Fifty-one percent of American adults say they want to lose weight, but only half of those people actively work towards their goals. We get it: weight loss requires a daily commitment, and when healthy fat loss happens at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week, it can take a long time to reach your goal. During some weeks, you may even gain some weight back, making you wonder if it’s all worth it.
But don’t give up! It’s true what they say: you didn’t gain all the weight overnight, and you can’t expect to lose it overnight. But with slow and steady progress towards your goal, you can get down to your goal weight. Follow these tips to stay motivated.
- Tap into your why. Write down all the reasons you want to lose weight. Do you want to have more energy to play with your kids? Rock your favorite skinny jeans again? Look great at your high school reunion? It doesn’t matter how small or silly your reasons may seem — write them all down, and keep the list in a place where you can refer to it when you feel like giving up.
- Set non-scale goals. The number on the scale tells only part of the story. Your weight may remain stable for a while even if your health is improving in other ways. Look at other important health milestones you can achieve on your way to your goal weight. Maybe your blood pressure is improving. Maybe your clothes fit better or you can walk up the three flights of stairs to work without feeling winded. Don’t let these accomplishments go unnoticed! Write them all down and review your list periodically — you might be surprised to see how far you’ve come.
- Enlist a buddy. If you feel like you’re in it all alone, it’ll be easier to give up. But if you know someone else is cheering you on, you won’t want to let them down. And if you’re both trying to lose weight, you’ll be able to sympathize with each other’s struggles. Plus, you can try new things together, like signing up for a 5k. If you don’t know anyone else who wants to lose weight, join a weight-loss group in your area to meet some new people. Or join weight-loss groups on Facebook and ask if there’s anyone in your area looking for an accountability partner.
- Renew your commitment every week. Don’t just coast toward your goals — take time every week to review them and re-evaluate as needed. What worked for you over the past week, and what didn’t? What can you do differently? See if you can identify any new triggers that arose for you, and develop strategies for dealing with them in the future.
- Create a healthy home environment. Get the tempting snacks out of the house, and buy only healthy foods. Tell your family that only healthy foods are allowed in the house — no sugary cereals or processed snacks for the kids. Get your family’s buy-in by getting them involved in all aspects of meal preparation — teach kids how to shop for and prepare healthy foods, and you won’t just be creating a healthier environment for yourself, you’ll also be setting them up with habits that will keep them healthy as they get older.
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Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on May 26, 2017