The success that you achieve is the real motivation for losing weight. Motivation is about being persistent while being happy throughout the process. In this article I will provide the keys to staying motivated in your weight loss efforts. Motivation helps you continue to maintain your activity level and follow proper eating habits. My motivation methods include:
- Be Aware of Your Progress
- Make Workouts Fun
- Have a Positive Workout Environment
- Counting Repetitions
- Celebrate Your Success
- Eating Habits
Be Aware of Your Progress
It is easier to remain motivated when you are aware of your progress. Accomplishing and exceeding your goals are huge motivational factors. You won’t continue your effort if you fail to see results. It is beneficial to keep track of your progress by recording your weight and dimensions each week. However, the best scale is the mirror. Next to compliments from those who see and notice your improvements, seeing progress in the mirror is the best way to motivate yourself. Compliments are random and unexpected. The mirror provides a daily monitoring and comparison method. Seeing the toning of your body as muscle definition appears where smooth fat once existed is very motivational. Compliments incentive me to want to work even harder!
Make Workouts Fun
I incorporate fun activities in my workouts. These include hiking and climbing elevations. I also try to include other activities such as rowing, swimming and hiking. I try to use my leisure time to include activities that work my muscles. I want to start paddleboarding and mountain biking. For me, being outdoors is highly desirable and fun.
I have made workout sessions into dates. Red Rocks amphitheater where I workout is near my home. It is half way between where I live and where my girlfriend lives. That makes it a perfect meeting spot for a date. I also meet for dates to go hiking. By doing this, the activity portion of my new lifestyle is incorporated into my schedule versus being supplemental and requiring additional time and effort.
Have a Positive Workout Environment
I spent too many years inside a gym during previous weight loss efforts. I am not happy being inside. As a part my new lifestyle change, I would workout on my deck on the mountainside every sunny day even if it was 40 degrees out. Many times I had to remove snow from the pilates machine. I was able to remain tan throughout the winter for this reason.
If I did watch TV on occasion, I would workout during the show or game I was watching. During Monday Night Football I would wait until commercials. This accomplished two things. First, I didn’t miss any action. Second, I didn’t see any food commercials and get hungry for different snacks.
Numbers play a huge part in motivation especially when you consider I was doing repetitions on the order of 50 and 100 per exercise. It may sound like a lot but you would be surprised at how little time they take. You can knock out 500 reps during the 20 minutes of commercials in an hour long TV show. The best way to approach a quantity of this magnitude (50 to 100 reps) is to break down the repetitions into smaller increments. I would do 50 then 30 then 20 to get to a total of 100 reps. Similarly, I would do 30 and then 20 to get to 50 reps when I did heavier weights. By doing the larger amount of reps first, you catch the muscle before it gets fatigued. Also, you get the bigger portion out of the way early which in itself is a motivator. Who eagerly accepts doing more work? Not most people. A lower number in the second set can become a motivating incentive to push onward.
Celebrate Your Success
Losing weight shouldn’t be all work and no play. Don’t be afraid to celebrate. Although I quit drinking beer in my initial effort, I did go celebrate and have a beer when I hit the 20 pound loss point. It wasn’t as rewarding as I envisioned by the way. I had transitioned my lifestyle to a point where beer was no longer appealing. Later on, I quit all alcohol. That was the key to losing the last 25 pounds. Nowadays alcohol tastes and feels like a poison to me.
I celebrated with food as well. I had the occasional pizza and other carbs such as my favorite mashed potatoes. I spread out these treats while sticking mainly to my Paleo style low carb protein based diet. I also made sure I scheduled aerobic activities in a manner that burned off the carbs. I also celebrate with days off and by buying exercise equipment such as heavier dumbbells which was a gift to myself for hitting the 50 pound weight loss mark.
Although changing my eating habits wasn’t as hard as I thought, it did result in a diet consisting of a list of foods that was a bit mundane. I never got tired of these foods. I eventually got to the maintenance phase where I loosened up a little. I have the occasional bun with my meat or once in a while I will enjoy a cookie. I do limit wheat as much as possible. If I’m given chocolates, I have one and then save the other for later. I always enjoy them for taste while avoiding using them for the satisfaction of feeling full and offsetting hunger. That way I eat less. I avoid anything carbonated as it tends to expand my stomach.
Being motivated adapted me to this new lifestyle and provided additional motivation by transitioning my desire from unproductive food groups to productive ones. At first I had to push myself but it eventually became a natural part of my life. My transition had resulted in my tastes changing to a point where my body craved the good stuff while the bad stuff no longer appealed thus providing further motivation.