How do you stay motivated when weight loss is slow?
If you’re wondering how to stay motivated when your weight loss slows down…here are five surefire strategies you need to put in place.
Let’s face it, most of us want to lose weight as fast as humanly possible.
But unlike what you see on Instagram, losing weight isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s often a slow process, which can make it hard to stay motivated.
So if it feels like you’re not getting results fast enough, and your motivation is starting to fade…
I’m going to share five strategies to keep your motivation high and your momentum moving in the right direction.
Let’s start with Strategy #1.
1. Move beyond the scale.
When most people think of getting fit, they make the mistake of believing the numbers should fall every time they weigh themselves. But, there are two problems with this way of thinking…
First, the scale is one way to measure progress, but it’s far from being the only way. And if we’re being honest, it’s not even the best way.
So before you start stressing out about how much weight you are (or aren’t) losing, you need to know that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of factors that affect your weight.
The day of the week, how much you’ve had to eat, what you ate yesterday, how much water you’ve had to drink. The list goes on and on…
To add to that, many scales don’t take into account your body composition and whether you’re losing fat and gaining muscle, and that’s just *one* of the many reasons it looks like the numbers won’t budge.
The second problem with the scale (and maybe the most important reason to stop worrying about what it says) is that what you see can impact your mood for the entire day.
Let’s look at the effect gaining or losing weight can have…
Say you weigh yourself and you’ve lost a few pounds. You’re on cloud 9. And rightly so, progress *is* motivating. And it’s great to be excited, unless…we tell ourselves we can eat more as a reward for all our hard work.
When we use food as a reward for making progress, we’ll find that we’re going to walk a long and frustrating road.
And what happens when people weigh themselves and they’ve gained weight?
I can tell you from over a decade of coaching, that gaining weight can trigger a flood of negative emotions. So many people step off the scale feeling they’ve just been hit with a wave of guilt, shame, and frustration. And as you can imagine, negative emotions can trigger emotional eating, which only serves to slow progress even more.
Now, that’s not to say we should avoid the scale, and I’m not trying to convince you to stop weighing yourself. A scale is a helpful tool, and regular weigh-ins make us aware of where we’re at and let us know if we need to adjust what we’re doing. But if the scale is wreaking havoc on your motivation and slowing progress, maybe it’s time to take out the batteries.
“If the scale is wreaking havoc on your motivation and slowing progress, maybe it’s time to take out the batteries.”
Instead of focusing solely on your weight, start tracking progress in other areas of your health and fitness.
Track your steps, your activity, your sleep. Or even better, track how you feel, how much energy you have, how your clothes fit…
Here’s the thing, guys. Getting fit is more than a number. It’s about feeling more confident, making healthier choices, being happier, and it’s about building healthy habits that last — so you never have to worry how much you weigh ever again.
And speaking of building healthy habits. This leads us into Strategy #2:
2. Look for the goal behind your goal.
When it’s clear that losing weight is taking longer than you thought…it’s demotivating. And to make matters worse, getting frustrated at a lack of progress is why people quit trying.
So if you think it’s time to give up, think again. It’s not time to stop. It’s time to think about what the *real* goal is.
“It’s not time to stop. It’s time to think about what the *real* goal is.”
Ask yourself, “What’s my goal in the first place?” Is it to lose weight, or is it something far more meaningful?
You see, when most people start a diet, they weigh themselves, subtract X number of pounds, and set a number to shoot for.
Now, don’t get me wrong, setting a goal weight is great. In fact, it’s a terrific first step because it gives you something concrete to go after.
But when we define success as a number, we run into several problems. One of the biggest problems is what happens to so many when they hit their goal weight…
…they stop doing what made them successful!
“The number one reason people stop seeing success is they stop doing what made them successful.”
They stop pausing before they eat, they don’t take a moment to ask themselves whether they’re physically hungry or hungry to change how they feel, and they give up on all the habits they’ve been working so hard to build.
Getting fit (and staying there) isn’t a thirty-day challenge where you call it quits on Day 30. Real success is finding a way of eating and exercising you’re happy with and can see yourself doing…well, forever.
You see, the key to getting fit is consistency. But to be consistent, the plan your following has to match the realities of your life. Because if it doesn’t, you’ll always be looking for a way out. That’s why at MyBodyTutor, our goal is for you to find a diet that passes “The Five-Year Test.”
Here’s the gist: Before you start a diet, ask, “Can I see myself eating like this in 5 years?” If the answer is no, keep looking until you can honestly answer yes.
If you want to have a “breakthrough” moment and find your motivation then look for the goal behind your goal.
Think about what success actually is, and define what it means to you. If you want to lose twenty pounds, that’s great, but isn’t real success changing how you feel and think about food? Isn’t it about building habits that last?
What if the goal isn’t to lose weight? What if the goal is to change, and weight loss just happens to be a wonderful side effect?
“What if the goal isn’t to lose weight? What if the goal is to change, and weight loss just happens to be a wonderful side effect?”
When your goal is more than just a number on the scale, you see that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow your progress feels because you know you’ll get there.
The path is long, but the journey is short when you create habits that get you closer every day…
Weight loss isn’t a sprint, and it’s not a competition. No matter what speed you’re moving, you’ll get there eventually when you focus on change.
