How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight

Tips to Stick to Your Plan and Slim Down

Girl smiling after hard workout
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Do you have a hard time staying motivated to lose weight? Sometimes we start losing weight, but we don't finish. We ditch our diet and promise to start over at another time. Or we throw in the towel on our exercise efforts. Maybe it's from outside pressure and sometimes we aren't ready to lose weight. Whatever the cause, both men and women find this aspect of dieting especially hard. 

But you're not destined for failure.

Even if you've started and stopped countless times before, you can still make weight loss happen. By putting some important skills to use, you will find it a little easier to stay motivated, stick to your weight loss efforts and reach your goal weight.

5 Tips to Stay Motivated 

Tip number one: Reward yourself!
One of the best ways to stay motivated throughout your weight loss journey is to reward yourself without food. Men and women might have different rewards that they might enjoy. Guys might enjoy an afternoon of golf or fishing. Women might like a new book or a lazy Saturday of watching movies in bed. Or maybe you're a man who would prefer to read or a woman who likes to golf! Either way, discover what it is that makes you happy—without food—and set it up as a reward for reaching small goals along the way.

Tip number two: Track your portions and your progress
Whether you keep a spreadsheet on your computer or simply jot down your stats in a notebook, keeping an eye on your progress will keep you motivated.

You can track your weight, measurements, or body mass index (BMI). It is up to you. By looking back at how far you've come, you're less likely to revert to old habits.

Additionally, if you keep careful records, you will be able to catch slip-ups in your calorie counting or exercise habits that, left unchecked, could cause a major plateau or even worse, weight gain.

Careful record-keeping includes closely monitoring portion sizes. Eating the right amount of food is the most important key to long-term weight management. Eating the right portion sizes of healthy food and snacks can mean the difference between long-term weight loss success and eventual failure. Keeping a food diary is the best way to keep on top of what you're eating.

Tip number three: Overcome emotional eating
To achieve long-term weight loss success, you will have to deal with emotional eating habits by asking some important questions: Do you overeat when you're angry? Do you splurge on an extra serving of dessert when you're feeling frustrated or sad?

Being honest with yourself is the only way to get the true measure of your emotional eating triggers. Without facing them, you will always be less likely to be in control of your weight. Jot down notes in your weight loss journal about your feelings when you eat. Then take time to review the journal and look for patterns that you might be able to address and change.

Tip number four: Prepare for sabotage
There will always be people who encourage you to go off your diet "just this once." That's not really a problem until "this once" happens over and over again.

If every time you see someone you go off your diet, it may mean you need to distance yourself or have a serious talk with them about your weight loss efforts.

Peer pressure doesn't end when you get older. And it doesn't affect one gender or another. In fact, men tend to experience more pressure to eat "manly" sized portions or foods that are perceived to be more masculine, like an oversized steak or burger. But you can plan non-food activities with loved ones and work hard to resist temptation when you're in an environment where food is part of the festivities.

Tip number five: Get serious about your health
In an informal reader poll, 65 percent of my site's visitors said they were losing weight for the sake of appearances.

Only 35 percent said they were doing it for their health. To be honest, that surprised me quite a bit, considering the impact that weight loss can have on health and overall quality of life.

Appearances fade. Compliments about your weight loss will die down. Once you've been a certain size for a while, the thrill of trying on the clothes in your new wardrobe will start to dwindle. Shopping outside a plus size store will only be exciting only for so long. So, if you ask me, it's not all about looks.

When you need to stay motivated to stick to your new eating and exercise habits, Think about the health benefits of reaching your goal weight. By reaching and maintaining a healthier weight, you are more likely to live a longer life with fewer medical problems. Wearing a smaller size is just the icing on the cake. A happier, healthier life is the ultimate reward.

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