How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight, 5 Easy Steps

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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I remember surveying my clients as well as other people looking to lose weight on what their biggest struggle was when it came to weight loss.

For most of them, it was that they didn’t know what to eat or how much to eat, however, a lot of them mentioned how they just couldn’t stay motivated to lose weight.

Staying motivated can be very difficult, we all have problems and things dragging us down, things that can surely affect our motivation.

That’s why it’s important to figure out how to manage your motivation.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight, 5 Easy Steps

1. Find an Activity You Love

You’ve probably heard how some people were able to lose weight on the keto diet while others may say it’s the worst thing ever. Why is that?

It’s because we are all different, we all have different likes and dislikes, and in order to achieve long-term success, you have to find a plan and activity that fits YOU.

Can you imagine waking up every day to do something you don’t like?

So think about some activities you may be interested in and try them out! Here are some of the few I can think about:

  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Pilates
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Boxing
  • Martial arts or self-defense classes
  • Weight Lifting
  • CrossFit

2. Get off the Phone, Computer, and TV

Have you ever felt tired after binging on Netflix? Like, you didn’t do anything other than to sit on your couch, but somehow you are tired.

Here’s what happens:

Your brain can get tired, and it can only handle so much stimulation during the day.

Things like being on the computer or watching TV cause a quick overload of stimulation, due to this, the mind feels tired and you feel unmotivated to do anything else.

This is one of the different habits that can prevent you from losing weight.

So consider spending less time doing these things and try to replace them with some more beneficial and active activities like hanging out with friends, cleaning your apartment, working out, or going for a walk.

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3. Know What You’re Doing

One reason we tend to “fall off the wagon” it’s because we don’t believe in what we are doing, we aren’t sure if it’s going to get us where we want so we are afraid to go all in and put lots of effort into it.

Same happens with our relationships, sometimes we are not sure about someone and don’t want to open up too much because we are afraid it won’t work.

This causes us to not give our best to that person and second-guessing everything.

So make sure to find a plan that fits YOU and your lifestyle (I know, I know… I sound like a broken record).

When you “kinda” try something, you “kinda” get results.

4. Be Careful with the Scale and the Mirror

The scale and the mirror are just tools to measure progress. Many people focus too much on their daily weight and don’t look at the bigger picture.

Infographic of how your weight can fluctuate every day.

The issue is that many things, such as water retention due to stress, hormones, or sodium; meal timing; and inflammation can affect your weight.

It’s completely normal to gain a few pounds overnight.

For example, you can weigh 140 lb, wake up at 142 lb the next morning, and then drop down to 139 lb the following day. That’s why you should focus on your weekly average instead of daily fluctuations.

The same goes for looking at yourself in the mirror; it is tough for you to see changes when you are used to seeing yourself every day.

That’s why I also encourage people to take weekly progress photos and compare them so they can see how much they’re changing.

Let’s look at it this way…

Do you remember when you started gaining weight? Did you see a slight amount of weight gain day after day?

Probably not, right?

However, one day you looked at yourself and realized you were 20 pounds heavier. That’s because we tend to not notice the small changes in the mirror when we see ourselves every day.

The same happens when you try to lose weight.  You don’t see the small changes and feel like you aren’t making any progress, get depressed, eat crappy foods, and give up.

The Scale and Mirror Don’t Tell The Whole Story

Another thing I want to add is that you might be losing inches without losing weight. One reason for this could be that you’re building muscle while losing fat.

The contrary is also true, you could also be losing weight without losing inches. One reason for this could be bloating.

So try to do the following to keep track of your progress:

  • Take weekly progress photos
  • Weigh yourself every day and compare the weekly averages
  • Take measurements of your waist, hips, arms, and thighs

5. Be Flexible with Your Nutrition

Eating the same meals over and over again isn’t motivating at all.

In fact, studies (1) have shown that restrictive diets put you at higher risk of binging on the food you’re trying to avoid.

Not only that, but you also begin to create an unhealthy relationship with food by labeling them as “good” or “bad.”

You start missing out on social events as well, which negatively impact your psychological well-being.

That’s why it’s important that you learn the basics of nutrition, what to eat, when to eat, and how to build your own meal plans in order to take control of your health.

Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.


Weight Loss Motivation Mistakes

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight.

1. Not Having a Strong “Why”

Most people quit because their why isn’t strong enough.

Take a few minutes, or hours, to think about the reasons behind your desire to lose weight.

Here are a few things to help you get started:

  • you want to set an example of a healthy life for the sake of your kids
  • your health (be specific about what you need to change about your health, is it diabetes? high-blood pressure? something else?)
  • you want to be there for your kids when they get older
  • you want to feel more attractive (because of your own standards, not other people’s)

My advice would be for you to write it down in a piece of paper and hang it somewhere you can see it every morning, and repeat it out loud.

Focus on creating an emotional connection with your “why.” You’ll be amazed how this “little” trick can change your thinking and keep you motivated.

