Weight loss motivation: how to keep it up
Why do we lose our motivation for weight loss ?
Weight loss inspiration comes to us easily; all of us have tried to lose the flab one time or the other! But this inspiration often fails to convert into sustainable weight loss motivation and we get back to our old ways soon!
What is the cause of people giving up on something that they know is good for them?
Behavior change experts describe four types of problems that impact behavior change:
- Not having health knowledge
- Unrealistic expectations and lack of self belief
- Not having the skill to monitor oneself and
- Not anticipating and managing the barriers to change
What can you do to stay motivated?
In order to keep up your weight loss motivation, you should should target these key problems by
1.Increase your health knowledge
The links to are so strong that American Heart Association (AHA) has classified obesity as a disease in its own right because of the links between obesity and disease and early death ! Knowing exactly how it increases your risks WILL make you more motivated
2. Set expectations right (cognitive restructuring strategies):
Cognitive restructuring simply means understanding the difference between the the magical/illogical and the real ! Then it leads to training yourself to choose the real facts. You should know that the expectation to lose 20 kgs in a month is too illogical . So, set realistic targets for weight loss
3. Enhance self regulatory skills:
Getting into weight loss programs or groups helps in the short term to lose weight. But to keep motivated in the long term, it is important to know what you need to do to reduce weight. This means following the steps below:
- Goal-setting: you need to choose which goals you want to set for yourself (be it walking for 30 minutes of giving up on coke or any other thing). Choose behavioral goals instead of outcomes and have faith that outcomes will follow!
- Written self-monitoring: once you set your goals, you need to monitor how well you are keeping up with the goal.
- You can do this by keeping a diary, or get an app which allows you to do this easily with your phone
- It will greatly help to equip yourself with some basic tools/equipment (weighing scale, inch tape, food measuring cups and spoons, home BP apparatus and glucometer, This will help you monitoring yourself well
- Self-reinforcement: This simply means rewarding yourself when you achieve a goal. The reward could be in terms of buying a dress, watching a movie or any other indulgence. But don’t reward yourself a binge eating for a week of diet control!
- Stimulus control: You know which situations (stimuli) make you eat more or give up on exercise, try to change your behavior when presented with these stimuli. For example
- If eating in front of the TV is your weakness, keep ready salads, fruits or pop corn without butter for eating when watching TV (read more).
- Stress or emotional turmoil is a known cause of overeating. If you tend to overeat in these situations, recognize this. Train yourself to do some other activity in such situation, for example go for a walk or talk to a friend
4. Problem solving:
This technique refers to identifying and overcoming barriers to change. For example:
- If you are tempted to give up on healthy food because your refrigerator is full of sugary drinks and oily food, you need to stock healthier alternatives
- If frequent work related travel and social drinking undermine your efforts, prepare a list of things that you could order while eating and drinking out to keep up the good work
Research is increasingly pointing out that if you understand and actively participate in your lifestyle management rather than follow orders blindly, your long-term chances for sustained weight loss are much better