10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight By Jessica Smith

1. Ditch the Daily Weigh-In

Ditch the Daily Weigh-In

The scale can be a helpful tool for measuring your progress, but many people get in the habit of weighing themselves too often. "While some research shows that people manage (maintain) their weight better by weighing in daily, the same can't be said for losing weight," says Nicole Nichols, editor and fitness expert for SparkPeople.com. "Daily weigh-ins (or multiple weigh-ins per day) will only sap your motivation with a roller coaster of emotions and can cause you to freak out by temporary up-ticks in the scale (that have nothing to do with body mass or body fat)," she says. Instead, Nichols recommends stepping on the scale once a week—or even every two weeks—to better track your progress.

2. An Instagram-a-Day

An Instagram-a-Day

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and these days it's easier than ever to build a personal motivation gallery! Try tracking your progress by creating a weight loss diary via Instagram (or another similar photo app). Daily photos (we recommend posing right after a great workout or during a healthy meal) can document the changes in your body that you may not otherwise notice—and that the scale won't always show. (Plus, you'll definitely have a wide variety of before and after pictures to choose from when you're ready to display your final results!)

3. Silence Your Inner Critic

Turn to Your Smartphone

 With more weight-loss apps available than ever, instant motivation is just a tap away. Whether you can't muster the motivation to cook dinner (try a healthy eating app like BigOven to find recipes based on what's already in your pantry), need a little support (download Fitocracy to team up with a buddy), or you're just looking for a new way to get moving (try Zombies, Run!), there's a great app to help keep your motivation (and you) mobile.

6. List Your Reasons for Losing

List Your Reasons for Losing

Looking (and feeling) better on the beach is a perfectly valid reason for wanting to slim down, but it might not be enough to keep you inspired for the long haul. "Come up with a running list of all the things that are better about your life when you're at a lighter weight," Nichols says. Your list might include things like being healthier, having more stamina, improving your confidence, shopping for fun fashions, keeping up with or setting a good example for your kids, or knocking something off your bucket list like hiking the Grand Canyon, which is much easier when you're fit and at a healthy weight. Once you've written out your detailed list, keep it handy and read it often, especially when you're feeling particularly drained, to remind yourself why it's worth staying on track, she says.

7. Recruit Gift Givers

Recruit Gift Givers

Rewarding yourself with gifts along the way is great in theory but tough in practice—your schedule is already jam-packed! Make it more fun and realistic by getting your friends involved. "One of the best ideas I ever heard was from a SparkPeople.com member," Nichols says. "She gave several of her friends $20 each to buy her a surprise gift, wrap it and everything. Then for each 10 pounds she lost (you could determine the interval yourself), she would open one of the gifts purchased by her friends for a really fun and surprising reward along her journey."

8. Set Goals Beyond the Scale

Set Goals Beyond the Scale

Even if you do everything right, there will be times when the scale won't budge or the weight just doesn't seem to come off as quickly as it should. Don't let that discourage you! Measure your progress in other ways, Nichols says. "Set goals for fitness—running farther, sticking to your routine each day or week—and celebrate each of these mini accomplishments," she says. "Or set goals for your diet such as staying in your calorie range as many days as possible, packing your lunch for work each day, or drinking 64 ounces of water a day, and celebrate reaching these goals." Celebrating these new milestones is a great way to stay motivated and inspired to stick with your program, even on days (or weeks) when the scale doesn't seem to reflect your progress.

9. Confront Your Fears

Confront Your Fears

It may not be a lack of motivation, but rather your fears or beliefs that are truly holding you back. For instance, if you've been trying to lose weight by exercising regularly but repeatedly find yourself avoiding the gym or going for a run outdoors, ask yourself the real reason why, Dranitsaris says. Do you really not want to exercise? Or you are embarrassed to show your body? To help overcome your fear, make a list of alternatives that can help you keep moving such as doing a workout DVD at home or sweating with a friend in a place you feel comfortable, like a women-only gym.

10. Cultivate Compassion

Cultivate Compassion

If you find yourself feeling really uninspired or particularly down on your body, try shifting your focus to self-appreciation, Scotto suggests. Instead of beating yourself up for not losing a pound this week, be grateful for how your body moves and all the things it does for you (it got you through a week's worth of workouts, right?). Shift your focus from how you look to how you function—cultivating gratitude for your senses, your limbs, your ability to dance, walk, and run, she says.

Weight Loss : shape.com
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