If you’ve set your goal to become fit and lose weight, you may have a ways to go. The road will likely difficult at time, but can also be fun as you strengthen your resolve as well as your muscles. The key is to approach your goals in the right way with the right mindset.
Here are 4 ways to stay motivated to achieve – and maintain – your goals:
- Once you lose weight and get fit, be prepared to maintain it.
Believe it or not, it’s easy to lose weight. People do it all the time!
And then, within five years, most people who have lost this weight have gained it all back and more.
There’s no reason for you to fall into that trap! The reason for this sudden reversal of fortune is not a mystery!
People gain weight because they eat too much. They’re not fit because they don’t exercise enough. (In other words, slender people are not any fitter than overweight people unless they work at it. They just have fast metabolisms! (Or don’t eat enough.))
To lose weight, you’ll cut down your calorie intake so that you are no longer over-eating, and then you cut it a little bit more so that you create a caloric imbalance which enables you to lose weight. To help create this caloric imbalance, many people exercise – ride a bike, go for a jog or fast walk, and so on.
Once they’ve achieved their weight loss goal, and have gotten fit at the same time, they make the mistake of increasing their caloric intake not only to the “maintain” level, but actually back to the overeating level that made them gain weight in the first place. And many of them give up their regular bike rides or jogs or walks, which only exacerbates the problem.
Look at weight loss and fitness as a lifelong journey not a destination and you’ll be able to maintain your goal.
- Use more than a scale to measure weight loss.
There’s no easier way to lose motivation than to step on a scale every single day and see that needle stay at the same weight that you were the day before – or worse, have it move a pound in the WRONG direction. Do this too often, and your motivation is going to dissipate. You’ll believe that you just can’t lose weight, when that’s not the case.
Muscle weighs more than fat, so believe it or not as you get fit and improve your muscle mass, you may gain a couple of pounds before you start to lose any. But this is okay because you’re losing fat – toned muscle looks better than saggy fat.
In addition, muscle tissue burns up calories faster than fat tissue does, so by becoming fit, you’ll actually be able to eat a bit more – a little bit more – when you do go off your diet and enter your maintenance phase – though of course you need to continue participating in the daily physical activity you enjoy – whether that’s walking, jogging, running, biking, or whatever it may be.
But how can you know if you’re losing weight if you don’t use a scale? Easy. Put some pieces of your wardrobe easy to hand – the dress or pair of jeans that you got into last month, but couldn’t get into this month. And the dress or pair of jeans that you were able to get into two months ago, but couldn’t get into last month!
(In other words, if you’ve gradually bought a wardrobe to fit your expanding waistline, you’ll want to try to get into these in reverse order.)
Once a week, try to get into that dress or pair of pants that didn’t fit before. And once you get into the pair from a month ago, keep on going until you can get into the pair from two months ago, and so on.
There’s no better motivator than to look at yourself in a mirror and see that you can fit into a dress, shirt or pair of jeans that you couldn’t get into just a month or so previous.
- Promise yourself rewards….of sports equipment or books!
One reason people overeat is because they have been fed “comfort food” all their lives. Or they’ve gotten into the habit of eating out of boredom – taking a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter on them into the living room to play a video game to relax after work, for example.
When kids are rewarded for doing something good – a good report card, being part of a winning sports team, they are typically rewarded with food, pizza or cake, and that deepens the belief that rewards should be food-based.
Get out of the habit of rewarding yourself with food and reward yourself with a new book, or new gear for your bike, or new running shoes.
- Know who you’re doing this for.
When you are fit – when your weight is proportionate to your height and you can walk up and down flights of stairs without breathing hard – you will feel great. You will feel confident.
You are getting fit because you want to feel good.
The compliments of your family, friends or acquaintances on your new appearance will make you feel good – but always bear in mind that you’re not getting fit for them. You’re getting fit for you.