flexible diet alternative like The Hollywood Diet® line of products. This large selection of meal replacement cookies, savory and sweet low-calorie snack options, and juice-based liquid cleanses are safe, healthy, and can help you every step of the way. Whether you use The Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet®  to jump start your journey and lose up to 10 pounds in just two days or you choose the ease and security of The Hollywood Cookie Diet®  meal replacement cookies to maintain a lower calorie diet without the cravings, these products are scientifically designed to help you stay on track.