Finding Weight Loss Motivation

by Annie on April 24, 2010 · 3 comments

in Healthy Living,Weight Loss & Body Image

Most of us can point to a number of reasons why we should lose weight.  The reasons range from “my doctor told me to lose weight because of health concerns” to “I want to look good in that dress during my 20th high school re-union.”

With the millions of reasons out there, we should all be slim and gorgeous.  But that is not always the case.  When do reasons become weight loss motivation? How do normal every day people cross that mystic line and become fitness addicts?

This post is a discussion about our finding weight loss motivation and what this motivation means in your life.

I am often asked how I can exercise week after week. Truth is – it is easier for me to continue exercising than to stop. I am okay with taking a one or two week break, but anything longer and I will start moaning and groaning about exercise. It took two years of thinking about exercising regularly before I finally started exercising regularly. Remember how I wrote about taking all the time you need to change your mindset about a healthy lifestyle? Well, sometimes it takes a while mulling over the idea before you want to take action.

Exercising is similar to having a long holiday like Thanksgiving. After 4 or 5 days of freedom and relaxation, isn’t it ugly Monday morning when you try to get back to the 9 to 5 work schedule? It is the same idea when it comes to exercise. It is harder to stop than to just keep going.

“Once begun…half the work is done” — Horace.

Setting a realistic goal is important to weight loss motivation

Almost everyone starts exercising with the expectation that they will see results by the end of the month (or sometimes by Saturday when they only started exercising Monday). In most cases you will results (firmer muscles or maybe a 5 pound weight loss), but NEVER a double digit number. If you think you can permanently lose 15-20 pounds through exercise in a month, then be prepare for disappointment. It rarely happens to women (check out some of my older posts on women vs men to see why physically we hold on to fat with a death grip).

An unrealistic goal leads to disappointment, which makes it frustrating to push yourself to exercise. So what do most people do? They stop. They give up.

The first step to finding weight loss motivation is to have a tangible realistic goal. Are you trying to alter a genetic characteristic? Then be prepare for disappointment. I am 5’2”. No matter what I do, I am never going to get any taller, but when age, I could possibility get shorter. And if my father is any indication of what is in store for my future, I better be eating calcium rich food and taking my calcium supplements, because there is no way I am going to lose 4 inches like him.

Is your weight loss goal something that you can do without hurting yourself emotional or physically? Can you make this part of a permanent lifestyle change? If you have always been a meats and potatoes person, don’t just become a vegetarian to lose weight. What is going to happen after you lost the weight? Isn’t a more realistic goal just to eat more vegetables and a little less meat? That is more sustainable than cutting one of your favorite food groups out. You want to incorporate healthy food and activity that is sustainable to your current lifestyle to find long tern weight loss motivation.

Stop feeling guilty!

Everyone feels guilty about exercise or the lack of exercise. I often wonder if I am exercising long enough, hard enough, or why I chose to watch TV over the internet instead. Among my friends, there are very few of them who exercise as regularly as I do. My friends feel guilty about trying to find time to exercise or taking away from “family time” to exercise. Nobody is immune to guilt when it comes to exercise!

Guilt is self defeating and counterproductive to your weight loss motivation. Instead of giving yourself a hard time, do the best you with the time that you have. Stop dragging around this sense of failure because you cannot devote 60 minutes to exercise today. If you can only spend 10 minutes lifting weights, then make sure those weights are heavy enough that you only need 1 set for each exercise. If you can only spend 10 minutes doing cardio, then make sure to have big motions that include both your legs and arms to push your heart rate within 70% – 80% of your max heart rate. Do what you can and stop feeling guilt for not being able to do more.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

Photo by:  1Happysnapper.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris April 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

I enjoyed your post. One thing I have found is that I have to let go of the idea that the workout has to be perfect to be effective. Your point is very true about if you just have 10 minutes, make it a good 10 minutes of exercise. I am now accepting that if I just have 20 minutes, then that is better than nothing. I would love to take an hour a day, but that just isn”t always possible. Do what you can and make the most of it.

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asithi April 26, 2010 at 7:49 am

@Kris – Good for you! If you can only exercise for 20 minutes, then make that 20 minutes count!

A friend of mine re-started P90X four times in the last year. I keep telling him that he should just do the express version (30 minutes) of the workout instead of aiming for the full length version (averaging 60 minutes). Even I can see that he does not have the time to commit to exercising for 60 minutes 6 days a week. But it is an all or nothing approach for him, hence he feels like a failure every few weeks when he realize he cannot maintain the schedule. Then he is in a funk for a month before starting over again. He is just spinning his wheels, but getting nowhere.

Thanks for the comment!

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kris April 26, 2010 at 8:30 am

Asithi- I used to be like your friend, and P90X was the culprit for me too. I love Tony Horton, but I cannot ”live up” to his expectations. Therefore, I just felt like if I couldn’t fully commit that hour, that I just wouldn’t do it. Now I sporadically do some of the dvds, but using my own pattern. Yes I will not have the results he shows. But some of the moves hurt my bad knee/spine and so I just do what I can. If you are a perfectionist, it is hard to do P90X unless you are already in really good shape and have a lot of time. (just my opinion). Great website!

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