“The brick wall.” “The kink in the chain.” “The roadblock.” On a diet, you know you’re going to hit one. Chances are, you’ll hit more than one. And it doesn’t even have to be a drop in progress. Often times, it’s just a dip in your motivation. That bad day at the gym. The dinner that you can’t stand to eat again. A serious craving for ice cream.
I’ve now lost 73lbs, and I assure you that I’m in no way immune to these feelings. If you’re trying to lose weight, there will be times that you’re discouraged. You’ll feel like a failure, and feel like nothing you’re doing makes a difference. When those moments come, there are a few tools you need in your bag. It is a critical skill to readjust your attitude and push on. So today, we’re going to talk about how to do it.
Before we begin, though, I want to address anyone feeling down about their diet right now. Do you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything? Are you just so emotionally drained that success seems unattainable? Has the strain of dieting knocked you down? If so, get back up! Success doesn’t follow a schedule, and it may take all the effort you have. But success is absolutely possible. Your body is in no way incapable of being healthy. You are not genetically cursed to be overweight. So maybe things seem hard right now. Maybe your progress slowed down. Maybe your cravings got worse. But don’t dare, even for a second, believe you are doomed to fail. You can do anything you choose to do! Stop feeling like a failure, because that’s what makes you fail. Get up, remember why you’re working so hard, and get moving! You can do this! You are no different than anyone else who has succeeded! So get a transformation photo, look at it, and realize that the only thing between you and an after photo is how hard you work.
How To Stay Motivated:
1. Track Progress
This is crucial, both when you’re motivated, and when you’re down. Everyone wants to see progress. And although you can’t expect to get the same results every week, a consistent lack of progress tells you that something’s wrong. That said, there’s no time that progress is more important than when you feel like giving up. So look back at your records. How many pounds have you lost? Have progress photos. Look how those pounds fell off. And then think, “I did that!” You’re not doomed to fail; you’ve already succeeded! Remember what it felt like before you started losing weight. It was so discouraging to look in the mirror. You would have rather been stabbed then told “you need to lose a few pounds”. But that’s gone. You’ve made progress. So don’t let it slip away. Just keep going, and you’ll be fine.
2. Set Goals
Obviously, you have a goal. That’s why you’re working so hard to lose weight. But it’s a long journey, and having bench marks along the way can help keep you reved up. So set intermediate goals. For example, one of my biggest intermediate goals was to be under 200 lbs. I probably hadn’t been that low since middle school. So when I go there, it was a big confidence booster. Come up with your own goals that still require some work, but will be reached before you hit your ideal weight.
3. Reward Yourself
We all need rewards, so reward yourself during your diet. Of course, cheat days are a crucial part if dieting. However, “reward” here means something other than food. After all, an ice cream sundae for each pound lost is counterproductive. So ask yourself: “is there something I really want?” For me, it was a t-shirt at the store. Conveniently enough, they had run out of my size. So I made a deal with myself: when I could take the smaller size, I could buy the shirt. Maybe that will be your reward. Or maybe it will be a trip, or a new gadget, or something entirely different. But when you tie rewards to your goals, it boosts your motivation level big time.
4. Remember Your End Game
Perspective is everything. In weight loss, discouragement is usually a sign that you’re not seeing the big picture. So while losing weight, imagine being in shape. Plan what you will do. Think about how you will feel around other people. Feel how healthy you will be. See yourself running and not being exhausted. The more vivid your imagination, and the better you are at seeing this future you, will determine if you stick to your diet. We all become discouraged. The ability to push through comes from seeing what we want, and wanting it bad enough to make it real.
5. Keep Mementos
Just like tracking progress, momentos can help jog your memory for just how much you’ve already accomplished. A shirt, a pair of pants, that tarp of a dress – pull them out and try them on. The visual will make a point that words simply can’t convey. So keep a trinket or two around for those bad days.
For the large majority of people, losing weight is not a short-term commitment. So instead of expecting perfection, be realistic. Instead of always being dissatisfied with yourself, take pride in your accomplishments. Yes, there’s more work to be done. But the only way to push through is by realizing you can do it. There have no doubt been a lot of people who’ve doubted you would lose weight. There have been loads of obstacles that almost stopped you. You don’t need your feelings to be one of them.
My Weekly Update:
We’re all in this battle together. This week, the fighting has been good for me. I’ve been able to drop an additional two pounds, bringing me that much closer to my goal – 10% body fat. A lot of you may be wondering why I have such a precise goal, and where it came from. The answer is really simple. The more body fat we have, the less definition in our muscles (obviously, right?). Well, 10% is a noteworthy number. By that point, the vast majority of people have visible abs. Now clearly, a lack of abs is not the end of the world. But I’ve spent my whole life ashamed of how I look. I’ve been afraid to even take my shirt off. I want to, just for once, be able to go to the beach and not feel self-conscious. And right now, I’m only a few more weeks from that point!
Earlier on, I mentioned a weight-loss competition with my dad. So far, things have not worked out in my favor. Although I’ve had good results, he’s definitely ahead this month(I’m a little sore about that, as you may have noticed). But with one week until our final weight-in, I’ll keep trying to pull the comeback!