05 Jan 6 Tips for Staying Sane and Motivated During Weight Loss
Excessive body weight is a serious issue affecting millions and millions of people from all around the world. For a good deal of people, it’s only a matter of not feeling comfortable with the way they look and not being able to perform even some simpler physical tasks without breaking a serious sweat and tiring out very quickly. This is the part of the population that is still within the healthy fat percentage range, but is out of shape. However, a very large chunk of the population has gone beyond just being slightly overweight – about one third of US adults have come to a point where their health is at serious risk due to obesity.
It’s not a simple problem to fix, as many use eating as a coping mechanism, and even those that just have a voracious appetite and don’t exercise will have a really tough time making the necessary lifestyle changes and sticking to them. This is why you need a good game plan when going into a weight loss program, but very few people actually address the very important psychological side of things. Let’s look at some tips that will help you keep your cool and stay motivated while losing weight.
1. Start right now and understand that you will have to change some aspects of your life forever
The worst mistake people make when deciding to devote time and effort to losing weight is setting a nice round date for the beginning of their journey. It’s either the beginning of the month or next Monday. This gives you an excuse to mourn your former lifestyle and gorge on food before that day comes, and you think you’ll just have to weather out the storm for a few months and get back to eating what you want once you are fit. Well, that’s not how it works. You need to make a commitment this very moment and come to realize that you will have to change your lifestyle and even your character to a certain extent forever. Letting go of your old self is not easy, but it will come gradually as you get used to a healthier lifestyle. Don’t get caught up in thinking that eating cheeseburgers or being a laid back person who spends most of their time in front of the TV is what defines you as a person – you will initially revolt against change, but it will still be you at the end of the journey, just a healthier, more mature and confident version.
2. Make big basic changes first and don’t sweat the small things
To be able to make the right changes, you need to stop looking down on yourself and adopt a strong and confident mentality. Accept your body for what it is and feel comfortable in it and about who you are, but constantly strive to improve on both physical and mental field. Start reading more books and learn about health and fitness, body language, controlling the fear of failure and rejection, facing insecurities, effective time management and ways of bettering yourself through learning new skills. Weight loss is just as much about the psychological as it is about the physical. You need to learn to be more confident and push yourself outside your comfort zone, while at the same time learning the important basics of dieting and exercise for losing weight and maintaining a strong and healthy body. Make the biggest changes first – cut out as much junk food as you can, switch to diet soda and simple black coffee, avoid using sweet snacks as a treat for doing good, start sleeping a full eight hours a night, start exercising several times a week, learn how many calories you need to consume and stack up on healthy foods – and don’t worry if you eat a candy bar every now and then or don’t push 100% on every single workout. As long as you are getting the basics down right, you will see steady results.
3. Make healthy dieting simple
Here’s a very simple tip – find out which healthy foods your body needs (lean meat, eggs, fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds, whole grains, rice, tons of varied vegetables and fruits, some dairy) and buy a huge amount of them in a bulk, making sure you stuff every nook and cranny of your home with just healthy meal options. Throw out all the junk food and sweets so you don’t get tempted. You’ll still need to watch your portions, but you won’t be able to eat unhealthy junk if the only thing you have in your home are nutritious and healthy foods. Put some of it in a plastic container and you can keep 1-2 meals and some fruit and nuts for snacks in your bag when you go to work or run errands around town.
4. Don’t over think your training – start with a good beginner program and stay consistent
When starting out, you don’t have the knowledge or the experience to throw together your own training routine, nor can you effectively auto regulate based on how your body feels. Go find a basic beginner workout program for building muscles – either a gym-based or bodyweight program you can do at home – follow it by the letter for the first 2 years and throw in 10-20 minutes of cardio every day or at least 2-3 times a week, and you’re done. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is not to miss any scheduled training session and to keep at it from week to week.
5. Use role models and specific life goals for a dose of positive motivation each day
You don’t have to make a little shrine with your biggest idol, but you can have some pictures around your bathroom mirror or some images pinned on a board in your room to give you a boost of motivation every single morning when you get up and before you go to bed at night. It can be a sexy actor/actress, comic book superheroes (I personally use Hugh Jackman’s wolverine as a source of inspiration) or a famous athlete – someone whose character you want to channel and whose physique you want to achieve or even surpass. If you feel yourself getting weak or lazy, just imagine you were your idol and adopt a confident and arrogant personality right on the spot, so you can psyche yourself up and get things done.
6. Understand that slow and steady improvement over a longer period of time will yield the best results
There will be times when your weight stagnates for a week or two – it’s because you will be building some muscle while losing fat, you might be retaining water and a whole mess of other things – but that doesn’t mean you are not burning fat and progressing. It’s important to use a tape measure in combination with a scale and to keep track of how you look in the mirror. Taking pictures every week is also a good way to gauge progress and you can also go by what people who know you and haven’t seen you for a while tell you – you might not notice some changes or perceive them as insignificant when they are actually big positive changes. This is why you should keep calm and try to focus on long-term goals. Keep grinding, keep doing most things right, don’t let yourself get sidetracked too much and you will be constantly improving, even if it is at a slower pace. A slower pace is more manageable anyways, but you have to make minor changes and evolve constantly.
Some parting words of encouragement
I understand that weight loss is a long and difficult journey, but you can use these tips to stay on top of your psychological game. Think of it this way – in 1-2 years, you will be down to a healthy and fairly lean body fat percentage, with a shapely and strong body you can be proud of, but in 5-6 years. you will still be at it and look better than 90% of the people around you, and in 15-17 years you will be the person that looks 10 years younger. Some 40 years from now, you will be a healthy individual still enjoying life and having fun. This is what being in it for the long run looks like, and it will help you stay motivated.