By: Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Starting and sticking with a weight loss plan is not always easy. Maybe you need that initial push and jumpstart, or you start to lose motivation after a few months as weight loss slows down. Not to fret – there are ways to stay motivated to lose weight so you keep the momentum going. 

When it comes to any weight loss plan you embark on, it’s always important to consult with your medical doctor and a qualified registered dietitian to determine what’s best for you.

In this article, I’ll cover 9 strategies on how to keep motivated to lose weight,  so you stop throwing in the towel before you’ve reached your goal.

1. Determine Your “Why” for Losing Weight

When it comes to weight loss, you have to do it for your own reasons, not just because you feel you should or your doctor told you to. If you don’t know your “why,” it will be difficult to stay motivated when the going gets tough.

For example, maybe your why is that you want to be able to have more energy to run around with your kids, come off your diabetes medications, or feel amazing for an upcoming vacation. Whatever it is, make sure it is meaningful to you and it the mere act of visualizing the end result motivates you.

Put it into action:

Determine your why for losing weight. Whatever it is, identify your why, write it down, and keep it at the forefront so you can refer back to it when needed.

how to keep motivated and remember your why
Photo Credit – @Cristofer Maximilion via Unsplash

2. Set Realistic Goals

Your weight loss goals need to be realistic and fit your lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up in diet culture and rapid weight loss gimmicks, especially when you’re seeing others’ successes on social media. 

It’s important to remember that everyone has a different metabolism, lifestyle, and goals and you never truly know what is happening behind closed doors.

A healthy rate of weight loss is about 1-2 lbs per week, as anything more than this will likely be too restrictive and will lead to weight re-gain. It also puts strain on your organs when you keep losing and regaining weight, so you’re not doing yourself any favors by rushing the process.

Put it into action:

Set realistic expectations for yourself so you don’t set yourself up for failure. For example, aim to add in a fruit or veggie with every meal. Once you achieve this consistently, then move on to the next realistic goal.

3. Create SMART Goals

When it comes to your health and weight goals, they need to be specific in order to know if you’re meeting them or not. If not, you may lose your drive to lose weight because you have no way of knowing how you’re doing. 

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals before in school when it comes to setting business goals, but they are also very effective for personal and health-related goals.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Based

An example of a SMART goal could be “I will walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes 3 days a week,” or “I will eat breakfast with at least 20 grams of protein every day.”

A research study showed women who set specific health goals were more likely to stay motivated to lose weight and not veer off their diet, compared to those who focused just on weight loss alone.

Put it into action:

Set 1-2 SMART goals and write them down. Once you do this, track your progress weekly and celebrate your wins along the way!

4. Track Your Progress

Seeing your physical and mental changes in yourself as you lose weight can be incredibly motivating. As humans we tend to always focus on the negative and are too hard on ourselves, often forgetting all of the good we’re doing. 

Here are a few ways to track your progress to see how your habits are changing:

  • Weigh yourself weekly
  • Track your body composition changes monthly 
  • Take pictures of your meals 
  • Track your exercise progress – this may include how fast you run/walk or how heavy you can lift

When you keep track of all that is happening, you can see how you’re improving and how much you’ve accomplished. You’ll also be more aware of where you’re struggling so you know where to put more of your energy into.

Put it into action:

Track your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits in a journal or app to monitor your progress and become aware of your wins and challenges. This will help you to know what to focus on to keep seeing results.

Photo Credit – @Jonathan Borba via Unsplash

5. Celebrate Your Wins

Learning how to keep motivated to for weight loss is hard, so celebrating every win is critical to keep you moving forward. Celebrate yourself when you achieved a goal or even if you got close to meeting it. For example, if you met your exercise goal of 3 times per week, buy a new shirt or plan a fun night with your friends.

It’s important however that you don’t reward yourself with food, as this may lead to weight regain and a loss of motivation. It also doesn’t help to improve your overall relationship with food, which is essential to repair when it comes to long-term weight loss. 

