How many times have you asked yourself, “How come I can’t lose weight?” Maybe you’ve tried countless times to shed the pounds with little success. Or perhaps you succeeded, but then something in your live changed and you put the weight back on.
Losing weight is hard to do, and it doesn’t come easy for the majority of us. When you talk to people who have mastered the impossible by losing weight and keeping it off, it’s interesting to see what that magic piece to the puzzle was. It’s not the workout or the diet regimen; it’s not the trainer or the workout facility. Instead, it’s the underlying motivation for losing the weight and keeping it off.
Make Your Weight Loss Goals Personal
When we want to lose weight, what are some of the most common reasons why we start a weight loss program? To look better. To feel better. To have more energy. To have improved health. These are the top reasons for why people want to drop the pounds, but if you don’t truly believe them, you won’t have much success in losing weight. What you have to do is define your goals so that they have personal meaning to you.
For example, instead of saying that you want to have more energy, think about why having more energy is important to you. If more energy means being able to play basketball with your teenage son or run around at the park with your preschool-aged daughter, then this special bonding with your child will be a much more powerful motivator than just having more energy.
A Closer Look at Why People Want to Lose Weight
Below are some of the most common reasons for why losing weight is important to most people. Consider which ones fit into your lifestyle, and make them real for you. When you know that these benefits will have a direct impact on the quality of your lifestyle, you’ll have more meaningful goals to work toward.
– Improved health. Lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and other weight-related diseases.
– Longer lifespan. More time to spend with the ones you love. More reasons to enjoy retirement and travel and fulfill other hobbies.
– Better quality of life. Fewer trips to the doctor. Lower medical bills. More time to do the things you love.
– More energy to play with your kids or grandkids. More energy on the job. More energy for hobbies and activities.
– Increased confidence. Feeling better about yourself and your appearance.
– Boosted immunity. Added resilience to common colds, flues and viruses thanks to better health, less fatigue and healthy eating habits.
– Improved wellbeing. Better sleep habits. Well-rounded food palate. Happier disposition and regular exercise.
What Does Healthy Mean to You?
Not only should you define your weight loss goals, but also you should consider exactly what being healthy means to you. You can’t just take someone else’s goals and make them your own. You also can’t expect that you will have the same attitude toward your weight loss regimen as the next person. Some people believe in working out for 30 minutes every day at the gym and eating a strict, low-calorie diet plan. For you, however, being healthy may start with 20 minute walks several times a week and cutting out poor habits such as drinking soda and eating fast food.
When you consider what being healthy means to you, you can better devise a weight loss plan that fits your lifestyle and sets you up for success. For example, if you put it in your head that you must lose weight to meet a certain number, you’ll end up feeling defeated if you don’t meet the goal. But if you focus on feeling better about yourself, you’ll have the continued motivation you need to keep working harder. Remember that being healthy means different things to different people, so clarify what healthy means to you and start working your way up the ladder.
The Drawbacks to Not Having True Motivation
With all of this information in mind, what is the danger in not having true motivation behind your weight loss goals?
The main outcome is discouragement. Like other areas in your life, you must be trying to lose weight for the right reasons. Many of us fall into the routine of wanting to lose weight to look better, feel better and have more energy. But if we don’t gain these things right off the bat, we can easily become discouraged and fall off the wagon. That’s why when you have true meaning to your goals – looking better for your wedding, feeling better so that you can chase around your kids, having more energy so you can travel after retirement – you’ll work toward these goals instead of an idea of what you should look like.
Many of us focus on the numbers when trying to lose weight, which makes perfect sense. We want to measure our progress, and the best way to do this is by watching the scale. Unfortunately, this is where much of our discouragement comes from as well. Losing weight isn’t an exact science, so even if you exercise and eat right, that doesn’t mean the weight will automatically come off. This is where people get upset and decide that they would rather keep living their life doing what they want.
If you have your goals clearly defined, however, you won’t feel this type of defeat. Even if the numbers don’t match up to what you thought they would, you can confidently say, “I have more energy to play at the park with my kids and bond with them over a game of soccer.” This drive is far more important than what is on the scale, and it will keep you working toward your weight loss goals, eventually losing the weight that you’ve wanted to.
Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle…Because You Want To
Also, you must change your frame of mind. Don’t look at dieting or exercise as your enemies. It can be hard to leave behind old eating habits, especially if you’ve had them for decades. Instead of saying, “I can’t have that piece of pie,” say, “I don’t want that piece of pie.” You must train yourself to want to eat well, as this will get you so much farther in the weight loss game than it will if you think that you have to constantly starve or deprive yourself. Over time, you’ll see that you will feel better when you reach for the right choices. But in the meantime, look at healthy food choices as the golden tickets to your true motivational goals.
How to Focus on the Real Reasons for Losing Weight
This may sound to be good information, but how exactly do you keep your goals in check? Just because you have your true motivations laid out for you doesn’t meant that you’ll stick to your weight loss regimen. No matter what the underlying reasons are for losing weight, it will take a lot of work and dedication on your part. Through thick and thin, keep your motivations in check so they can be the light at the end of your tunnel. Here’s how to make that happen.
Set Yourself Up for Success by Starting Small
Too often, we make a broad goal for ourselves, and when we don’t meet this goal, we give up. Instead of coming up with something general like, “I want to lose 10 pounds in one month,” give yourself a goal that you know you can succeed at. Start small and make sure the goal accommodates your lifestyle. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle for example, getting out of the house and walking for ten minutes each day for one month is much more achievable than losing 10 pounds in one month. Remember, you can always build on your regimen, so don’t be afraid to start small.
Don’t Focus on the Numbers
It’s so easy for a weight loss plan to become a numbers game. In fact, many people become obsessed with the scale during this time, and they often become fast enemies with this weight loss tracker. While your overall goal is obviously to shed excess pounds, know that your weight will come off over time. How much weight and how quickly it comes off is different for everyone, which is why you shouldn’t place all of your energy on what the numbers say. As you work toward your motivational goals, know that the weight WILL come off eventually.
Consider What You’re Gaining
Another way to stay true to your motivational weight loss goals is to think of all the ways that you’re gaining in the meantime – not in pounds of course. If you focus on the numbers only, you’ll miss all the wonderful changes you’ve already made to your lifestyle. If you weren’t walking before and now you are, that’s already a big transformation. Even though you may not see it, you’re lowering your risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. You’re incorporating physical exercise into your schedule, and you’re setting a good example for your family. You may even be less stressed because of the relaxation you get while walking.
To help you keep sight of these accomplishments, keep a weight loss diary that tracks your progress each day and records how you feel. When you feel like you’re in a rut, you can look back at your diary and see how far you’ve come.
Think of the Future
Finally, focus on the future and your overall health. Making changes today will have a dramatic impact on your future, and the outcome will be nothing but positive. You’ll have a better quality of life. You’ll be healthier, visit the doctor less often and undergo fewer tests than if you were overweight. That means more time and money to do the things you love.
You can also do more in your older years when you keep healthy, whether that be traveling, babysitting or starting a new hobby. So many of us wait until retirement or beyond to finally spend time doing the things we love, but we’re often too tired or in poor health to enjoy this time to its fullest potential. Always focus on that end prize and what you really hope to achieve from losing weight, not just in one month or one year, but forever.
So What Does All This Mean?
As you sit down to assess your weight loss goals and devise a weight loss plan, ask yourself, “What are my real reasons for losing weight?” Armed with the right information, you now know that the answer to this question is complex. It’s up to you to think about what’s really important to you and why. When your weight loss goals are personal to you and impact the ones you love, you’ll have so much more to work toward than just a number or a vision of what you hope to look like.
It is this attitude that has found to be most advantageous in the battle for losing weight, and those who have been successful at their weight loss goals have very specific reasons for why they want to keep weight off. When these motivational goals are personal, you can expect that they will continue on for the long term.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight to impress a boyfriend or girlfriend, what happens when you are no longer together? Will you still continue to practice your weight loss regimen? Probably not. But if you want to lose weight to give you more energy for your children, this motivation will last forever because your family will always be in your life. As you embark on the journey to losing weight, make sure you take the time to establish the true reasons for why losing weight is important to you.