Confession time. When I had a lot of weight to lose, I had no sympathy for people who complained about the challenge of losing the last 10-15 pounds. At the time, I couldn’t fathom the struggle. I had to lose that ten times over, so in my eyes, my hamster wheel was nowhere near stopping. Funny thing. I want to lose last the ten pounds, except it has now climbed to about 15 pounds. I’m sliding in the wrong direction and with my excessive sweet tooth, it’s difficult to curb this spiral. Maintenance is something I’m still striving to achieve.
Every day is a challenge in making good choices and I have come to terms with certain truths I’ve learned along the way of my incredibly long weight loss adventures. These keep me focused on my long term goals of losing weight. Here is some of what I’ve learned and how I push through during those times I have absolutely no motivation to keep trying:
Exercise Isn’t the Answer
A healthy diet is more important than exercise. Making good food choices most of the time is what’s going to push your weight down and you can not exercise out of a bad diet. If you eat like crap, there’s no amount of exercise that will help you lose weight. I know this first hand dealing with my own weaknesses.
You see, I’ve made friends at the donut shop, and they’re so generous, when you buy a donut, the always put in extras. This makes my resolve at eating just one sail right out the
window. Oh, and a new pastry cafe opened up, just down the street from where I drop off my son every day. Their almond croissant might be the be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Their cinnamon roll or oatmeal raisin cookie are a very close second and third. I haven’t even talked about their desserts. These lovely treats aren’t helping my weight loss progress, even though I go to the gym 4 days a week. In fact, my workouts are more sluggish the worse I eat.
To obtain the best results, I need to eat healthy and add in exercise for extra benefits. Don’t get me wrong, exercise has it’s own plethora of benefits, but that’s for a different post. So, if you find your motivation slipping away, re-focus on diet first. Add in exercise and other activities once you dial in your eating.
Write Down Your Goals
Here’s the thing, when you have a lost of weight to lose, the journey looks never ending. It’s so important to create goals. Short term goals, long term goals, dream goals. Write down your WHY. Try to make your why about you. Not to get a boyfriend, not for people to ‘like you’, but make them about YOU. One of my goals was to be able to shop in a regular store again. I HATED only being able to shop in Lane Bryant stores. I HATED no having the flexibility in going to the mall, or any boutique AT ALL in the hopes they’d carry my size. Having the freedom to shop anywhere was a big why for me.
Make goals: 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, 3 years. What are your weight loss goals? Why? Make sure they’re things in your control. Fitting into a smaller size. Tracking food for 3 months straight (good days and bad). Losing so many inches, etc. I try to avoid scale weight because, my goodness, the scale is finicky! Sheesh. When your motivation is crumbling, go back and read your goals. Re-write them if you have to, but use them to keep up your weight loss motivation. It’s your why on why to keep pushing forward.
Change Your Thinking
This is HUGE in how to get serious about losing weight. The mentality of CAN’T is such negative force in weight loss that it can force you to rebel and derail the best laid weight loss plans. Instead of bemoaning what you can’t have, focus on what you CAN have. I love donuts, seriously, they’re one of my favorite foods. BUT, I know donuts do nothing good for my body. I still allow myself to have one on occasion, but other times, when I have a craving, I try to remind myself how they make me feel. I end up feeling sluggish later, and sometimes, they actually irritate my stomach. Since I count macros, they kill my day, and I end up being hungry. I try to remind myself that if I don’t eat that donut, I can eat more food throughout the day, and not deal with being hungry.
Changing how I view eating sweets has helped keep me focused on my motivation to lose weight. Since I hate being hungry almost more than I love sweets, this has been very helpful.
You CAN eat what you want, but there are downsides. You’ll regret it later. It does nothing good for your body. You have concrete goals with set deadlines and eating something not beneficial will cause you to derail a bit. So, are you willing to take the bad with the good? It’s about realizing you still have choices and control.
I am a HUGE advocate of meal prep. There are so many benefits to meal planning and meal prep that go beyond weight loss. It’s a GREAT budgeting tool because you plan your meals, spend some time prepping your food, you’ll be less likely to eat out. Look, meal planning and meal prep can be daunting and overwhelming, but starting small is the biggest bit of advice I can give you.
For meal planning I use Plan to eat (affiliate link), and I love it. I’ve written a pretty detailed post about Plan to Eat here, going over all the pros and cons. I plan two weeks at a time and leave room for adjusting due to schedule changes.
Meal prep – What can I say? Start small. Almost everyone can use more veggies in their diet. Buy veggies you like and wash and prep them. I have a few posts on meal prep that might be helpful. But, to start, just rinse your fruit, cut up bell peppers or cucumbers, wash cherry tomatoes. These are all great to take on the go when you’re busy. From there, maybe start prepping one meal on the weekend for during the week. If you eat oatmeal, make that on the weekend and just re-heat during the week. Make a big batch of brown rice.
Prepare of Setbacks
Look, weight loss is NOT linear. There will always be ups and downs and plateaus, no matter what how perfect you’re doing. Our body adjusts and adapts. We have to keep switching things up. And don’t get me started on the scale. The scale can be the biggest killer of weight loss motivation! Don’t let it take you down. That’s why it’s important to set other goals besides the scale. It’s important to take pictures once a month.
Setbacks can be be from the scale or from your own eating choices. Sometimes we falter and lose willpower to keep pushing forward. There are time we just need a break. Life can also interfere with our goals and motivation. Other things take center stage. It’s okay, it’s part of life.
Preparing for setbacks can include focusing on new habits created. It can be re-reading your goals and adjusting them if necessary. Overall, it means acknowledging where you are and what you’ve accomplished, however small it may be and adapting to what life throws at you. Maybe you settle into maintenance for awhile until things calm down. Then you can create new goals. No matter what, it’s about being kind to yourself and realize that you’re still serious about weight loss but that other things might be more important for a short while.
Being Self Aware
My slide downhill has to stop and I have a plan. I do believe success is possible if things are handled in moderation but I’m still learning to handle moderation. I count macros every day and take measurements once a month, adjusting goals as I feel necessary. And when my motivation completely falls apart, I focus on eating healthy. I do let exercise go when I start getting overwhelmed and frustrated. Right now, life is a bit busy. But,I already have a set date to return to the gym. Until then, I’ll try to walk and get in some movement here and there and keep a tight reign on my eating.
I’m learning to be self aware. My goal is to get back on track.
What is it you need right now to keep motivated? Figure out what you need and how to dig deep and keep motivated. It took six years overall for me to lose 135 pounds. It’s about holding on to habits you have created, and when things get to be too much, focus on good food choices. Everything else can be added back in when you’re ready!
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Having the confidence to lose weight is half the battle…motivation, I feel is the other half of that same coin.
Meal planning is a very important healthy habit to practice. It can take the chaos out of day to day cooking and making healthy eating choices.
When setting goals, it’s so important to make sure they’re realistic and appropriate for you. Just like clothes, one size doesn’t fit all!