By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

One reason people commonly give for not being able to lose weight is they just can’t get motivated to eat well and exercise. We all know motivation is definitely important, but how can you get motivated and stay motivated for the long haul?

It’s fairly easy to stay motivated for the length of time it takes to lose five to ten kilos, but if you have 30 or more kilos you want to lose, maintaining the momentum can be hard. Most people also find it easier to lose weight if there’s a significant upcoming event like a wedding or school reunion, but how do you keep the weight off afterwards?

Probably the most significant way to maintain motivation is to remember the reasons why you want to lose weight in the first place. Not just remember them; keep them at the forefront of your mind. There is actually research to support this.

A recent study determined that these are the top 7 reasons why people want to lose weight (in this order):

  1. improve fitness
  2. increase self-esteem
  3. to be able to have more fashion options
  4. to be able to participate in more activities
  5. to be able to reduce the risk of health problems or improve current health problems
  6. to improve sexual confidence
  7. to improve their social life.

What is your motivation? Perhaps you should make your own list and keep it somewhere you’ll regularly see it, such as your bedroom wall, or the fridge wall. The reminders can be very helpful on the difficult, stressful days when you want to throw the towel in on your healthy diet.

It’s also important to follow a diet that reduces hunger and cravings. Sugar and high carbohydrate foods like bread and pasta increase appetite in most people, whereas protein rich foods and healthy fats reduce appetite. There is an easy to follow eating plan in the book “I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why”. It’s also important to make sure you are sleeping well and that your health is good. Many people eat sugar and carbohydrate rich foods as a survival strategy when they’re exhausted. Perhaps you have a medical condition that is standing in the way of optimal health. It’s important to investigate this.

Reference:  Primary Goals for Weight Loss Questionnaire (PGWLQ): Development and Psychometric Evaluation in Overweight and Obese Adults  Behaviour Change / Volume 28 / Issue 01 / May 2011, pp 29-44

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