If you have decided to lose weight, you are probably wondering which of the many diets, exercise routines, and broader lifestyle changes are actually going to work. The short answer is they all work, or at least they might work, provided you incorporate these changes into your lifestyle in a sustainable way.
It is important to try out a wide variety of healthy recipes, exercise classes, and healthy habits to find which strategies work for you and to determine the obstacles to weight loss in your life. Always remember, whatever strategy you choose, it has to contribute to the long-term preservation of weight loss motivation.
To shed the pounds you're ready to lose and lead a healthier lifestyle, you must find an approach to weight loss that touches every part of your life without risking burn out. Managing your weight effectively will improve your health all around and give you the confidence to engage with your life and everyone in it more fully.
You can achieve this by instituting a regimen that involves thinking carefully about all your choices as opposed to subscribing to a burdensome set of rules that constrain your involvement with the people and pastimes that make you happy.
A sustainable approach to weight loss motivation means changing your life as a whole for the better, not obsessing about restrictions.
Why Is Weight Loss Important?
Many people value weight loss because they want to look and feel better. This motivation is occasionally mistaken for simple vanity, but this is not the case. Wanting to look and feel more confident is essential to physical and mental health in the long term. Weight loss motivation is an important element of a long and happy life as we explain below.
Stress on the Body
As the population of the United States has aged and gained weight, both at historic levels, physicians have had the opportunity to examine and understand the long-term effects of weight gain with unprecedented clarity. Carrying excess weight over a lifetime puts tremendous stress on the joints, particularly the knees.
This threatens mobility in later years and will increase the aches and pains commensurate with aging. More importantly, heart disease related to obesity is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. A healthy heart starts with a healthy weight and leads to a longer life.
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Impact on Mental Health
Beyond physical health, struggles with weight loss have proven to have a profound impact on mental health. People with weight problems are less likely to engage with their peers in meaningful ways than are their peers who are at an appropriate weight.
This creates a lifestyle with increased isolation that can lead to depression, stress, and social anxiety. The better you look and the better you feel, the more likely you are to get out and engage with the people and the activities that make life a full and vibrant experience.
Why Do People Struggle with Weight Loss?
The biggest obstacle to substantial weight loss is the requisite longevity. There are no effective solutions that do not include permanent lifestyle changes which can feel like a death sentence to people in the initial, most uncomfortable stages of weight loss.
Don't let this sense of futility impede your weight loss motivation. Every day, the exercise will get easier, the dietary habits will be more satisfying, and you will be happier with how you look and feel.
Diets Are Just the Beginning
Diets are hard to adopt, even when you allow for a little flexible honesty. What is more discouraging is the most common result of a diet. Successful dieters often find their weight loss is temporary. This is because, as you diet, your body grows accustomed to the new, lower calorie intake and adjusts accordingly.
So, when dieters reach their goals or abandon their diets, the weight comes back and then some because the body has increased calorie intake just when it has adjusted to working with fewer calories day-to-day.
Exercise Is Just the Beginning
This same pattern applies to exercise. As you exercise more, your body adjusts to burning more calories every day and your appetite increases as your body needs to burn more calories to keep up in spin class.
Then, when the exercise routine is foregone, the body is still expecting to go to spin class and demands the calories to get through it in the form of hunger.
However, if you don't actually go to spin class any longer, those calories go straight to your waist. It is important to adopt a healthy approach to exercise and diet incrementally and consistently. If you take an extreme approach, it will most likely backfire.
Weight Loss Is a Social Exercise
One of the most common missteps in the maintenance of weight loss motivation is self-imposed isolation. Many people feel embarrassed by the weight loss process, especially in the beginning stages, and so they take on their new lifestyles alone. New dietary constraints make eating alone seem like the simplest solution.
A lack of confidence in the gym leads to solo workouts that take place in the far corner at a slow time of day. This is a self-defeating approach. Lifestyle changes have greater durability when they involve a human connection. Find a friend, a family member, or a co-worker with whom you can share some facet of your new lifestyle.
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Many people decide they are ready to lose weight, make a goal of losing 25 pounds by the end of the month, fail, and completely lose their weight loss motivation. Everyone wants their concerns about weight to go away overnight but this is simply not how it happens.
To sustain a successful weight loss effort you must recognize how much weight you can reasonably expect to lose in a week or a month and create a plan based on experience, not wishful thinking.
Falling Off the Horse
So, you have decided to lose weight, you have found a diet that works for you, you have been going to the gym regularly for a week, and then one weekend you eat a whole pizza, two pints of ice cream, and only get out of bed to use the bathroom. All is lost, right? Wrong.
One of the most important parts of the road to weight loss is failure. Whether it is tomorrow or three months from now, the wheels will fall off at one time or another. Don't let one mistake derail everything you have done and don't let it compromise your weight loss motivation. Get back on the horse and keep working.
Weight Loss Motivation Tips and Tools
It is difficult to dig through all the weight loss information available and find concise advice about changes in lifestyle. Whatever you choose to do, don't get overly invested in one avenue. As is the case in life, what works for you isn't necessarily going to be the same as what works those around you.
Consider the following advice as a collection of tools, not rules. Advice is helpful, but eventually, you have to come up with an approach to sustaining weight loss and weight loss motivation on an individual basis.
Know and Own Your Weight
It can be a serious challenge to get up every morning, hop on the scale, and suffer the consequences, but knowing exactly what you weigh every day is essential to keeping yourself honest and learning which strategies work and which are not worth the effort. Despite the initial discomfort, you will find a daily weigh-in informative.