Okay, let’s move to Strategy #3:
3. Don’t let the numbers mislead you.
When the scale won’t budge, it’s hard to get motivated. I get it. At some point, we all get frustrated with the lack of progress. That’s why one of the most common questions we get is what to do when you hit a plateau.
For some, it may have been weeks or even months since you’ve seen any movement. But understand that doesn’t mean you’re not making progress.
When it feels like you’re in a stall, remember “The Stonecutter’s Credo”:
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” -Jacob Riis
The scale, just like the rock, is deceiving. It doesn’t show all the work you’ve put in. And there’s no progress bar showing you how long you have left.
So don’t let the numbers mislead you…and don’t let the scale stop you!
I know we all want to believe in “overnight success” stories, but those don’t exist; they’re just stories.
Behind every true success story, you’ll find consistency, you’ll find persistence, and you’ll find someone doing the work — even if they don’t feel like they’re making any progress.
When it feels like you’re not moving forward, you are. When it feels like you’re not losing weight fast enough, don’t forget that it’s consistency, not speed, that matters most.
Just think back to what you felt like a month ago, six months ago, or even a year ago. When you step back and see how far you’ve come *that’s* when you’ll feel motivated.
“Just because you aren’t making progress as fast as you think you should doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.”
Next, we have Strategy #4:
4. Control what you can control.
You expected to lose more weight by now…but didn’t. You expected to be able to run further or faster by now…but aren’t.
When you expect one thing and get another, what you’re left with is an “expectation gap.” And what fills those gaps? Disappointment.
Have you ever ordered a well-done hamburger at a restaurant, but what you got is medium-rare? Have you ever wanted to get home from work on time to spend time with your family, but spend two hours stuck in traffic? It’s enough to make you angry, isn’t it?
When things don’t turn out the way you expect, it’s easy to get frustrated — especially when we’re talking about losing weight.
When you’re making what seems like all the right changes, but the weight still isn’t coming off…there’s no other way to say it, it’s demotivating.
And when you continually set expectations that don’t work out as you planned, it’s easy to think…
“I’m not good enough” or “This isn’t for me” or worse, “I’m ready to quit.”
So if the problem is imagining an expectation that doesn’t come true, is the answer to not set expectations or to set lower expectations? I don’t believe it is. I think we need high expectations to push ourselves further than we thought we could go.
To set the right expectations they need to meet one rule…they should be 100% within our control.
You see, we might not be able to control what we weigh when we step on the bathroom scale, but we can control the reasons why we eat. To set realistic expectations, the secret is to first ask what you have control over and focus your energy on those things.
Far too often, we obsess over how much weight we’re losing (or not losing) when what we should obsess over is consistency. Worrying about things outside your control only takes your focus off of what you can.
“Far too often, we obsess over how much weight we’re losing (or not losing) when what we should obsess over is consistency.”
Let’s move on to the final strategy, Strategy #5:
5. Look at the bigger picture.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more demotivating than feeling like you’ll never actually get to your goal. When we feel like we’re not making progress fast enough and we should be further along than what we are, the thought we have is…
“If this is going to take forever, then why bother?”
The unfortunate truth is this is the point where most people quit. But consider this, you didn’t come this far to only come this far.
“You didn’t come this far to only come this far!”
When we’re frustrated, we want to make a rash decision. But what we need to do is take a step back and let ourselves think this through.
Get this, every person that has ever quit out of frustration looks back on their decision with regret and wishes they would’ve given it some time.
When you look at the situation with a clear mind, you would never give up all the progress you’ve made to start over at square one. It’d be like us setting out to drive across the country, getting frustrated because we’re not there yet, and turning around and going home.
No one would ever do that. Yeah, it’s a long drive, but we know we’ll eventually get there. So why don’t we think like that when it comes to losing weight? Because we’re wired to make decisions based on emotion.
When your weight loss feels slow and frustration starts taking over, give yourself a “cool down” period.
Emotions come in waves, and what you’re feeling now isn’t what you’ll feel tomorrow or the next day. That’s why we’re not excited, happy, angry — or motivated — all the time.
You’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t like the weather in [insert the place where you live], just wait 5 minutes — it’ll change!” The same is true for motivation. Don’t make a hasty decision that’ll leave you starting over next month. Focus on consistency, control what you can control, and that feeling of motivation *will* come back around.
So that’s it guys, I really hope I’ve helped shine a light on why you lose motivation when weight loss is slow and how to beat it when you use these five strategies.
If you enjoyed these strategies, be sure to join our free weight loss mini-course, where I’ll show you why diets fail and how to change your relationship with food, and you’ll discover what every diet you tried before was missing.
As a bonus for signing up, you’ll also get my “10 Best Weight Loss Tips” eBook. I’ve been a weight loss and accountability coach for over a decade, and the tips I share are what actually works.
If you know *what* to do but just can’t make yourself do it…
If it feels like you’ve tried “everything under the sun.”…
If you’re tired of making and breaking promises to yourself…
MyBodyTutor solves the biggest problem in health and fitness — the lack of consistency. And we do that by simplifying the process of getting fit into practical, sustainable behaviors and giving you the daily accountability and support it takes to stick to your plan.