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13 Weight Loss Motivation Tips For Healthy & Sustainable Success

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13 Weight Loss Motivation Tips For Healthy & Sustainable Success

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Losing weight requires time and commitment, and it’s normal for motivation levels to fluctuate. 
  • Reminding yourself of intrinsic motivators and why you set this goal can help maintain weight loss motivation. 
  • A registered dietitian is a nutrition expert and a reliable accountability partner who can support your weight loss journey.

Losing weight is challenging and takes time.

It’s normal for motivation levels to rise and fall during long-term changes, but finding ways to stay motivated may benefit your goals. 

Keep reading to learn 13 ways to stay motivated throughout your weight loss journey. 

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Why Is It Hard to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight?

A definition of motivation is the reason one behaves in a certain way.

For example, you’re making diet changes to improve health or quitting smoking so your family isn’t exposed to secondhand smoke

Every health goal, including weight loss, is susceptible to low motivation.

It can happen when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or pressured to stick to a weight loss plan.  

Bouts of low motivation are a normal part of the behavior change journey, and practicing self-compassion may help you overcome setbacks.

Staying rooted in your “why” (the reason you pursued a health change in the first place) may also be beneficial. 

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

Behavioral psychology has identified two key sources of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. 

Intrinsic motivation comes from within and aligns with your interests, curiosities, and purpose.

It’s theorized this type of motivation will outlast extrinsic motivators because they are rooted in your core values. 

Here are examples of intrinsic motivation: 

  • I want to lose weight to decrease my risk of chronic disease and watch my grandchildren grow up. 
  • I want to nourish my body without feeling guilty, and will be happy if I lose weight. 

Extrinsic motivators include money, vanity, and impressing others.

These types of motivators can be fleeting, making it harder to satisfy goals that need a long-term commitment (like weight change.)

The most crucial goal-setting element is honesty about your ambitions, wants, and reasons for change. 

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Importance of Finding Motivation for Weight Loss 

To understand your motivators, write down a list of reasons you want to pursue weight loss.

If you need help, a registered dietitian can identify which goals are intrinsic or extrinsic motivators. 

13 Tips for Staying Motivated and Achieving Quick Wins 

Here are our tips to help you stay motivated on your health journey. 

1. Set Realistic Goals 

When setting a weight loss goal, you must consider what’s attainable.

It’s much easier to stay motivated when your goals are within reach.

A helpful way to set realistic goals is to set smaller milestones.

For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the month,” try reframing to, “I’m going to bring homemade lunches to work four out of five days of the week. I’ll have control over my meals' quality and still leave room for an opportunity to dine out if I want.” 

The second goal is specific, actionable, and accommodates real-life circumstances such as dining out—it’s more realistic. 

2. Find an Accountability Partner  

Staying accountable to a friend, family member, or online peer support group is essential to behavior change.

Adhering to your plan without external support is challenging, and finding an accountability partner can be hugely beneficial.

You can discuss the level of support you need with your accountability partner.

Some may prefer daily check-ins, while others can manage with weekly or bi-weekly. 

If you don’t feel comfortable asking a friend or family member, try asking your registered dietitian.

They’re a phenomenal accountability partner because they provide unconditional support.

Plus, they have expert nutrition knowledge and can offer tips to help you stay on track. 

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3. Track Progress and Celebrate Small Victories 

While working towards your goal, you should celebrate every accomplishment and milestone, including victories beyond weight change.

Examples include: 

Celebrating healthy behaviors you’ve developed, whether you lose weight or not, may help you stay motivated. 

4. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

It’s much easier to make health changes when surrounded by positive influences who share your values.

They can remind you of intrinsic motivators, your deep-rooted reasons for making change. 

Sometimes, loved ones don’t realize they aren’t being helpful, and you may need to tell them how you’d like to be supported.

You may need to create boundaries if they can't make changes.  

5. Get Enough Sleep 

Most adults aged 18-65 need six to nine hours of sleep each night.

Complying with your weight loss plan is easier when you’re well-rested.

Research suggests regular high-quality sleep supports a healthy metabolism and aids weight loss.  

To improve your sleep, the CDC recommends going to bed at the same time every night, limiting screen time, ensuring your room is dark and relaxing, avoiding caffeine and large meals before bed, and being active during the day so you feel tired later.   

