Losing weight is as much about mindset, changing behaviors and staying motivated, as the actual diet and exercise portion. Here are a few tips to help keep the motivation rolling pound after pound and the motivation to change your lifestyle behaviors to keep the weight off for life:
1. Set realistic goals that are achievable
- Set your long term goal first but without a date. For example, lose twenty pounds.
- Set short term goals second. Get the calendar out and look at each week as an opportunity to lose two pounds
- Some weeks you might lose one, some weeks you might lose three and some you might not lose any. A realistic, attainable goal for most people is six pounds a month.
- Set dates. For example: by October 1, I will be at blank weight, by October 15, I will be at blank weight, etc.
- Think about life activities and events, such as vacations, weddings, etc., and take these into consideration when looking at the calendar and setting your short term goals.
- Each five to six pounds is a short term goal.
- Focus on hitting the particular short term goal that you are in rather than thinking ahead about long term goals. Think “It’s only five pounds. I can do this.”
- Reward yourself when you hit each goal with treats such as a massage, a pedicure, new pair of shoes, a round of golf, etc.
2. Go slow
- Work on one lifestyle change per week. It’s okay if it takes longer! For example: choosing iced green tea at Starbucks instead of cream/sugared coffee/latte.
- Work on the most significant first: such as eliminating or limiting alcohol, soda, diet soda, white/enriched foods or sugar and baked goods.
3. Expect setbacks
- Learn from setbacks.
- Take note of how they made you feel. For example: how did it feel to eat half a cake? Too full, sick, awful, low energy/lethargic. The next time you are in a situation where cake is presented, remember how you felt last time you ate too much cake and choose to not do it again.
- Life isn’t perfect so don’t expect your weight loss journey to be.
- See challenges as setbacks not failures.
4. Find support
- Join a support group or find a family member and/or friend to confide in.
5. Be patient
- The biggest diet motivation breaker is not losing the amount of weight you think you should in the time you want.
- Plateaus are going to happen so expect it. There may be weeks of no weight loss.
- If two to three weeks go by with no weight loss, shake things up a bit. Add ten to fifteen minutes of cardio; if you’ve been consuming a lot of carbs, cut back; if you’ve been short on veggies, get more in; add fat; take away calories; add protein; meet your water needs.
Keep these tips in mind and they will keep you rolling from short term goal to short term goal, all the way to your long term goal!
Visit GATC’s Nutrition Services webpage to read about our programs and services.
Kristin Burgess, GATC R.D.