How to stay motivated to lose weight
You’re likely here because you’re currently on the struggle bus. Maybe you were crushing your weight loss goals and are now feeling “blah”. Maybe you’re someone who starts strong for a week and then pitters out. Or maybe you’re just starting to feel the motivation dip and want to get ahead of it. Either way you turned to your old pal google to help kick start your motivation which led you here.
Hi I'm Brooks and I'm an online personal trainer & nutrition coach who has helped hundreds of clients push past this little motivation plateau and continue on their weight loss journey until they successfully hit their goals. And now...I want to help you too.
Let’s get 1 thing out of the way first. Motivation is an emotion. And just like you won’t be happy or sad 100% of the time, you can’t expect to be motivated 100% of the time either. Your motivation WILL drop at some point(and multiple points) during your weight loss journey. If this happens don’t be frustrated. You’re not failing, you’re not the worst. You’re human & experiencing a normal thing.
When this happens I want you to continue taking action even when you don’t feel like it. The motivation won’t be there most of the time. It’s what you do when you’re NOT motivated that matters. If you keep taking action even when you don’t feel like it you will see results. Taking action even when you’re having trouble staying motivated to lose weight will also help you build habits. And the more healthy habits you have, the easier your weight loss will be.
So how exactly do you stay motivated to lose weight and continue taking action? Let’s break it down.
Make sure you choose a sustainable fat loss method
Look…I’m not going to pretend you’ll be able to stay motivated to lose weight if you’re cutting out carbs, all sugar, or anything you really enjoy. It’s just not possible. At some point you will want those foods again, you will eat them, you will feel guilty about it, and you will be right back to where you started. That’s a vicious cycle you don’t want to be a part of.
Instead, pick a sustainable method of fat loss right out of the gates. If you have no idea what that is, I walk you through what that looks like here.
Most importantly is to think about future you. Not 30 days out, but a year-6 years down the road. Do you realistically think you could still be eating in the way that you are right now while trying to lose weight? Could you really go SIX whole years without carbs? If not…time to pick a different method of weight loss.
And before you say “well once I lose the weight I won’t have to diet”, no. If you don’t learn how to incorporate carbs, sugar, wine, X food or drink while you’re losing fat you won’t know how to incorporate them in maintenance either. As a result you won’t be able to maintain the progress you made and you’ll be right back to where you started. Another vicious cycle you don’t want to be a part of.
Do the hard work up front and don’t try to find a quick fix.
Now that you’ve got a sustainable method we can move on to how to actually stay motivated to lose weight.
Find a why that isn’t just “having abs”
Many of you probably started your weight loss journey with a goal to lose X amount of pounds, have abs, or maybe hit X weight on the scale. I get it, aesthetic goals are typically what gets you started! But aesthetic goals won’t keep you going. Whoever said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels was seriously lying. Be honest. In the moment you would MUCH rather have the cake than have the abs and at some point abs and/or the scale just won’t be motivating anymore.
Instead, you need a bigger why. Something that isn’t just about your appearance.
-Are you working on your health so that you have more energy and will finally stop feeling like sh*t?
-Do you want to be able to play with your kids without getting winded?
-Maybe you want to be able to still hike/bike/go on long walks/play tennis when you’re 85 years old?
-Or maybe you just want to be pain free and set a good example for those around you well into old age.
Whatever it is, it needs to be bigger than just “being 135lbs” or “having abs”. When you’ve had a really busy day at work and the last thing you want to do is go to the gym, the promise of abs won’t get you there. But wanting to wipe your own butt when you’re 90 years old might…
So think about it right now. What’s going to keep you going and hitting your goals even when the appeal of abs starts to wear off?
Once you’ve got your big Why, then you need to….
Get a support system
It’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to stay motivated to lose weight if you are in it alone. If you know that no one is watching you(or rooting for you!) how likely are you really to show up and order the salad instead of the pizza for takeout when you’re starving at lunch? Probably not super likely.
Instead you need to find people to hold you accountable.
In an ideal world everyone in our lives would have the same goals as us and be working towards the same things. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. And because it’s not the case we can’t always rely on those closest to us to be our support system.
If you’re someone who’s lucky enough to have a super supportive partner, best friend, parent, family, etc who is in your corner and maybe even on this journey with you that is absolutely amazing. You’re going to have a much easier time staying motivated to lose weight.
