Give Yourself Some Tough Love
Yes, picturing yourself with your goal physique can be motivating, but for some people, imagining what might happen to you if you don’t lose weight can be even more inspiring.
“I ask my clients what their lives will be like in five, 10, or even 20 years from now if they stay on the same path that they are currently on,” says Matthew Richter-Sand, an Air Force veteran, personal trainer, and founder of NX Fit. “I make them imagine how badly they will feel and how much they’ve missed out on in life—it’s absolutely critical that they’re honest with themselves at this point. It’s too easy to sugarcoat things and pretend like it’s okay. It’s not okay!”
When it comes to losing weight, a little competition goes a long way. According to a study published in the journal Obesity, social influence of team-based weight-loss competitions can help you lose up to 20 percent more weight than you would if you did it alone. Even more interesting is that team captains shed more weight than team members, likely due to their position and involvement in the group competition, the researchers say. So recruit a group of friends or coworkers and lead your team to victory!
Uncover Emotional Obstacles
Sadness and anger are two of the most common reasons people overeat, but food won’t quell either one. Your diary can provide valuable insights into what may be causing you to binge occasionally. Once you start evaluating your eating triggers, you’ll be able to develop more effective strategies to deal with the underlying emotions. Keep in mind, too, that the very act of committing to a diet plan can bring its own challenges.
Ditch the Daily Weigh-In
The scale can be a helpful tool for measuring your progress, but many people get in the habit of weighing themselves too often. “While some research shows that people manage (maintain) their weight better by weighing in daily, the same can’t be said for losing weight,” says Nicole Nichols, editor and fitness expert for SparkPeople.com. Nichols recommends stepping on the scale once a week—or even every two weeks—to better track your progress.
Instagram Each Day
They say a picture is worth a thousand words! Try tracking your progress by creating an Instagram weight-loss diary. Daily photos (we recommend posing right after a great workout or during a healthy meal) can document the changes in your body that you may not otherwise notice—and that the scale won’t always show. Plus, you’ll definitely have a wide variety of before and after pictures to choose from when you’re ready to display your final results!
Surround Yourself with Health
Stock and organize the fridge with healthy, prepped foods in clear containers, present fruit in beautiful bowls on counter tops, get a shoe rack to display your sneakers right by the front door, keep the dirty laundry off exercise equipment, etc. Adjusting your environment to reflect your weight loss and diet intentions can make it that much easier to stay on track.
Set Goals Beyond the Scale
Even if you do everything right, there will be times when the scale won’t budge or the weight just doesn’t seem to come off as quickly as it should. Don’t let that discourage you! Measure your progress in other ways, Nichols says. Set goals for fitness—running or swimming farther, sticking to your routine each day or week—and celebrate each of these mini accomplishments, she says. Or set goals for healthy eating such as packing your lunch for work each day, or drinking 64 ounces of water a day, and celebrate reaching these goals. Celebrating these new milestones is a great way to stay motivated and inspired to stick with your program, even on days (or weeks) when the scale doesn’t seem to reflect your progress.