You’ve made the decision to lose weight, and you’re serious about it this time. With so many temptations in our society— from the delicious billboards telling you to turn right to get to the golden arches or that brand new season on Netflix that’s begging you to do nothing but sit, watch, and not move for hours and hours— it can be hard for you to stick to your guns and develop the habits that every fit man has.
Here are some tips to help keep you motivated to lose that weight, and to help you stay committed to reaching your health goals.
Set Realistic Expectations
It’s important to accept that you’re not going to lose 10+ pounds in one week, no matter what some sort of magic pill or extreme exercise plan promises you. While some popular diets have proven to help you lose weight quickly, like the keto or paleo diet, they are arguably not very healthy and can lead to long-term health issues in the future.
If you’re looking for a realistic timeline to hit your goal weight, then the most you can expect to lose is two pounds a week, and that’s if you’re doing everything perfectly.
If you have a specific weight in mind that you want to reach, take this timeline into consideration and pair it with the lifestyle you plan to live. You’ll see results much faster if you make big changes to your diet and the amount of physical activity that you get than if you start with small lifestyle changes.
This doesn’t mean that small changes are bad. In fact, starting small can help you be more successful in the long run. Either way, be sure to match your weight loss expectations to the work that you plan on doing. That way, instead of being discouraged about not losing 50 pounds in one month, you can be excited about the progress you did make during that time.
Follow a Routine
Humans are psychologically programmed to have a consistent routine for our day-to-day lives. Once we become comfortable with a schedule that we like, it’s extremely difficult for most of us to stray away from it.
This is why it’s incredibly important to incorporate your weight-loss goals into a routine that you already have, or establish a completely new routine that easily fits your weight-loss strategies into your day-to-day.
If you know that you want to start going to the gym more often, just buying a membership won’t motivate you enough to get you in the door. You have to be strategic about which gym you choose to go to, and when you want to go.
If you choose a gym that’s already on your commute home from work, and you decide that you’ll go after work for one hour every other day, then you’re significantly more likely to go to the gym than if you join a gym further away from where you live and just say “I’ll go whenever I have time.” Make sure that you bring your gym supplies with you so that way you won’t have to stop home first, which can break up your routine.
If you’re new to working out, look for a helpful gym guide that can teach you what you need to have with you for a great work out.
This goes for your eating habits as well. You may find that picking up a pizza on your way home at the end of the day is way easier than cooking a full-blown dinner, especially when you can’t remember the last time you went grocery shopping and you have no idea what food is in your house right now.
This is where having a consistent routine comes in handy. Instead of going out every night to eat, try making Sunday your meal-prep day and cook all of your dinners for the rest of the week. That way you’ll have a healthy meal waiting for you as soon as you get in the door. Additionally, plan to go grocery shopping every two or three weeks so that way you’ll know that you have all the ingredients needed to make your healthy meals.
Once you’ve got a schedule that’s manageable for you, don’t break it! The key is to be as consistent as possible and to try very hard not to deviate from this routine. Before you know it, these healthy habits will become second nature, so much so that to not do them will feel strange to you.
Join a Weight Loss Program
If you’re having trouble forming a routine that works for you, or you’re still not sure of what habits you should be developing and which ones you should be getting rid of, then look into finding a program that can help guide you in the right direction.
Try to find something that will hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set for yourself, but that also celebrates small milestones with you. You’ll want to make sure that you’re joining a trusted weight loss program, like WW (formerly Weight Watchers), who’s strategies have been scientifically proven to work. That way, you can be sure that the habits you’re forming within the program are sustainable and effective.
Weight loss programs are also great for getting support from other people who are also going through a weight loss journey. These people, whether it be the professionals helping you develop a healthier lifestyle or other users who have similar goals as you, will be able to relate to all the temptations that are keeping you from reaching your goal weight and they’ll be able to offer realistic solutions to the problems you’re facing.
Sometimes all you need is a push from an external force, so don’t be afraid to find a program that can do that for you.
Focus On Your Wins, Not Your Losses
Nobody’s perfect, especially when they’re trying to do something that they’ve never done before or that they’re not quite familiar with. It’s completely natural to find yourself skipping the gym every once in a while or having one too many donuts in the office break room. The key is to not beat yourself up over the things that you shouldn’t be doing, but rather celebrate when you do the things you’re supposed to do.
Give yourself a pat on the back when you stay at the gym a full hour even though you had a cold, and let yourself be proud when you have a salad for lunch instead of the usual burger and fries.
These celebrations don’t only have to come after a good choice, either. Look for reasons to celebrate any improvements in the way that you look and feel. Let yourself be excited when you realize that walking up the stairs is easier than it used to be, and let yourself be proud to post that picture of you fitting into your old jeans on Instagram.
The more you congratulate yourself on a job well done, the more you’ll be motivating yourself to continue on your journey and you’ll realize that making these lifestyle changes isn’t that hard after all.