Let’s not make light of it. Losing weight is hard – really hard! When you’re carrying a few (or a lot!) of extra pounds, the hardest thing in the world is to change your habits to do what’s necessary to ditch the fat.
OK, so now that we’re on the same wavelength (we are, aren’t we?), let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your motivation for weight loss is so low. And, we’ll see what steps can be taken to change this…
1. I’ll only put it back on again anyway…
The thing is, most ‘diets’ involve abstaining from eating certain foodstuffs – or reducing the amount you eat. This is fine at first, because the body is running on less energy intake (calories) than usual, so the initial few days or weeks see some weight loss.
Then your body thinks it’s being starved. So two things happen:
1) – Your metabolism slows down. In other words, the body goes into a natural starvation mode, using up less energy (calories) to function day to day.
2) – Your brain tells you to eat, Eat, EAT! Because it thinks there’s a famine going on… And you begin to get cravings. This inevitably leads to you falling off the wagon, so to speak, and eating all those ‘forbidden’ foods. And your body immediately makes use of this extra energy (calories), by converting it to fat. Just in case, you know, this starvation diet continues…
These two aspects conspire to you coming off your diet with a bang, and putting on every pounds you’ve lost (and often more besides).
1) – Stop thinking about weight loss in the form of ‘going on a diet’. Your diet is what you eat – you don’t ‘go on one’. Instead, shift your thinking to that of, ‘I’m going to change my diet’. In other words, you’re going to change the type of foods you eat, not hold back on food until you’re so hungry you binge eat the whole of the cookie jar…!
2) – Think slow and steady. Healthy weight loss happens at a snail’s pace. That’s why it works. Because instead of all the above occurring, you gradually change your habits (and your diet), to one that’s more conducive to slow weight loss. Doing this and seeing the results is far more likely to see your motivation remaining high, and you reaching your weight loss goals.
3) – If you can combine this change in diet with some moderate exercise, all the better. We’re not saying you need to commit to the local gym (heaven forbid – there’s nothing more soul destroying, in our humble opinion). But if you can find some kind of exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, then you’re onto a winner.
Think walking the dog, swimming with the kids (or grandkids), gardening, dancing, washing the car by hand on the weekend… You get the idea. In addition, add in things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the train a stop early and walking the rest, walking to the grocery store instead of taking the car… All such activities count as exercise. And if you’re clever, you won’t even realize you’re doing them.
2. You feel intimidated by the gym
To be honest, who doesn’t…? All those beautiful bodies dressed in lycra, or muscle bound guys posing. And don’t even get us started on the staff… Who on earth wants some teenager writing down your weight or measuring how many inches of flab are nestled around your waist…?
It’s simple. Don’t go! Now, this is completely different from saying not to exercise. Because if you can do this, your weight loss efforts will be much more fruitful.
Gentle exercise, as in point 3) above, is the key here. As we said before, it’s all about little steps, and slow, but steady, progress.
3. You think you’re just built that way…
Now this we have to be blunt about. Because no-one is built ‘fat’. No, not anyone – never. You can and do have the ability to lose weight. And you can and do have the ability to get motivated. Yes, even you…
Motivation is a funny old thing. The more you have, the more you get motivated. So the crucial take-away here is to find what motivates you in the first place. And the biggest motivation is seeing results – believe us, we’ve been there…
So if you’re trying to change the way you eat (AKA, change your diet), why not try and pal up with someone else. Your husband/wife/partner, sister, brother, best friend (worst enemy? You could compete…!). It doesn’t matter who. But it’s a real truism that anything hard to accomplish is easier when you do it with someone else.
Check out local weight loss groups, or Weight Watchers. Get a fitness tracker that nags you if you’ve been sitting still for too long. Get a dog – you’d have to be a monster to ignore those pleading eyes that say, ‘take me for a walk – pleeeease!’
4. No matter how much I exercise and diet, my weight never drops
The weighing scales are both your friend AND your enemy. So d’you know what? Forget ‘em. That’s right – don’t weigh yourself. Because there’s nothing more demoralizing that feeling like you’ve had a successful week, only to get on the damn scales for them to prove you wrong. Or worse than not losing a single pound, you find you’ve put on weight!
Only get on the scales once a month at most. Because you’ll feel if you’re losing weight successfully. You’re clothes will feel looser, things will start firming up, your energy levels will rise.
You don’t need a set of scales to tell you this. You’ll know it, you’ll feel it, and – guess what – you’ll love it. Nothing is a better motivational booster than success. And if you approach your weight loss goals in the right manner, success really can be yours for the taking…