Once you know exactly how many pounds you can expect to lose in a week or a month, you can start to make and keep realistic, long-term weight loss goals without sacrificing your weight-loss motivation because you failed to meet an unachievable target weight. This strategy works best if you have a weight loss calendar to remind you how far you have come and where you are going.
Institute a Regimen
A daily weigh-in is easiest to achieve within a broader daily regimen geared to maximize your weight loss without sacrificing weight loss motivation. You will have the most success if you develop a consistent set of exercise habits.
You do not need to do the same thing every day or every week but there should be a planned regularity to your exercise schedule, especially during the week when the pressures of work and family life make finding time to exercise more difficult.
Regular exercise is also a great way to regulate your sleep habits. Find an exercise routine that tires you out enough to sleep deeply on a regular schedule as quality sleep is highly correlated with successful weight loss efforts.
Shift Your Lifestyle
You don't have to be at the gym or on a treadmill to burn to calories. Activating your lifestyle is just as important as finding time to exercise specifically every day. You can accomplish this by finding time to get out of your chair at work and meander around the office for a while, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or choosing to take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner as opposed to watching television.
Other helpful lifestyle changes that correlate with weight loss include drinking a lot of water which avoids sugar-filled drinks and regulates appetite, brushing your teeth multiple times every day to tamper cravings and improve portion control, and improving your posture which encourages physical engagement of the core and lower back.
Given the recent proliferation of weight loss apps, you will have no trouble finding a tool to track all of your lifestyle changes.
Think Carefully about Your Diet
Regulating dietary choices is the most difficult aspect of weight loss and the biggest threat to weight loss motivation for most people whose efforts stall before they have reached their weight loss goals.
To sift through all of the information and advice on dietary strategies available is a cumbersome effort, filled to the brim with claims that this diet or that diet is the answer to all of your weight loss dreams. Some of these diets may be helpful tools in weight loss but there is no panacea.
You are better off instituting positive dietary changes and using subsidiary diets as needed, or not at all.We will not bore you with the long and depressing list of things that should be avoided entirely in an effort to lose weight; we will merely provide a basic catalog of food categories and habits that are best left out of your lifestyle.
Sugary drinks, or sugar in general, are perhaps the biggest culprit in sabotaging weight loss efforts. Whenever you have the choice, it is best to drink water. Avoid fried foods and foods cooked in an excessive amount of butter, like the food at most restaurants from fast-food joints to expensive eateries.
The sneakiest extra calories in all our lives find their way to our waistlines through alcohol and the sugars and carbs used in processed foods. The worst dietary habit for weight loss is eating in front of the television, so if you are going to consume any of the items forbidden in the preceding paragraph, don't do it in front of the TV.
Often, the list of things you are not supposed to have makes adopting better eating habits seem like an austere and dull effort to succeed. People imagine they must stand in the kitchen doing 30 lunges before every bite of uncooked spinach.
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This is simply not the case; eating better gives you the chance to explore the fresh dietary options available to you and improve your hand in the kitchen in the process. Concentrate on buying the right produce from the grocery store such as products with fiber-rich whole grains and lean protein.
With these as your staples you'll be on your way to success. Once you have amended your shopping priorities, focus on portion control. Serve reasonably sized meals and give your body time to process what you have consumed before going for seconds or snacking. If you are going to let any meal get a little large, it should be breakfast.
A large breakfast gives you energy for the day and tampers appetite later into the afternoon and the evening.Our last note on diet: cheat. Not all the time, or even regularly, but do not let dieting become a boring, circular, joyless effort.
It is important to create room for a little cheating. If you have been eating great and exercising daily for weeks, your body can burn off a little indulgence and a little unexpected indulgence is not a reason to lose weight loss motivation. You can get back into it tomorrow and make up for any transgression.
An often neglected facet to successfully maintaining a weight loss regimen without losing weight loss motivation is mental health. It is important to seek some sort of counseling throughout a weight loss journey to identify triggers of unhealthy eating or lifestyle choices that threaten your long-term weight loss goals.
Additionally, stress and anxiety are some of the most common contributors to poor dietary habits. Counseling gives you strategies for managing your stress and/or anxiety without compromising your physical health.
Furthermore, weight loss can be an uncomfortable process both in terms of diet and exercise. Increased mindfulness of the signals your body sends to you helps you embrace the uncomfortable and celebrate the positive changes in your body and in your lifestyle.
Share Your Journey
As we mentioned above, one of the most common saboteurs of weight loss motivation is loneliness. All too often, people who need to lose weight embark on the process alone. They eat according to their diet alone, they adhere to their strict workout regimen alone, and they track their weight loss daily, alone.
It is essential to make connections that keep you motivated while contributing to a healthy routine. Find a friend to go to the gym with every day, re-frame a diet as a culinary endeavor to share with your partner, or take a walk with a co-worker at lunch instead of sitting in front of your computer. Weight loss doesn't have to cause isolation, don't let it.
Social media is another important tool for maintaining weight loss motivation and making connections with like-minded acquaintances.
There are numerous Facebook groups dedicated to weight loss where you can find helpful resources in your area. Instagram allows you to share pictures documenting your progress and capturing the new, active lifestyle you have adopted on your journey.
This will let the people closest to you know your priorities and find ways to support and affirm your goals.
If you have just begun your weight loss journey, make no mistake, you have a long road in front of you. This is not a reason for your weight loss motivation to waver, this is a reason to reaffirm your commitment to your goals.
A sustainable approach will include activities and choices that make life more enjoyable, promote a human connection, and lead to a more confident, healthier version of yourself.
The long road to weight loss is an opportunity to incorporate new experiences in your life; experiences you can share with the people you care about and bond over with people you are just getting to know.
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