Emma’s story: It was about a year ago when my doctor told me I had an obese BMI and that I needed to lose weight – something like that really changes you.
What I originally thought was just a bit of extra baggage was now a one way ticket to diabetes, and I suddenly questioned everything about myself and my entire lifestyle.
That memory, which even now I hate to think about, was my epiphany moment in which I finally realised that my weight had spiralled out of control – I needed to fix it there and then – there were no excuses and no alternatives, it had to be done.
But do you have to wait until you’re shamed by your GP to finally start a healthy lifestyle? Do you have to wait until you’re classed as obese? No, you don’t. You can start right here, right now, you just need to find out what motivates you.
If you were to ask me today for a motivational weight loss quote I could recite quite a few – classics such as; ‘excuses don’t burn calories’ or ‘don’t eat sugar, you’re sweet enough already’ are some of the things I internally tell myself on a day-to-day basis to try and stay focused on my weight loss journey.
For a long time though, quotes like these meant absolutely nothing to me – I just wasn’t ready to hear them. After trying (and failing miserably) a million different diets and exercise regimes, I grew tired of hearing people say things like ‘eat clean, train dirty’ or ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ – I just want to smack them in the face with my Ben & Jerry’s.
The reality was that those quotes, no matter how inspirational some people thought they were, were just another reminder of my inability to lose weight and the continuous lack of motivation that I had.
When you know you’re fat, the worst thing you can hear is someone telling you you’re fat. It’s the same with motivation – when you have zero motivation, you hate it when people tell you how to be motivated, because you feel like nothing they can say will change you.
Some people say that successful weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise – the gym bunnies of the world will probably say that it’s 70% diet and 30% exercise.
The truth is that it is motivation, above anything else, that is the key to a successful health regime, or any other achievement in life. If there is nothing driving you and pushing you to achieve your goals then what is going to stop you reaching for that bag of crisps or tasty chocolate bar?
So before you start your weight loss plan or even if you’ve tried and failed in the past, you need to understand your emotional triggers.
What would truly motivate you to lose weight? You need to find, what I think of as your ‘A-ha!’ moment (no, not the band), an epiphany in which you realise that you need to start making life changes and sticking to them in order to be happy. I like to call this motivational fuel.
For some, this could be something small such as your favourite jeans are now too tight as you’ve put on a few pounds over Christmas. However, for some of us who really struggle to get motivated it could be something much bigger, such as you have an obese BMI like I did, or you’ve been asked if you are pregnant (yes that happened to me too).
Sometimes it takes the drastic or the emotionally scaring to really wake you up and realise you need to do something. If you have finally hit your breaking point then this is your chance, use it to change your life and get healthy.
If you don’t know what your motivational fuel would be, then you need to think about all the times when you have been upset by your weight or when you have wanted to get healthy – try and find what would be a trigger for you to really push yourself.
If you don’t have any, then think of something which could happen in the future, such as you eventually get too big to shop at your favourite store or you would be too shy to wear a bikini on the beach.
You need to picture how you would feel if that were to happen and why it’s now in your hands to change it. Once you’ve hit that epiphany moment you can now really kick start your life. But remember that motivation is a fire that you need to keep fuelling, so here are some of my tips to help:
1. ‘Think slim’ at every opportunity possible: This could be as soon as you wake up, when you do your food shopping, when you cook dinner and when you are at the gym. Every free moment that you have you need to be thinking about how you’ll look when you lose weight and how great you’ll feel. The more often you think about it the more it will resonate in your mind.
2. Create new habits: If you can dedicate 3 days a week to the gym, stick to those 3 days – no matter what. If you’re not able to go to the gym, start walking for a least 30 minutes a day. Or every time you want some chocolate have a piece of fruit instead. Eventually, it’ll become a habit and it’ll just become part of your routine like going to work or brushing your teeth. When you have created a habit that you can stick to, create more.
3. Don’t buy unhealthy food If it’s not in your cupboards it can’t tempt you: Seriously don’t buy crap, even for ‘treat’ days as you’ll just be making things harder for yourself. Out of sight, out of mind – at least until you can control your cravings.
4. Track your progress: Apps such as MyFitnessPal will allow you to track all the food you eat in a day, the exercise you do and how much weight you’ve lost so far. If I ever feel like I’m struggling I’ll look at my weight chart and this fuels me to keep going.
5. Be proud of your weight loss: If you lose weight don’t keep it to yourself, tell people about it. Others will be proud of your achievement and those supportive comments can really drive you to keep going. After all, you wouldn’t want to tell someone who’s praised you for losing weight that you’ve put it back on, would you?
6. Exercise is your friend: If you suddenly get a craving for something naughty – do some exercise instead. When you’ve worked your butt off (literally) and you’re knackered and sweating, you are less likely to eat unhealthily as you won’t want to undo all your hard work.
7. Social media: The internet is an amazing place for keeping you motivated. YouTube in particular is one of my favourite places to go when I’m struggling. You can find so many weight loss success videos that are incredibly inspiring. Instagram also has Before and After pictures which are fantastic for seeing the effect healthy eating and exercise can have. You can find them using #beforeandafterweightloss – it will make you believe that if they can do it, you can too.
So there you have it, my tips for motivation. Hopefully this will help you if you have been struggling to get started or keep going. Remember, you’re in control and the only person who can achieve your goals is you.
Stay strong and don’t give up – and I’ll let you in on a little secret: Once you’re ready for it and your motivation fire is burning, losing weight is not as hard as you think. The 3 stone I’ve lost so far can vouch for that…