We all know how to lose weight. Eat healthy, be active — basically burn more calories than we take in. Knowing how to lose weight is the easy part. It’s the motivation, self-control and daily habits that keep us from reaching our weight loss goals. We live in a world filled with temptation, and that makes weight loss more of a mental challenge than a physical one.
The only way to take weight off and keep it off is through consistency in your eating habits, activity level and mental well-being. You do NOT need to be perfect, but your lifestyle should consist of 80% or more of healthy habits. To start off, make a plan because a goal without a plan is just a dream.
1. Your mental health is your #1 Priority
Your mental health is probably the most important tool in reaching your weight loss goals. Weight loss isn’t a physical challenge, it’s a mental challenge. You have to stay positive, love yourself, and focus on being grateful for your body and what’s it’s capable of. When we practice feeling gratitude, we can really attract just about anything we want.
5. Download an App
If you’re not already using a weight loss tracker, you should start! They help keep you accountable and make eating the optimal amount of calories easy. Although there are quite a few of them, there are 2 Apps that I’ve tried and really like: My Fitness Pal and Lose It!. They are both very similar but with some slight variations. I like how My Fitness Pal tells you at the end of each day about how much you’d weigh in 5 weeks or so if every day you were to eat and exercise the same as you did that day, but Lose It! is my favorite because you can scan bar codes with it to make tracking your food easier.
6. Make drinking enough water a habit
Use a permanent marker on one or more of your water bottles to give yourself water goals throughout the day. Keep it at your desk, in your car, on the counter, or wherever else it’s handy and sip on it during the day, trying to stay within your goal. This will give you an idea of how much water you’re drinking and what times of the day you tend to not get enough.
7. Motivational jars for weight loss
What a unique and fun way to stay motivated! Each marble or pebble is a nice visual reminder of what you’ve accomplished. Just about any glass jars will do, and you could substitute the marbles for other small items, too.
8. Stretch while watching tv
Stretching is the one thing that I always forget to do. ALWAYS. I have to set aside time and plan it, otherwise I neglect to do it. Unfortunately, you don’t realize the importance of it until you get injured. And if you’re injured, it’s nearly impossible to stay active and lose weight. My solution to that is making stretching part of my TV time towards the end of the night. Get up during the commercials and make it a point to stretch until the end, and then repeat for the next.
9. Put leftovers away before eating
If you are like me and tend to go back for seconds even though you’re not hungry, put away your leftovers before you sit down to eat. It’s unlikely that you’ll dig into the fridge for another bite, but if you have it sitting out on the counter it’s hard to resist. Why tempt yourself?
10. Prepare for your workout the night before
Some of us (ME) just aren’t morning people. It’s not easy being motivated when you’re half asleep. This is why you should do everything you can the night before to make getting ready for your workout easier. Set aside everything you’ll need (shorts, sports bra, shirt, socks, shoes, iPod, head phones, gym card, etc.) and put it all in one place for the morning. I even go as far as filling up my water bottle and storing it in the fridge the night before. You might even consider sleeping in your gym clothes sans the sports bra.
11. Keep your weights close by
Instead of dedicating and setting aside time every day to strength train, break it up and make working out fun by doing little bits here and there. Keep your dumbbells out where they can be easily seen so that you’ll use them in your down time. You can get a pretty good workout just during commercial breaks! You could also bring a few to work and keep them under your desk.
12. Hang your bikini on a mirror
Keep your bikini or swimsuit out where you can see it every day! This is especially important in the winter months when we are covered up in our jeans and sweaters, and tend to let ourselves go a little. You could also do this with a dress or other outfit that you’re working hard to fit into for a special occasion.
13. Flavor up your water
We all know that drinking lots of water aids in weight loss, but it sure does get boring! Dice up and freeze a month’s supply of organic fruit like raspberries, strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes, or any other fruit you’d like and add it to your water bottles. It flavors it AND keeps it cold. You could also freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and pop them in there. It’s the little things like this that make your workout and drinking water more exciting!
14. Have some mouthwash handy
Some people swear by chewing gum to keep their sweet tooth at bay, but peppermint mouthwash is what does it for me! Keep a bottle handy at your desk at work, in the kitchen, or anywhere else where a snack attack is bound to happen. And, use it right away after a meal so you’re less likely to crave something sweet. You could even change the label on it to say something like “Magic Appetite Suppressant”. Have some fun and imagine that it really is a secret potion that keeps you from eating. Sometimes it’s all in your head.
15. Compile a few fun music playlists
Music is a huge part of why I love running so much. It’s my time to escape and listen to some of my favorite songs. To help keep yourself motivated, make a playlist that is ONLY for your workouts. You will look forward to exercising more knowing that you get to listen to a fresh playlist.
16. Allocate a snack section for only yourself
Stocking your kitchen with healthy food and keeping temptation food on the shelves at the grocery store is ideal, but let’s face it, most of us have husbands, kids, or roommates. Keep a separate section in the your refrigerator and cabinets that is just for you. And spend an hour or so each week making fruits, veggies, and other healthy snacks easier to eat and take on-the-go. You’re less likely to eat the eggs you boiled if they aren’t peeled, but if you peel them all ahead of time and place them in individual bags, you’ll eat them! Sometimes it just comes down to convenience.
17. Reward yourself
You can make it something as easy as treating yourself with a new purse with 5 lbs lost, a spa day with 10 lbs lost, or how about this idea: place a dollar in a jar for every time you exercise. It’s a fun way to reward yourself and stay motivated to workout at the same time. Think of this as your reward money to splurge on whatever you’d like!
18. Switch to a stand up desk
Most of us spend a lot of time in front of our computer, whether it’s just for a few hours a day at home, or perhaps a job that requires it. It’s a lifestyle that most of us can’t avoid, but if you can switch to a stand up desk you’ll naturally burn more calories every day and improve your posture and mood. It’s your lifestyle that really matters in your long term weight goals, and this is one way to be more active without changing your job or computer habits. To ease into the change, consider a tall chair so you can sit and stand throughout your day.
19. Exercise for reasons other than losing weight
Exercising consistently week after week can be hard if your only goal is weight loss. Believe me, the scale can lie! It doesn’t take into account your body composition (fat vs. muscle), and sometimes results can be slow. If you can remind yourself (maybe even make a list) of all of the other reasons why you exercise, you’re more likely to make it part of your life. Imagine yourself one or more years from now and how different you would look and feel with regular and consistent exercise vs. not exercising at all.
20. Wear more flattering workout clothes
Looking and feeling good goes a long way towards staying confident and motivated. If you have gym clothes that make you look and feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to keep a regular workout routine. And if you can afford it, get a makeover while you’re at it! Just because you are not at the weight you want to be now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel your best. Building your confidence NOW will help you stay motivated and on track.
21. Stick reminders everywhere
Sticky Notes! I use these things all of the time as reminders. I stick them to my computer monitor to help remember tasks that I need to get done throughout the day, but they also work wonders in helping you stay motivated! Write inspirational quotes on them and place them in places that you visit often during the day such as your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, the snack cabinet, your desk, and so on.