Day 15 – Weight Loss Motivation 101

a human weight scale

Entering the third week! How different are you feeling?

We ended the last week with an invite to start doing more intense exercises. By now you can probably see the fine design behind our course: the nutrition week, the exercising week, both of them started gently, then you learned some things to help you better understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, as well as the proper ways of doing things (learning how to develop a taste for the new foods, or how to accept your daily exercises as a part of your everyday life), and finally to level things up – like by starting to exercise harder.

That’s the behavior you should adopt yourself: moving forward all the time, keep raising the bar. That’s how this new way of life will really become a part of who you are, and how you’ll learn never to look back.

Now the time has come to move beyond your eating and exercising habits. It’s time we talk about motivation.

Getting Your Head Straight

Up until now we weren’t focusing so much on the thoughts in your head; your original motif was good enough to get you started with the course, and it kept you going so far. But it’s still too soon and the pitfalls are many, so there’s a possibility that your own motivation might disperse when faced with them.

That’s why this week is dedicated to increasing your motivation and strengthening your willpower. Hopefully we don’t need to remind you that you should continue further exploring healthy nutrition and regularly exercising, but our focus will be on getting your head straight for the future challenges.

Your mindset needs to be kept in check by constantly staying motivated; our goal is to help you overcome the “One day I will be done with all this” kind of thinking; there’s no magic pill, no weight loss course or training that can get you in shape for life.

Only you can do that. Only you can keep yourself in shape by embracing the new way of life.

And you can do it by changing the way you perceive things, and finding your motivation power in order to not only jump over the pitfalls, but to stop noticing them anymore.

The first step is to make you aware of the motivation stumbling blocks that may appear on your journey.

Where Do the Dangers Lie?

Even if right now you feel that you’re doing great and that nothing can distract you from your goal, things can change, and it’s important to know what to watch out for.

Having Unrealistic Expectations.

You shouldn’t hope to lose 5-10 pounds per week, as even if you could, it wouldn’t be good for your health. If you want long term benefits, you need to get your mind and your body used to the idea of a healthy lifestyle that will, yes, take some time to get you in shape, but it will also make it easier to maintain the desired weight.

Expecting Fast and Constant Results.

Similar to the previous one, you should make your peace with the fact that the results won’t come overnight, but also with the fact that weight loss is rarely constant from week to week. What is actually more common is that, once you start losing weight, you can lose a few pounds in one week and not a single pound in the next week.

So once you start losing pounds, refrain from expecting that it will continue to go off at the same rate. That will prevent you from losing motivation, which often happens to people. For example, instead of measuring yourself every week, do it on a monthly basis – that way you will be able to monitor your progress without constantly getting excited about losing pounds one week, and then stressing up about the fact that nothing is happening the next week.

Becoming Discouraged when You Slip up.

We are not machines, able to be programmed as we wish: “I’m not eating fried food anymore”, ENTER, done. It doesn’t work that way. Most all of us will fall off track and skip a workout or eat something unhealthy. The key isn’t to never slip up; the key is not to get discouraged when that happens. One failure isn’t the end of the world, and you shouldn’t let it make you throw in the towel. If anything, you can use that fail to promise to yourself that it’s not going to happen again.

Hanging with the Negative People.

Major pitfall! Don’t let anyone make you feel pressure to eat a certain dish, or to skip a workout. The “unbelievers” are just as dangerous as those who will hold you accountable for every slip you make (feeling guilty isn’t something you need right now). So be upfront with your friends and family, let them know that you’re in the process of changing your life habits and why. If they’re not on board, it’s their problem; if they are, that’s great – you may even get an unexpected diet and workout buddy. Just don’t let them get overzealous 😉

Not Planning Ahead.

believe you can and you're halfway there. - writing on glass board

Again, this is a marathon, and not every moment of the way will you be able to see the big picture. So you should start planning everything: plan your food shopping, meal preparation, plan your workouts… Until all of it becomes a habit, planning is one of your best friends!
Does any of this sound like something that could happen to you?

OK, now that we have frightened you enough, we should repeat that this entire week is devoted to strengthening the very mechanisms that will help you stay strong. And the good news is that you can do a lot to minimize the risks, starting right now:

Practice Positive Self-talk

What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body, and feeding it with negativity and doubt is sure as hell not going to help you stay motivated for long.
Meet Jane and Jill:

Jane: “I’ll never make it, I’ve only lost five pounds in four weeks. And that cake I ate last night, yeah, my brother is right when he says I’ll never be slim, why even bother?

Jill: “Five pounds in four weeks! OK, that’s not much, but I’m doing it, I’m making a change, and I can’t wait to see where I’ll be six months from now! Yes, I took a piece of cake last night, but it was my mom’s birthday, and I’m eating healthy food most of the time so it can’t hurt much – and it was delicious anyway! I’m so looking forward to losing the next five pounds!”

That’s not what any of them is actually saying – these were the examples of automatic self-talk that we tend to give to ourselves, unconsciously.

Our self-talk reflects how we feel about ourselves and the things that we’re doing. From this example, you can clearly see which of the girls will make it in achieving her goals. Hint: not the one who gets easily discouraged and defeated.

Now get this: we can consciously modify our automatic self-talk! The first thing you need to do is to listen to yourself and see if your subconscious is a little devil that keeps saying:

You’re hopeless!” – keeping a 48 hour diary of your thoughts and feelings is a good way to start.

Then, for every negative thought that you have written down – write down a positive version of it. For example:

I couldn’t make myself to go to the gym, feeling like such a loser.”

Can be re-shaped as:

I didn’t go to the gym, so I’ll make the most out of this evening, but I’m still looking forward to going tomorrow, I’ll try some new exercises.”

Turn it into something encouraging, stimulating. Never let the feelings of guilt, disappointment and despair take over – don’t give them the chance to take roots, plant some positive thoughts instead.

And that’s it for today! Tomorrow we’ll have a talk about strengthening the willpower. Now go enjoy your day, and remember: you CAN and YOU WILL!