Weight loss is simple, right? If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight. So, if it’s so simple, why are 60 million Americans seriously struggling to win the battle with their weight? The answer is motivation. Implementing a diet is hard and it’s common to falter if you don’t have tactics to bolster your motivation.
What Doesn’t Work
Before you start a diet, it’s important to know which motivation tactics have been proven to fail, so you don’t rely on those to get you through the tough times. Essentially, research suggests that any negative motivation will set you up for failure. The reason why is simple. Most of us are not eating excessively because we are always that hungry. Many overweight individuals use food to provide comfort when they feel bad. So it stands to reason that motivation tactics that make you feel bad will only propagate the problem. Some of these tactics include
- Posting unflattering pictures of yourself, ANYWHERE
- Setting up forms of punishments if you slip up or fail to meet your goals
- Imagining how awful it will be at a future event, like a high school reunion or wedding, if you fail to lose the weight
It may sound a little, touchy feely, like sitting around a fire singing Kumbaya. But research supports the idea that if you focus on the positive, you are substantially more likely to achieve your goals.
So, you want to lose weight, and that is great. However, you will need to set a goal that is more than just a number on a scale. Imagine what it will mean for you to be at your goal weight. Will you be able to wear stylish clothes? Will you be able to approach women more confidently? Would being a smaller size mean that you were able to do something you always dreamed of like hiking with your kids or getting lost, with your husband, in Rome? Whatever it is that you feel like you are missing out on, is what you need to vividly imagine when you define your goals. Then, create rewards related to your goals, like planning a trip or buying yourself a stylish, new blouse.
It’s All About Your Network
Nothing can sap your motivation faster than friends or family that don’t support you. So get new ones. Not that you need to cut off your old friends, but actively seek out people who have similar goals, or live a lifestyle that you would like to emulate. If you already have skinny, active friends, call them up to do something active like a bike tour of downtown or a hike among the fall foliage. If you aren’t friends with anyone like that, join a gym. Group classes are a great way to make friends who are focused on fitness. If the gym isn’t really your thing, join Weight Watchers or a local support group.