It’s common to want to shed a few extra pounds, whether it’s five, ten, or fifteen. However, starting a weight loss journey with enthusiasm is easy, but staying committed to healthy habits and staying motivated when faced with challenges is the real challenge.
It’s all too easy to slip back into unhealthy habits and undo our progress.
To prevent that from happening, you can rely on these proven and effective strategies, backed by science and time-tested, to help you lose weight and maintain your progress.
1. Give Yourself Daily Affirmations
The key to losing weight and keeping it off is finding what motivates you, and spouting daily affirmations—no matter how corny you may feel at first—are proven to work. So, remember: You’re a winner, and nothing is impossible!
2. Use an App
There are loads of apps out there that can help you track calories, find healthy recipes, perform effective workouts, and give you good advice on how to stick with your weight-loss goals. Check reviews, try out a few, and then use the ones that work for you since they can offer you info, accountability, and support that’s tough to find on your own.
3. Switch Up Your Exercises
When you get bored, you’ll fall off your routine. So switch it up! Don’t be afraid to branch out and explore workouts or movements that you enjoy more than the standard gym slog. Maybe you prefer biking to the elliptical, or rowing to the treadmill. Or perhaps hiking local trails or playing basketball at the Y is more your speed—it doesn’t matter, just do it constantly and frequently.
4. Set Realistic Goals
One trap people looking to lose weight often fall into is making goals that can’t physically or realistically be met. Losing 20 pounds in a month is not only unhealthy, but it’s also impossible unless you are starving yourself. Hard-to-meet goals will only frustrate you and push you away from the ultimate goal of a leaner and heathier body.
5. Pinpoint Barriers
Before going into a weight-loss program, try to identify any areas where you will probably slip up—this can help prepare you for the mistake and lessen the sense of failure in your motivation to lose weight. Just don’t make excuses and blame your weaknesses as the reason why you keep failing to meet your goals.
6. Be Mindful
Take a moment each day or week to sit in silence and meditate on your progress. How have you been feeling? What things triggered binges or bad food choices? You don’t have to do it for hours like a Tibetan monk. Just be alone with your thoughts and focus on your progress, or lack of, and try to identify tweaks to make it easier.
7. Add, Don’t Subtract
Don’t think of the whole point of losing weight as taking stuff out of your life (even though fat subtraction is the final goal). A healthier approach is to remind yourself that you are adding in new and healthy things that will hopefully become healthy habits, so tackling weight gain won’t be a big deal. Reframing things is one of the best ways to find the motivation to lose weight.
8. Don’t Eat Late
Chowing down on snacks—or even your full dinner—after about 7 p.m. has been shown to lead to increased body weight, high insulin and cholesterol levels, a sluggish metabolism, and even increased biomarkers for heart disease and diabetes. Try to eat a light and healthy dinner as early as you can and limit snacking after 7.
9. Embrace Discomfort
Making a drastic change to your daily life is never an easy thing to do, but if you’re committed to losing weight then you need to be prepared for some tough choices and uncomfortable decisions. It’s best to just try to embrace the discomfort and suck it up, because the rewards at the end of your weight-loss journey will be worth the pain.
10. Cook More
There’s no more need to make up excuses for not cooking at home—kitchen technology has made it easier than ever to create cheap, healthy dishes, meaning you have all the motivation to lose weight right there in your house. You don’t even have to learn knife skills (though you should). Just get a food processor, look up some slow cooker recipes, and toss in your ingredients. You’ll save money, eat better, and maybe even impress someone.