Your number one tool when you’re losing weight (other than dietMD Hawaii, of course!) is your mindset. Your success is going to depend, to a large extent, on your motivation to lose weight.
Motivation alone won’t do it, of course. You’ll need some flexibility and creativity to help you create new healthy habits so that motivation won’t have to do all the heavy lifting alone.
Choose the Motivators That Work For You
Motivation is an individual thing, just like weight loss. What works for you may not be the same as what works for another. Choose the weight loss motivators that work for you, but don’t make the common motivation mistakes that can lead you to self-sabotage.
Motivators to Avoid
1 – Rewarding Yourself With Food
This is one of the biggest mistakes (or forms of self-sabotage) that new dieters commonly make. It’s not surprising, really. We tend to act the parent to ourselves when we’re trying to change our behaviors, and our parents often used food rewards to get the desired behavior.
So while rewarding yourself is good, food rewards have to be “off the table”, so to speak. No treats, no candy bars, no binge days or rich restaurant meals as weight loss rewards. I’m not saying you can never have a piece of birthday cake again – I’m saying it shouldn’t be a reward for sticking to your diet.
“Don’t reward yourself with food. You are not a dog.”
Choose to reward yourself with things you enjoy – non-food treats such as new music, new clothes for your slimmer self, a haircut or salon visit, a massage, excursions that keep you active such as windsurfing or rollerblading, new classes such as yoga or Tai Chi. Activities that create memories make great rewards.
2 – Focusing Only On What The Scale Says
It’s understandable that people who are trying to lose weight become a bit obsessed with what the scale says. There’s weight loss research that discusses how important it is for new dieters to see fast and measurable results. However, your weight on the scale isn’t the only way to see progress. You can help your motivation to lose weight with other ways of tracking your progress.
Measuring your chest, biceps, waist, hip, thigh and calf dimensions can help you see weight drop. Write your measurements down, and take them at the same time (morning) each day. Feeling your jeans zip up more easily can help you understand that your body is trading fat for muscle, even when the scale isn’t showing a big shift. Using a body fat caliper can help you measure fat loss more directly. If you exercise for muscle-building, remember that muscle weighs more than fat (but takes up MUCH less space). Your body is going through a process of restructuring itself in a more healthy way. Don’t forget the “before” pictures, either!
Your weight will drop over time, your Body Mass Index (BMI) will drop, and you’ll feel better… but sometimes a few days will pass with no weight loss. That’s normal. Don’t see the scale as the only indicator of progress. If you know you’ve finally managed to cut out soda, or you can walk upstairs without becoming out of breath, you’re making progress even when the scale doesn’t (yet) show it.
3 – Expecting Too Much, Too Fast
It took time to gain extra weight, and probably a lot of bad eating habits too. It will take longer to lose all of the excess weight than it took to gain it, so don’t expect that you can recover your high-school figure (or dream figure) in a few weeks. Beating up on yourself isn’t good for your motivation to lose weight. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Healthy weight loss is normally in the area of .5 to 2 pounds per week. With medical weight loss, we can accelerate this safely and comfortably, and it’s not uncommon for dietMD Hawaii patients to lose up to 30 pounds in the first month. However, if you’re losing weight on your own, it’s unlikely that you can achieve results like that safely. That’s okay… even at an average half-pound per week, it will take less than a year to completely change your health situation.
“Remember that 80% of your success will depend on how you eat!”
Expecting too much of yourself is discouraging and harmful to your maintaining your motivation. It’s important to notice and celebrate the progress you make each week, and give yourself credit for the improvements you are making. If you focus on what you don’t have, or the weight you haven’t yet lost, you’re self-sabotaging and positioning yourself for failure.
A Lifetime Of Good Health
Remember what’s at stake here. Obesity is a killer, detracting from both the length and quality of your life. Your decision to lose weight is one of the best choices you’ve ever made, so do everything you can to support yourself, keep your motivation to lose weight, and avoid sabotaging your weight loss efforts.