If not though, you’re not alone and there are still many other avenues to find your support system. You do NOT have to go through this alone and try to hold yourself accountable. That’s frickin hard!
One way to stay motivated to lose weight is to hire a coach. Whether in person or online a coach should be your biggest supporter AND your biggest accountability partner. They’re going to be the one to share all of your wins with when your partner is sick of hearing about it, but also call you out on your BS when you’re finding an excuse for everything. A coach's job is to get you over the finish line. We won’t do the work for you but we will make sure you have all of the tools and support to get it done even when you don’t feel like it.
If a 1:1 coach isn’t in your budget, find an online community or a local group that can still stand by your side when the going gets rough. When you’re trying to stay motivated to lose weight it’s extremely important to surround yourself with people who have similar goals to you. An online or in person community is going to keep you accountable even when you really don’t want to put in the work. Whether it’s a weekly check-in on a FB group or a 3x a week workout class you all do together, knowing people are expecting you to show up and will notice if you don’t will get you to continue taking action even when you don’t feel like it.
Create small goals along the way
To stay motivated while you’re losing weight it’s important to feel like you’re making progress and being successful along the way. Rather than just having one giant goal to reach at the end, try setting mini goals along the way.
For example: If your ultimate goal is to lose 30lbs, you might want to set a mini action based goal that helps you get to that bigger goal like having a serving of vegetables everyday for a week.
If you hit that goal, you’re going to feel a little boost of motivation and confidence in yourself and you’ll be more likely to continue on. Then, you can create another mini goal to hit, feel another boost of self confidence and motivation when you hit it and so on and so forth. These wins & confidence in yourself will compound and suddenly, your big scary goal of losing 30lbs feels a lot more doable!
It can even help to create a reward system for smaller milestones along the way. Maybe every 10lbs or X amount of inches lost means a new workout set or pair of jeans.
Having milestones to reach along the way will keep you way more motivated to lose weight and you won't feel like you’re on a never ending weight loss journey. These milestones break your goal up into more manageable chunks. Pick things that you’d be excited about and would keep you going in those moments you’re feeling extra blah.
Mix in fun exercise
There are certain types of exercise that are certainly more optimal for weight loss like strength training. But, if you hate lifting weights you may not stick to your program for very long if that’s all you’re doing. While it’s important to still train optimally and in a way that’s going to help you hit your goals, it can help to also mix in exercise you just enjoy!
If you love going to Pilates make sure you’re still doing that a few times a week. If hiking every Saturday morning keeps you sane make sure that’s included in your program.
Keep the main thing and goal, the main thing but you have to include types of exercise you enjoy as well if you’re trying to stay motivated to lose weight.
Make sure you are taking breaks & enjoying yourself
Especially if you have a lot of weight to lose, it can be pretty demotivating to feel like you are about to buckle up for a never ending calorie deficit.
Instead, schedule maintenance breaks along the way. Increasing your calories for a week or 2 every 8-12 weeks can actually increase your long term adherence and give you the physical & mental break needed to continue on in a deficit. It can help to get these breaks scheduled in your calendar in advance too. That way you’re not getting to the “holy sh*t I’m going to be dieting forever, what’s the point this is too hard” phase. Week 7 of your deficit will feel a lot more manageable knowing a break is around the corner in Week 8.
Along these same lines it’s important to ENJOY yourself during the process of losing weight. You never want to be perfect with your deficit, you just want to be consistent. If you strive for perfection and are always saying no to dinners out, tracking calories on your birthday, not enjoying vacation, etc you’re going to be absolutely miserable and lose motivation quickly.
Rather than striving for 100% perfection I want you to shoot for 80% consistency in hitting your calories each month. That’s enough consistency to make some really great progress without feeling like you’re not able to have a few over calorie days on special occasions.
Similar to why we chose a sustainable fat loss method, shooting for consistency not perfection is equally important for staying motivated to lose weight.
I hope by this point you’re feeling a little bit better and feel like you have the tools to stay motivated to lose weight. If you’re struggling to find your accountability partner or community I want to help! Apply for 1:1 online coaching here so I can help you stay accountable even when your motivation starts to dip.