How to Stay Motivated When you’ve Lost Weight, but Have More to Go
This question came to me yesterday and I wanted to make sure I shared it, along with my response, here because I thought it could be beneficial to anyone who is currently facing the same problem. The first part deals with how to stay motivated and stop making excuses to work out when you formerly had the zeal and zest to do so.
It’s a very common problem people face, especially after they’ve lost a lot of weight and the weight loss has slowed or they’ve hit a plateau. Thankfully, the answers are not so complicated and difficult to turning things around – in fact there are pretty simple and effective solutions. My answer to this aspect of the question can be found here.
The second part of the question deals with how to prevent backsliding on your diet/exercise regimen and tap back into the motivation you once had specifically after you’ve lost a lot of weight but still have more to go.
Here’s the question and my answer to part II follows.
Ok. I’ve lost 127 lbs. I hurt my knee pretty bad and needed surgery. I am fully recovered but I’m having suck a hard time with being motivated this time around and I don’t know why. I loved working out before and looked forward to it. Now I find myself making excuses not to. My surgery was 15 months ago. I gained 4 lbs right after surgery because I couldnt move much. I have not gained anything else, just the 4. I also find myself eating stuff I know I shouldn’t because I’m no longer trying to maintain my weight I’m trying to lose some weight. Do you have any advice?
MY ANSWER – Part II:
Now that you know the reason why you’ve been making excuses to skip workouts and what to do about it, let’s deal with the issue of having lost a lot of weight by changing your lifestyle through diet and exercise and then gaining some of it back by reverting to foods you know you shouldn’t.
Once you lose a good amount of weight and weight loss has slowed or stopped altogether but you are feeling a lot better about your body, it’s pretty common to stop being as strict and diligent with our diet/exercise routine – I call this backsliding.
The reason we backslide is because whereas before we wanted to lose weight more than anything, we don’t have that same burning level of desire. Usually it’s because we might find our appearance a lot more acceptable and while we could still stand to lose a few pounds you are more or less complacent with the results from our labor and either feel we deserve a break or can cheat every now and then as a reward for all the hard work.
The problem is kind of sort of wishing you could lose the excess weight and cheating – especially when it becomes more often than not -will put you back at square one instead of the direction you want to go.
The trick is to shatter that complacency and tap into the reason you really want to lose the additional weight (the weight you have left to lose) and gain that burning level of desire back. You have to want to lose that weight more than whatever old food you used to enjoy or temporary fatigue you will feel from working out.
To do this I’d suggest making a list of all the reasons you need to keep going and a separate list of all the ways your life will be better or you’ll feel better about yourself once you reach your ultimate goal, post that list somewhere visible and re-read it if your desire starts to wane.
One recommendation I commonly give to people in this situation is to always have a special event where you want and need to look your best coming up.
To explain why this works, consider this hypothetical scenario- if you knew you had one month to look your best because you had to be on national tv in a bikini – and your ex who dumped you because you were overweight was guaranteed to be watching, you’d probably have no problem adhering to your diet and exercise regimen, right?
Well, find a reason as equally compelling/motivational as this to kickstart that desire in yourself to stick to your program and keep you accountable, whether it be planning a trip somewhere, throwing yourself a party, entering a contest, planning to do a private striptease for your boyfriend’s birthday, meeting up with a friend from the past, etc.
Do this and your mentality will be completely changed. You won’t find yourself as tempted to backslide and eat poorly or skip those workouts… in fact, it’ll be a lost easier to tell yourself the cupcake isn’t worth it because you’ll have such a strong incentive to do so – I guarantee it!
I hope this has sufficiently answered your questions and given you -as well as those who are facing a similar situation – concrete things to do. If you do take this advice and experience success or you’ve gone through something similar and was able to turn things around by employing these tactics (or any others), please feel free to share your experience below.