Others have done it.
So what’s the trick?
How do you get motivated to lose weight, especially when you have a lot of weight to lose?
Lose two pounds a week and it will take you a half a year to lose 50 pounds and a full year to lose 100.
Can you stay motivated for that long?
What if your health depends on it?
Will that give you the drive to keep eating salad when everyone else is eating french fries?
If you are stuck in the “obese” category and want to break free, you have to find the mental strength to string many months of diet and exercise together.
Why Willpower Won’t Get You To Your Goal
Think you can just willpower your way through it? Think again.
Willpower is like a battery that recharges every night and drains with every stressful event during the day.
Each time you encounter a discourteous driver, get annoyed at work or say no to a cookie, you tap into your daily willpower energy reserve.
By dinner, your willpower is near zero, and you still have the evening hours to push through.
To get motivated to lose weight you need to choose a plan that is low stress, yet effective enough to create noticeable changes.
I like to say that a diet needs to follow the 3 E’s, meaning it’s Easy-to-Follow, Effective, and Enjoyable which is why I teach the 4 Daily Habits of Weight Loss.
- EASY-TO-FOLLOW: Having only 4 habits to remember makes weight loss easier.
- EFFECTIVE: The habits are big steps, so the results come fast.
- ENJOYABLE: As long as you follow the 4 habits, you get to enjoy some wiggle room with the rest of your diet.
Are You Motivated By Fast Results?
Most people are, which is why research shows that fast weight loss is easier than slow.
One of the best ways to get motivated when you’re overweight (and stay motivated as the pounds come off) is to lose the fat fast.
You might think you’re not ready to make drastic changes to your diet, but you are.
Think about this.
Small Change Approach…
Let’s say you decided to boost your exercise last week by parking in the farthest spot in the parking lot.
That small change went great for the first half of the week, but the end of the week was nothing but rain.
Those last few days of bone-chilling dampness left you feeling miserable, but you’re a trooper, so you stuck with it and made it to the end of the week. Now it’s time for the reward!
You step on the scale, look down, and see the dreaded result – zero change. Ugh.
Small steps create small results.
Small changes provide little or no incentive to keep going.
Big Change Approach…
Now, let’s look at what happens when you add a big change to your week.
Let’s say that last week you decided to park your car in the farthest spot, AND trade your typical cheeseburger lunch for a salad.
At the end of the week, you were still soggy, but the result on the scale showed that you lost weight!
TAKEAWAY: In both situations, you’re dealing with the discomfort of change, but when you take bigger steps toward your goal, the changes are worth making.
What To Do About A Weight Loss Plateau
Even with a fast weight loss program, you can hit a weight loss plateau.
Weight loss plateaus are frustrating. They can lead you to believe that you’re doing something wrong or worse yet, that there’s something wrong with your body.
In reality, weight loss plateaus are often a simple adjustment period that your body is making.
Pick up a gallon jug of water and you’ll notice that water is heavy.
More than 60% of your body weight is water. Even a 0.05% change in that water level will change the number that shows up on your scale.
Certain foods, like carbs and salt, retain fluids, and sometimes your body holds on to water because it needs it to function.
Retaining water is not always a bad thing, but it will put a temporary hold on your weight loss.
If you’re wondering how to get motivated to lose weight when you’re obese, and you’re emotionally tied to what the bathroom scale is telling you, then check your weight once a month, instead of once a day.
It’s the old, “If a tree falls in the forest thing…” If your weight plateaus, but you didn’t notice it, did it really happen?
The last thing to keep in mind as you figure out how to get motivated to lose weight when you’re obese is this…
Diets Are Easy; It’s Change That’s Hard
Research shows that overweight people relate differently to food when compared to thin people.
Overweight people tend to think about (dare we say, obsess about) food many times a day.
When you’re obese you have a tendency to label foods…
This food is “good”, but this food is “bad”.
The overweight person’s tendency to focus on food creates anxiety.
Going on a diet puts even more focus on food, which creates more anxiety.
As soon as the mountain of anxiety reaches a peak, the diet is over, and you go right back to your old habits.
To get motivated to lose weight when you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, get your focus off of food and onto how you feel.
This change in focus can be easily accomplished using a hunger scale.
When you’re feeling hungry, you want to ask yourself the right question…
Instead of asking yourself, “What can I eat?”
You want to ask yourself, “How hungry am I?”
Then, give your hunger a number from 0 to 10, with zero meaning you have zero hunger, and 10 meaning you’re crazy-hungry.
Research shows that those who learn to live in the middle range of this simple hunger scale have a better relationship with food, which allows them to naturally adjust the amount of food they eat and avoid overeating without effort.
How many calories would that cut out of your day?
Commit to rating your hunger for the next five days, and you will notice your food choices changing. This removes the need for willpower and gives you a sense of being in control. Now that’s motivating!
How To Get Motivated To Lose Weight When Obese – Final Words
Finding the motivation to lose weight when you’ve got a lot of weight to lose is not a matter of finding something out there somewhere, it’s a matter of taking action and keeping your head in the game.
If you found yourself shaking your head in agreement with this article, then here’s what I want you to do.
Follow my 4 Daily Habits for the next three days. Doing this will require some big changes, but you can do that for three days.
On day four, check-in with yourself to see how you feel, you might even want to step on the scale. Do you feel like you accomplished something?
Whenever you’re faced with a situation where you want to do something, but feel overwhelmed by the job, take a big first step.
That’s all it takes to get off the starter’s block and get yourself motivated to lose weight.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.