Put it into action:

Celebrate your wins frequently throughout your weight loss journey, as often as every week. Allow yourself to enjoy a non-food reward every time you achieve a goal, such as a warm bubble bath, a pedicure, or a fun night out with friends.

6. Find a Friend

Having a supportive friend makes all the difference when it comes to staying motivated to lose weight. If you have a friend also trying to lose weight or improve their habits, connect with them and motivate each other to do better. Having a like-minded person by your side helps keep you focused and accountable for what you know is best for you.

Put it into action:

Enlist a friend, spouse, or family member to be your accountability partner in your weight loss journey. Share your goals with them and ask them to check up on you to make sure you’re sticking to what you need to do to achieve them. Do the same for them which will motivate you as well!

7. Make it Easy

Are you making the process of losing weight harder than it has to be? I see this all the time with my clients, and it doesn’t have to be so hard. To stay motivated to lose weight (and to actually keep seeing the results) you have to make it as easy and seamless to stick to as possible.

How do you do this? The most important thing is creating a healthy environment around you. 

Put it into action:

Stock your pantry for success. Store fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins in your fridge at all times, and keep healthy snacks in the pantry such as low-fat popcorn, Kind bars, or turkey jerky to grab when hunger strikes. 

When you’re surrounded by good food that supports weight loss, you’ll eat good food. On the other hand, when you put trigger foods out of sight you reduce the need for willpower on a daily basis.

Choose restaurants with healthy meal options. This will make it easier to eat out and enjoy yourself without blowing your calorie budget or leaving the restaurant wanting to go to bed.

Lay out your workout clothes the night before and anything else you’ll need like headphones, water, or a pre-workout snack. Having everything ready to go will reduce the chances that you’ll back out.

Photo Credit – Foodal.com

8. Make Your Workouts Fun

If you dread your workout or are only doing it for the sake of losing weight, chances are you won’t stick to it for long. And when it comes to working out, you need to do it consistently in order to see results. If you’re not, it becomes frustrating because you’re not getting the results and so you may think why should I bother?

In order to be consistent, you have to enjoy the type of workout you’re doing. Don’t choose something because it’s trendy or it burns a lot of calories, but instead pick the workouts you look forward to. If it feels like something you want to do versus actually having to do it, chances are you’ll do it a lot more often without someone having to pull your leg.

It also shouldn’t be focused primarily on weight loss, because you will have weeks where you may not lose weight. If you focus too much on weight, then you may be more prone to skipping a workout because you’re annoyed and feel defeated.

Put it into action:

Choose 2-3 of your favorite workouts and add them to your weekly exercise routine. Think about the type of workouts you get excited about and look forward to, not ones that you feel you “need” to do because they burn more calories. Enlisting a workout buddy also helps provide more accountability and fun into the mix!

9. Hire a Professional 

Sometimes you need a higher level of accountability than your family or friends can provide. In this case, hiring a registered dietitian or personal trainer for expert guidance and accountability can help you take your weight loss to another level. They can also help guide you once you reach your goal so you achieve permanent weight loss.

Having a health coach by your side cheering you on can push you harder and remind you of your why when you start to fall off course. A professional also has the knowledge and expertise to create a program to give you the biggest results so you’re not just grasping for straws.

Put it into action:

If you’re wondering how to stay motivated with slow weight loss or your weight loss has stalled, consider hiring a registered dietitian or personal trainer to help you get things moving again. These types of health professionals are specially trained to set you up for weight loss success and can create a plan that is realistic and sustainable for you.

Bottom Line

It’s not always easy to stay motivated to lose weight, but the trick is to continue being consistent even on the days you don’t feel like it. And with the right tools and support, you can keep the momentum going so you achieve bigger weight loss results.

Remember to give stay consistent, celebrate your successes, and most importantly, give yourself some grace. You are doing amazing! 

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