Here are another 19 weird tricks for weight loss that actually work.

2. Depending on Willpower

Let’s define willpower as the ability to resist short-term temptations to meet long-term goals.

The problem with willpower is that it can be weakened.

Every day, in one way or another, you exert willpower. Whether it is by not going on Instagram and finishing that important report for work instead, or eating your healthy homemade meal instead of a burger.

Constantly resisting temptations takes a mental toll, it’s like a muscle that can get fatigued from overtraining.

That’s why starting diets that restrict you from eating foods you like tend to fail in the long-term, sure… You’ll be able to resist that temptations the first few weeks, maybe months, but you’ll eventually cave in.

It’s crucial that you find a diet that you see yourself doing for the rest of your life, a plan that fits YOU and your lifestyle, metabolism, likes, and dislikes.

That’s why I encourage people to learn the basics of nutrition.

This way, they can build their own meal plans with the foods they like and learn how to incorporate flexibility so that they can enjoy the occasional dinner out with family and friends.

3. Not Getting Your Daily Dose of Motivation

Think about the times you’ve felt super motivated to do something? What caused that initial impulse?

Maybe it was after seeing a friend make a huge accomplishment, hearing a success story, or reading a quote that just made you want to change.

If you’ve ever felt motivated, I’m pretty sure you’ve also felt that motivation fleeting a few days later… That’s because motivation is not a one-time thing.

Motivation is something that needs to be recharged every day and it’s very easy to do!

A few ways of getting your daily dose of motivation:

  1. Surround yourself with people with the same mindset and goals.
  2. Watch inspirational videos on YouTube.
  3. Listen to an inspirational podcast or motivational speeches on your way to work.
  4. Hang a motivational quote on the wall in front of your bed so that it is the first thing you see in the morning.

Do these things and feed your mind with positivity every single day, you’ll be amazed at how much it will improve your life and mindset!

4. Not Having Someone to Keep You Accountable or a Support Group

Support Group Image Weight Loss

Having a support group or an accountability partner gives you extra encouragement and motivation to keep eating healthy and get your workouts in.

This is something most people underestimate and don’t even take into consideration, especially those of us who are a little more introverted or reserved.

However, it feels good to be understood and be able to share with someone who is going through your same journey and struggles.

Here are a few ways you can try get support:

  • Find a friend or family member who is going through the same journey.

Be open about your goals and what you want to accomplish. Text them or call them when you feel like giving up or a little down, they will have your back and remind you how awesome you really are.

  • Find a group activity

Most gyms offer some sort of group classes like yoga or Zumba where you can connect with people who have the same interests as you.

That’s one of the reasons CrossFit has become so popular, the unity and support you receive from them is pretty cool.

  • Get Support Online

Another way of getting support is to find an online community group.

5. Not Connecting With the Future You

This is a little related to finding you “why.”

Picture yourself having achieved your goal, how is it going to make you feel?

Are you going to feel, confident, achieved, free? Whatever it is, let it take control over you, let the emotion of the future reward fill you with happiness.

Picture your future self coming to talk to you and thanking you for all the work you put in today, take his/her word for it.

Let him/her tell you how awesome and worth it the journey will be.

6. Not Setting Smaller Goals That Help You Achieve Your Bigger Goals

Image of a small arrow on a small target - 7 Fantastic Ways to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight

A big mistake many people make is to focus on the bigger goal and get discouraged and overwhelmed just thinking about it.

This happens very often with entrepreneurs as well, they see all these other people with big companies and get discouraged by the time it will take to achieve something similar.

Instead, focus on making small goals that will help you achieve your bigger goal.

For example, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds and be healthy, your smaller goals could be:

  • getting 5 workouts this week
  • eating 1 serving of green vegetables at each meal
  • waking up at 5:00 am and listen to a motivational speech

See how less intimidating that looks compared to the bigger goal of losing 50 pounds?

7. Not Planning for the Unexpected

Truth is, things won’t always go as planned, but we cannot let that discourage us from persevering.

Make peace with the fact that you won’t be able to go 100% every day. Some days you might feel low, and that’s okay.

A few days that you fall off track won’t ruin your progress, so get back on track as soon as you feel better.

In fact, an “all or nothing” mentality could be doing more harm than good.

Here are 6 mindsets to avoid if you want to lose weight.

8. Not Doing What You Love

There’s nothing more un-motivating than doing something you hate.

During weight loss, most people focus on removing the foods they like and spending tons of time on the treadmill they hate so much.

There are plenty of ways to tackle weight loss, and in order to keep the weight off long-term, you must find an approach that you love.

For example, if you like cycling or hiking, then consider adding that to your weight loss arsenal, the world is full of active hobbies you can do.

If you like pizza, find low-calorie alternatives like cauliflower crust pizza. if you like brownies, google some sugar-free, high-protein brownie recipes.

You can explore these 10 low-carb snacks for weight loss.

Do you have any other tips on how to stay motivated to lose weight? Share them in the comments section below!

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