Three Non-Food Weight Loss Tips to Motivate the Dieter

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Ultimately, weight loss can only be achieved when calorie intake is less than the amount of calories you burn over the course of a day. However, succeeding in the achievement of this goal has as much to do with what you put in your head as what you put in your mouth. According to an informal email study by Joshua Wayne MA, about 60% of people seeking weight loss have a lack of motivation that allows them to stick with a plan. Most do well for a while, but then “fall off track.” Here are five motivational tips to keep you on your path toward a healthy weight.

1. Remember why you are on the plan in the first place.
Why did you initiate the goal to lose weight? Is it because your doctor or someone else told you that you should? Or are you making the conscious choice to live a healthier life? Self-sabotage usually occurs when you aren’t “all on board” with a weight loss program. If someone else is making the decision of your weight for you, you are not likely to stick with a plan.

Be absolutely clear on the reason you are losing weight and write it down somewhere that you are likely to see it every day. Having a well-defined goal is a primary motivational tool for eating less and moving more. Remember that your goal should be meaningful to you and you alone. It could be that you want to have the energy to play with your children or that you have a wedding/high school reunion that you would like to look good for. Choosing your own goal and being comfortable with that decision is the key to being motivated to achieving that goal.

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2. Choose a plan that works within your lifestyle.
Too often, people try to follow the latest diet craze without any thought to how it fits into your lifestyle. The reason why there are thousands of diet plans out there is because we are all individual in our personalities, lifestyles, and desires. For example, if you love starchy foods, don’t select the Atkins Diet believing that you can “detox” yourself off of carbohydrates. Choosing a plan that is contrary to your current behavior often causes ultimate failure. A better plan for this carb-lover would be a more balanced approach – for example, Weight Watchers. This program allows a greater variety of choices, but encourages whole grains over refined grains and limits portion sizes.

The same principle applies to physical activity. Exercise is a must for successful weight loss, and it helps maintain muscle mass to keep metabolism high. Busy people often cite the excuse “I don’t have time to exercise.” Find time, even if you break the activity up into 3 10-minute chunks throughout the day. If you aren’t a morning person, for example, instead of forcing yourself out of bed 30 minutes early to exercise, get up 10 minutes earlier for a short yoga session, take a mini-walk during your lunch break, and do 10 minutes worth of calisthenics or free weights while cooking dinner.

3. Have a plan for when willpower is low.
Everyone – even top athletes – go through periods where willpower is low. The difference between the elite and the sedentary, however, is that those who have chosen an actionable goal have plans in place to overcome the decrease in motivation.

Incorporate rest days into your workout plan. Set one meal a week where you are free to eat your favorite fast food. When having a “free day”, do not allow guilt to enter your mind. Instead, remind yourself of the accomplishments you have made toward your goal so far, and use the day as a reward for the hard work.

It may also be helpful to set out positive pictures and words of encouragement for days when you feel like you may give up. While “before” pictures may motivate some, for many, this is a negative reminder instead of a positive force toward change. Set out pictures of yourself when you were at a healthy weight and doing something that you love. Put a quote underneath that keeps you focused on achieving that look once again, such as “Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can (Author Unknown)” or “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be (David Viscott).”

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