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Weight Loss Motivation - Fresh ideas to get you going!

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

At this time of year, it is difficult to keep motivated. Your weight may be dropping and your clothes feeling looser, but how do you keep on target? Many people start to falter as they meet their first successes, and motivation wavers again as you ponder the future.

Never fear though, top dietitian Juliette Kellow gives you some fresh ideas to keep your weight loss on track.

Reassess your goals

In the first few weeks of dieting, chances are you found the scales showing some pretty big weight losses, so when things slow down, it can be disappointing.

Expecting to lose 5lb every week in the long term just isn’t realistic and you’ll only set yourself up for constant misery if that’s what you aim to achieve.

Instead, accept the fact that you’ll be more likely to lose around 2lb a week. That might not sound like a lot – but it’s more than 7 stone in a year! Plus losing 2lb equates to a loss of around 1cm off your waist.

If you’re still not feeling the love with a 2lb weight loss, buy yourself four 250g packets of butter and keep them in the fridge. Next time you feel down about losing ‘just’ 2lb, spend an hour doing all your regular jobs whilst carrying those four packets of butter. You’re guaranteed to never want to see that fat again – and you’ll be far more likely to congratulate yourself on losing just that!

Weigh, then go

Jumping on the scales several times a day might be tempting but it won’t help to keep you motivated. Most people’s weight can fluctuate dramatically throughout the day as fluid intakes change – often making it look as though you’ve gained 4lb between 8am and 8pm!

Weigh yourself just once a week, at the same time of day (most people prefer first thing in the morning) and wearing the same clothing.

Beat the dieting blues

Don’t punish yourself if you’ve had a bad day. Lapses in your diet and exercise plan don’t mean failure – they’re a normal part of life and one you need to come to terms with. The real challenge is learning what to do next when you’ve slipped up.

For many people the instant response is, “I’ve already blown my diet so I might as well do it in style and order a super sized pizza and then finish off the rest of the chocolate cake in the fridge.”

A far better approach is to think, “So I’ve slipped up, but that doesn’t mean I’ve undone all my good work. I’ll simply get back on track from this minute onwards and start by ringing a friend for a chat or having a nice long soak in the bath.”

Get creative in the kitchen

More often than not, our motivation starts to flag when we get bored with our diet, so think about what you’ve been eating and drinking over the past months. If you’ve been choosing the same foods, day in and day out, chances are mealtimes have become uninteresting and a chore rather than a pleasure.

Start experimenting with different ingredients and recipes. For example, try making salads with different ingredients such as spinach, watercress, rocket, peppers and sliced red onion.

Add variety to your breakfasts by using different cereals, making your own muesli, serving up porridge or having fruit salad with yogurt. Start experimenting with different cooking methods, too:

  • stir fry cabbage in a drop of oil rather than boiling it
  • poach a chicken breast rather than frying it.
  • add a handful of fresh herbs to a pasta dish
  • find new low-calorie recipes.

You can pick up some of the free recipe cards in your local supermarket, check out recipes on the back of food packets or simply look through our extensive recipe database.

Think positively about all food

If you’re still constantly defining foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, then chances are you’ll soon end up feeling dissatisfied with meals and snacks as you start to get bored with the ‘good’ ones and miss the ‘bad’ ones.

You’ll have heard it before, but there really are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, just ‘good’ or ‘bad’ diets. This means you can still enjoy your favourite foods from time to time. If you’ve been really strict and cut them out altogether then chances are you’re feeling deprived – so it’s no wonder you’re feeling demotivated.

Don’t be scared to enjoy a few treats a couple of times a week, whether it’s a small packet of crisps, glass of wine or couple of biscuits. Just remember to include them in your daily calorie allowance.

Reward yourself

Experts agree that rewarding yourself for your hard work means you’re more likely to succeed at shifting those excess pounds. Whilst weight loss in itself is a powerful motivator, for many people the end goal often seems too far away and the results aren’t immediate enough to keep them fully motivated.

People are more likely to succeed when they get instant payback for their good efforts: eg. more energy or sleeping better after losing a few pounds may provide enough incentive.

For others, rewarding weight loss with treats like cinema tickets, a new CD or a manicure can help to keep them motivated. In other words, being kind to yourself means you’re more likely to achieve long-lasting success.

Shake up your workout

Your body needs to be constantly pushed to burn fat and build muscle, so if you’ve reached a weight loss plateau or found your shape has changed little in the last few weeks, that means you may need to stretch yourself:

  • increase the length of your workouts
  • increase the intensity of your workouts
  • start researching some fun new ways to get fit: it could be anything from pole dancing or tai chi to hiking or hula hooping.

Whatever activities you do, exercise releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins that help to make you feel happy – and happiness is a crucial ingredient for staying motivated.

Look slimmer in an instant

When you’re feeling despondent about your weight and shape, it’s easy to slouch so that you look and feel even more unattractive. Improving your posture can instantly make you look slimmer.

Simply standing up straight increases the space between your ribs and hips, making your waist look slimmer. Plus, pulling your shoulders back, tucking your bottom in and holding your tummy in instantly gives you a better shape.

Pamper yourself

When you’re taking care of yourself on the inside, you’ll be far more inclined to take care of yourself on the outside and that can instantly help to keep you motivated. So enjoy indulging in some regular pampering.

  • exfoliate once a week to remove dead skin cells
  • moisturise all over every day to keep skin smooth, soft and bright.
  • a bikini wax will instantly make you feel slimmer,
  • fuzz-free, smooth legs will look longer and leaner than rough, stubbly ones.
  • a fake tan will instantly help to slim down less-than-perfect arms and legs.
  • book in for a body wrap and see those inches drop in just 30 minutes!

Enjoy the compliments

You’ll find that as the weight starts to come off, the compliments will start to flood in – and this will really help to keep you motivated.

Try to remember all the nice things people have said to you and when you’re feeling despondent, recall those compliments – then prepare to look forward to hearing a whole lot more in the future.

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