Relocating for Weight Loss: Is Moving Your Motivating Factor?

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Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. People who are overweight or obese may also suffer from sleep apnea, pain related to excess weight, and fatigue. There's also all of the mental stress that accompanies obesity—the struggle to fit in or the shame some people feel from not being able to get control of their eating. Knowing all this, why is it so difficult to find the motivation to lose weight?

Where is the motivation?

Sometimes, the problem is a person's surroundings. Some people just cannot find the motivation to lose weight in their own environment. They continue to face the same temptations every day and cannot seem to break bad habits. For these people, a complete change of lifestyle may be necessary to get motivated. A new location can be a new beginning, an opportunity to make lasting lifestyle changes, a chance to permanently lose weight.

Relocating for Weight Loss

Many people who are overweight or obese are taking a leap of faith and relocating to other areas of the country to help them lose weight. They are checking into weight loss retreats or fitness centers, losing weight, then staying in the areas where they were successful. Most of these areas promote health so it makes it easier for them to maintain healthy habits and they are able to identify with their new self.

Although not for everyone, relocating has proven effective for a variety of reasons. Developing relationships with people in communities that promote health can help you to maintain healthy habits. Avoiding old temptations—people, restaurants, and sedentary work, for example—can help to maintain weight loss.

Overeating, one of the main factors that contributes to obesity, has often been referred to as an addictionHaving support and removing temptation are two of the the most important factors in treating addiction. Remember, that doesn't mean that you don't have to do the work, though. People must continue to work at eating and moving daily. Losing weight is hard work, but keeping it off is even harder.

The National Weight Control Registry tracks those people that have lost a significant amount of weight for long periods of time and has found that in order to keep weight off, people must engage in certain behaviors. These include things such as high levels of physical activity ( about one hour daily), eating a low-calorie/low-fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight, and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.

What If I Don't Want to Move?

The thought of moving to lose weight may seem outrageous to many of you, but for some it works. For those of you not looking to move, the key to losing weight and keeping it off is to find a motivating factor that will help you get started and more importantly keep the fire going to keep the weight off.

Some other strategies for helping keep weight off, include:

  • Having the support of family and friends: Everyone needs a cheerleader—someone who is on their side to encourage them and help them to make good choices. It's difficult to watch your weight when your partner is eating ice cream in front of you while you are snacking on carrot sticks. Having support from family and friends will keep you motivated and on track. 
  • Enrolling in a weight loss program or exercise program: Accountability is an important component in losing weight and keeping it off. If you enroll in a program, you are more likely to show up and stay engaged. You'll also be surrounded by people who are in a similar situation— you can bounce ideas off one another and support each other. 
  • Using tracking tools: Having data is an important component to weight loss and preventing weight regain because it provides information that can help you to change behaviors and track trends. Data can also increase motivation and help you to challenge yourself. For example, if you are walking 8,000 steps per day but want to walk 10,000 steps, using a tracking tool can help to provide information so that you can reach your goals. Using tracking tools also keeps you accountable for what you are eating and provides a sense of self awareness. When you are used to using these tools you can even delve deeper and understand how your emotions affect your eating; this information can help you to change behaviors. 


Ellin, A. For some, weight loss means the start of a whole new life. New York Times. Accessed on-line. May 2, 2016: 

Wing, R. & Phelan, S. Long term weight loss maintenace. Am J Clin Nut July 2005 vol. 82 no. 1 222S-225S. Accessed on-line. May 2, 2016:

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