Did you know that 41.9% of adults in the United States are considered obese? That’s nearly half of all adults in the nation.
If that statistic doesn’t alarm you, it should, considering obesity is associated with a range of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, sleep apnea and various cancers. (While there are many treatment options for obesity that can help you achieve your weight goals, here are a few starter tips to help you stay motivated on your journey.)
So why does it seem so difficult for millions of Americans to stay motivated on their weight-loss journeys? Well, it all begins with knowing that you won’t always be motivated. When you can’t find that drive you’re so desperately looking for, it’s essential to develop discipline in order to form and maintain healthy habits.
Discipline can be defined as choosing what you want the most over what you want now. And while you may have a solid reason to act on your desire and necessity to lose weight, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be up for a hard workout at the gym. It’s more than likely you won’t be up for it, and you will want to sit back and vegetate after a hard day’s work.
The good news is that lack of motivation is a very normal reaction to embarking on a new journey that requires hard work and discipline, especially a weight-loss journey. The bad news is that the key to staying motivated is creating new habits and routines that lead to improved self-discipline you can rely on to get the desired results.
Say Goodbye to Fleeting Motivation and Hello to Healthy New Habits
Think about it this way: many things you do on a daily basis are centered around routine, right down to your body’s circadian rhythm (your internal clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours).
Here’s why that’s critical to your weight-loss journey: You are in control of everything, especially the habits and routines that shape your life.
Forming new habits and routines will always be challenging, but know that you can do it if you break it down into micro-goals you can track along the way. Now, you may be wondering what habits you need to implement in order to stay motivated for weight loss, so let’s dive in. (Kickstart your journey with these medically assisted weight-loss options.)
Habit 1: Set a goal to complete workouts with moderate to intense physical activity 2 – 3 times per week, then adjust.
Did you know you don’t have to exercise every single day to lose weight? Your body needs rest and recovery just as much as physical activity. That being said, it’s important you incorporate moderate to intense exercise into your weekly routine.
The magic question is always, “how many times a week?” While there is no right or wrong answer, the best way to start a new (and maybe somewhat uncomfortable) habit is to start slow. Try not to push yourself into overdrive by forcing yourself to exercise every day because this can quickly cause burnout, leading you back to square one.
Instead, start slow, with a small change that feels manageable for you to fit into your everyday responsibilities. Choose a form of exercise you enjoy. This could be weight training, jumping rope, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing or any other moderate to intense form of exercise. Once you find the type of exercise you truly enjoy, work it into your weekly schedule just two or three times a week. You’ll likely become more and more self-motivated after accomplishing smaller goals you’ve set for yourself.
Now that you’ve created a plan, this is where the discipline kicks in. Push through the sluggishness and the post-work temptation to lie on the couch with a bag of chips and get your body moving. Stick with this for one month and track your progress in a notebook or your cellphone. You might just surprise yourself with how consistent you can truly be.
Your overall consistency matters most on your weight-loss journey, and sometimes, that means missing a session or two because, well, you’re human, after all. If you make it to the end of month one with perfect (or near-perfect) consistency, consider adding another day of physical activity to each week’s worth of exercise sessions to stretch yourself further. If you didn’t, that’s OK; just keep going until you begin to see yourself become more consistent with your new routine, and don’t give up if you aren’t 100% perfect 100% of the time.
This healthy habit (and the next four) can help you reach your goals and fuel your determination to keep going.
Habit 2: Track Your Current Daily Caloric Intake and Adjust
Staying motivated and disciplined for weight loss requires more than just dedicating time to exercise. You’ll also want to evaluate your current eating habits and overall diet. Be honest with yourself when evaluating what your nutrition may look like. Ask yourself:
- Is my diet balanced?
- Am I lacking more of a certain food group?
- Am I consuming too much sugar or processed foods?
Take a deep dive into your diet by analyzing your current eating habits for one week and record them on paper or in your phone. Document everything you eat in a day, then research those foods to determine their caloric value.
If you identify that you are over-consuming, consider adjusting your daily caloric intake with a slight calorie deficit. While the exact number of calories to decrease varies from person to person, tracking your current intake will at least help you determine a baseline number for where to start. Remember to start small because, just like beginning a new exercise regime, as reducing calories must be done in a slow, healthy and manageable manner.
Becoming more in tune with your nutrition is great for your overall health and will significantly help you achieve your weight loss goals, sparking your continued motivation to keep at it.
Habit 3: Schedule time to shop for and cook quick, easy and nutritious meals.
After evaluating your eating habits, you may find that you’re in need of a major upheaval in your diet. You can aid your weight loss journey by beginning a new habit that improves the quality of the food you’re eating. Each week, schedule time to shop and cook balanced meals that are easy, budget-friendly and nutritious — yes, all three are possible!
Dedicating time to making meals yourself helps you stay in control of the ingredients you’re consuming. Many options at fast food chains or other quick-service restaurants offer meals that contain harmful additives and preservatives with refined carbohydrates, high levels of fat, salt, sugar and more. These additives have been linked to obesity and chronic disease across the nation.
Once you get into the groove of cooking your own meals, you’ll likely notice exciting changes in how you look and feel, fueling your motivation to keep the journey going.
Habit 4: Supplement your physical activity with 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day.
Walking might just be the most underrated form of exercise that can elevate your weight-loss journey and overall health to new heights. According to FitBit, completing an extra 10,000 steps daily typically burns about 2,000 to 3,500 extra calories each week. Not only this, but it also significantly decreases your risk of death by 50 to 70%.
This one speaks for itself with those types of statistics — so aim to supplement your weekly exercise routine with 8,000 steps. It’s OK to start small and increase your step goal as you hit consistent benchmarks.
Need help tracking your steps? Your phone may have come with a health app that includes a step counter. If not, head to the app store on your phone and search for a step counter. There’s no shortage of free apps you can use for this.
The more steps you get in the habit of getting in per day, the easier it will get and the more you’ll be inspired to push yourself to the next level.
Habit 5: Track your progress!
This one is easily the most important of them all! Before implementing any of the above habits, don’t forget to track your progress toward your goals.
Whether it’s through pictures, the scale, how your clothes are fitting, notes on your phone, a fitness journal or all of the above, remember to use this historical data to continue making new goals, pivot existing goals, and most importantly, pat yourself on the back for the hard work you’re putting in on your weight-loss journey!
Lose Weight With the Guidance of a Medical Professional
If you’re struggling to lose weight and become healthy but need assistance, medically supervised weight loss may be the solution for you. At Olympia Pharmacy, we offer weight-management programs that equip you with supplements and medications to augment your diet and exercise plan, supporting safe and effective weight loss.
Begin your journey today by learning more about our weight management solutions.Explore Weight-Loss Solutions