6. Try New Workouts or Physical Activities 

Boredom can interfere with motivation. Add new routines to your exercise plan to help you get excited again.

Examples of fun activities include a dance class, rock climbing, indoor cycling, or pilates. 

7. Incorporate Mindful Eating Practices 

Eating mindfully means being present at meals and enjoying your dish without judgment or critical thoughts. 

Mindful eating practices include admiring the composition of your plate before you start eating, using all your senses to identify smells and textures, and chewing thoroughly to help slow down eating.

Although there isn’t evidence that mindful eating increases motivation, it’s still a healthy habit that can help you tune into your hunger and fullness cues, which may be helpful for weight management. 

8. Avoid Restrictive Diets and Focus on Balanced Nutrition  

Restrictive diets don’t work long-term, and experimenting with fad diets can feel emotionally draining and wear down motivation levels. 

Instead, focus on sustainable changes like eating a balanced diet with carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.

Research has demonstrated that high-quality foods are more beneficial to your metabolism than calorie restriction and other restrictive patterns. 

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9. Practice Self-Care and Manage Stress Levels

Every health goal journey has highs and lows, and managing your stress levels during low periods can help you stay motivated. 

Practicing self-care looks different for everyone and can be a calming bubble bath or a rigorous bike ride.

Write down ideas for relaxing activities, and reach out for your support if needed. 

10. Reward Yourself with Non-Food Related Items

Turning to food when you’re emotional is a form of emotional eating.

Occasionally, this behavior is normal, but frequently using food to cope with big feelings should be addressed.

Instead of rewarding yourself with food, try to find food-neutral ways to celebrate. 

Examples include getting a pedicure or treating yourself to a new book.  

11. Change Up Your Environment 

Sometimes, refreshing your environment can put fresh wind under your wings.

It helps break you from a mundane routine and push back against feelings of sameness.  

A quick way to change your environment is to reorganize your kitchen pantry to make food more accessible.

Or, if you need a complete break from your routine, consider booking a trip out of town for a weekend getaway. 

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12. Seek Support from Online Communities 

Finding peers undergoing similar changes can be motivating, especially between nutrition appointments.

Many online forums are free, or your dietitian can recommend local groups that fit your needs. 

13. Stay Consistent

Planning to take consistent action is vital for achieving your goals.

Regardless of your motivation levels, showing up and following your nutrition care plan will yield results that may re-motivate you. 

Takeaway

It’s normal for weight loss motivation levels to ebb and flow. However, having strategies in your back pocket, like the ones listed below, can help you stay on track with your goals: 

  • Have an accountability partner. 
  • Make realistic goals. 
  • Celebrate small victories. 
  • Surround yourself with positive influences. 
  • Get enough sleep. 
  • Try new ways to be physically active. 
  • Try mindful eating
  • Avoid restrictive diets. 
  • Practice self-care and stress management. 
  • Reward yourself with non-food-related items. 
  • Change up your environment. 
  • Seek support. 
  • Stay consistent.

How a Dietitian Can Help You Stay Motivated

A weight loss registered dietitian is trained in nutrition and health and can help you achieve your goals through counseling. 

You’ll receive evidence-based recommendations and unconditional support during your appointments until you reach your goal. 

Find a dietitian near you that accepts insurance using Nourish.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I so unmotivated to lose weight?

There are several reasons why your motivation could fluctuate while trying to lose weight. 

  • You feel pressured by others to lose weight. 
  • The goal isn’t realistic. 
  • Your routine feels boring. 
  • You don’t enjoy your weight loss plan's lifestyle and diet changes.

Although it can be frustrating to have low motivation levels, you can use these moments as an opportunity to reevaluate your next steps.

Contact a dietitian for individualized support.

How do I stay motivated to lose weight?

Reminding yourself of your intrinsic motivators can help you stay motivated to lose weight.

They should align with your values, which could be why you chose to pursue this goal.

Write down your intrinsic motivators and refer to them whenever you need a reminder.

How can I lose 20 pounds in a month?

A healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs per week, which could be 4-8lbs monthly.

Losing more quickly, such as 20 pounds in one month, can be dangerous.

A registered dietitian can help you build a safe weight loss plan.

References

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