Whether you have in internal drive to lose weight to improve self-confidence or feel better, or you are encouraged to lose weight by your health care provider to improve your diabetes or hypertension, sustained motivation is a key factor for long-term success.
However, it’s not uncommon for motivation to wax and wane at different points during your weight loss journey.
If waning motivation is something you struggle with, here are some tips that have helped my patients and can help you too.
1-Evaluate Your ‘Why’ on a Deeper Level
I challenge anyone who is on a weight loss journey to think deeply about the health and functional benefits you will enjoy from better managing weight.
Though some people are in touch with why they want to lose weight, many aren’t.
I recommend you take some time to think deeply about why losing weight is so important to you and make a list of what you may look forward to experiencing, such as:
- Feeling better
- Looking better and having more confidence
- Being more energetic
- Needing less blood pressure medications
- Avoiding diabetes
- Experiencing less joint pain
- Being able to wear more stylish clothes
- Climbing stairs without shortness of breath
- Keeping up with children or grandchildren
- Sleeping better
- Feeling more comfortable with intimacy
You can keep this list with you or on your smart phone so you can refer to it when the going gets tough.
2-Focus on Progress, not Perfection
When it comes to trying to lose weight, it’s clear that perfection doesn’t work and can even set you up to fail.
That’s because it can be quite de-motivating to think you have to be perfect all the time.
As an alternative, I encourage patients to follow the 80/20 rule where if 80% of the time you are eating healthfully and staying active, you can leave the rest of the time for life balance and not being perfect.
This new mindset can be quite freeing and help you realize weight loss success long term.
3-Celebrate Health Wins Along the Way
As you lose weight, it’s also helpful to pay attention to and appreciate all the health wins you experience along the way.
When I see patients for return visits, I make it a point to encourage them to discuss their health wins, such as:
- Feeling more comfortable socializing
- Being able to get on the floor and play with a grandchild
- Being less winded and having less knee pain when climbing the stairs
- Being able to walk your dog longer
- Having more endurance for touring during vacations
- Seeing an improved blood sugar level
- Feeling more energetic overall
- Enjoying engaging in a new activity like pickleball or dance
I get so much pleasure from hearing when patients are truly able to enjoy their newfound healthier lifestyle.
Even if the scale is not budging as fast as they would like, celebrating health wins helps them stay motivated and focused.
Remember that a successful weight management program is not something you start and stop; it’s really a lifelong endeavor with many lifelong benefits!
Robert Kushner, MD