Here are some tips to help keep you motivated and prevent you from giving up on your goals!
- Take progress pictures! This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you start to workout. Take a front, side and back picture of yourself in a bathing suit. The pictures may make you feel disappointed at first but it will make you even more motivated to get moving! Continue to take the same pictures every week at the same time. Take your pictures and put them side-by-side every week. Sometimes, that may be the only way you notice the changes in your body. When you are looking at yourself in the mirror everyday, it’s hard to see any changes in yourself and it can be so discouraging. At first, the progress will seem slow but think about what your day one picture will look like next to your 3, 6 or 12 month picture. I cant stress enough that this will probably be one of the best things you can do for yourself to stay motivated.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Do you look at women in fitness magazines or on television and movies and wish you could look like them? Do you feel jealous and discouraged? If so, STOP! Everyone’s body is completely different and beautiful in their own way. Some people can eat junk, drink soda, and never count calories in their life but still remain thin. Some can eat a bagel or donut and gain a pound. It would be nice if we could all be in shape without ever having to think twice about what we eat, but it’s not the way it works. Don’t do it because you want to look like “those women”. Do it for your health, self-esteem, and to better yourself, not to try and be like someone else. If you can find a really important reason to get yourself healthy (to be a role model for your kids, to live long enough to see your great grandkids, because diabetes, or some other illness runs in your family), you will find that you will be so much more motivated and it will make all of your hard work so much more rewarding.
- Ignore the scale. The number we see when we step on the scale can be so deceiving. You may be losing inches off of your body even when the scale isn’t changing, or changing very slowly. Muscle is much more dense then fat, so even though your scale isn’t changing, it doesn’t mean that your body isn’t!
- Buy an article of clothing a few sizes smaller that you would love to wear. You could also find an old piece of clothing that you haven’t been able to wear in a long time. Make this your motivation. I bought a pair of jeans without trying them on a few months after having my son that I literally couldn’t get past my knees! Every so often, I would try to get them on. I tried them on every couple weeks and sure enough, they got closer and closer to fitting. Before I knew it, I was able to get them all the way on. I wasn’t able to button them yet, but I had come a long way. I knew if I kept going, I would be able to wear them one day. I waited awhile and tried them on again and I was in complete shock that they went on and buttoned comfortably. Now, they’re too BIG on me. This was a huge accomplishment in my fitness journey. When they finally fit, it motivated me even more to keep going!
- Find an accountability partner. If there’s someone you know who has also mentioned wanting to lose weight or start eating healthier, whether it’s a co-worker, friend, or family member, ask them if they’d like to make a plan and hold each other accountable. If you don’t have anyone, you could join an online forum or facebook group, which was what worked really well for me. I loved sharing my story, getting advice and finding people who were doing the same programs or had the same goals.
- Find better ways to deal with your emotions. Our feelings can play a huge part in our eating habits. When we’re happy, sad, stressed, mad or bored, we usually eat, right? We also eat out of habit; because we’re watching TV, celebrating an accomplishment or feeling stressed after a long day. Find something else to do instead! Go for a run, drink a cup of tea, read a book, play a board game with your family, etc. If you find other ways to occupy yourself, you will find that the pounds will start shedding off. It’s a hard adjustment but you can make it easier by having small portions of healthy snacks ready to grab, stop keeping junk around the house, and keep a book and a crossword on your nightstand or coffee table. And most importantly, break the habit of opening the fridge every time your emotions get the best of you.
- Set a day each week to write out a meal plan and grocery list. I write out all of my meals for the week along with my grocery list on Saturday and go shopping and prep my food on Sundays. If you plan all of your meals ahead of time and already have all the ingredients on hand, you are much more likely to stick to it. It’s also important to ONLY buy the things on your grocery list. Not only does it save money from impulse buying, it also will keep you from buying junk that is not in your meal plan. I plan out my breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks before I go shopping.
- Buy yourself some new workout clothes and sneakers. If you splurge a little on workout gear, you’re more likely to want to get some use out of them. Buy a few colorful tanks/t-shirts with some matching sneakers. You will feel great in them, which will motivate you to get going! And who would want to spend their hard earned money on workout clothes and not get any use out of them!?