One of the most common weight-loss questions is “how to stay motivated?”. It definitely makes the top 3 list and is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Sure, most of us can white knuckle through a week of clean eating and working out, but long term success comes from translating that into a life-long commitment.
To help satisfy this oft-asked question, here are the top 5 sources of motivation for me.
- Calorie Tracking – I don’t know why so many weight loss programs are so quick to advertise “no counting calories!” It’s as if this simple and impactful activity is time-consuming and tedious. While this may have been the case a decade or two ago, using a free app on your smartphone has reduced it to child’s play. I literally spend 1 minute a day logging what I eat and the payback is phenomenal. It holds you accountable to your target, it opens your eyes to what you’re eating, and it makes it snap to recognize easy swaps that can make a big impact on your intake
- Activity Tracking – For the same basic awareness principle as calorie tracking, understanding how many calories you’re burning each week is the other side of the puzzle (the calories out vs. the calories in above). Quite simply, it will make you aware of your intensity and your total calorie expenditure both of which will make you more aware of how long it takes to burn off a simple 20oz bottle of soda. Knowing that will make you want to skip it. Again, it’s about awareness
- A well-constructed plan – Sadly, it’s entirely too common for people to have no plan at all. Instead, trying to live by the concept of moderation, which is not only imprecise, but completely underestimated. A well-constructed plan (which will count calories, track workouts, have goals, consider macronutrient ratios, food quality, and many other elements) will keep you motivated by not only keeping you accountable, but by providing you with a specific road-map rather than wandering blindly without results. A plan of simple moderation will allow you to have birthday cake at an office party on a whim. A well-constructed plan will have a time when that’s allowed, but will not give you carte blanche access to derailing treats.
- Friendly Competition – nothing motivates like a little competition. Grab a friend and do a class or go through a strength training workout together. Without even giving much though, I bet you find that you automatically up your intensity when you know someone else is watching. That’s just inherent to our nature.
- Results – Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing (for me) motivates like results. I dare you to find success in a 3 week program and completely fall off in week 4 (this will ONLY happen if your plan is entirely too restrictive or entirely too grueling). The key is to have a well-constructed plan that you can live with long term. If you can master that, than the results will keep you hanging on like nothing else.
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