It happens during even the most successful weight loss plans -- the dreaded plateau. Whether it's mental or physical, seeing a lack of results or losing motivation to exercise and eat healthfully can seriously derail your progress. Fail-proof your weight loss journey by putting safeguards in place that help you stay motivated, even when you want to quit. Having a support system, targeted goals and the occasional celebration can help you stay on track, lose weight and see real results.
Talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan, suggests FamilyDoctor.org. Not only can your doctor make sure that you're healthy enough for regular physical activity, but she can also suggest nutrition options and workouts that suit your lifestyle and level of fitness. Talking with your doctor gives you an outline and someone to report your success to in order to stay motivated.
Plan long- and short-term goals to help you stay motivated and see results. While long-term goals -- like losing 30 pounds -- are admirable, they may be too lofty to keep you on track. Instead, try short-term goals that lead to longer-term benefits, like going to the gym every day for one week or packing your lunch each day, rather than grabbing fast food. These smaller term goals are more easily accomplished, which could be the key to your motivation and seeing long-term results. The American Council on Exercise suggests using the SMART acronym for planning goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Ask friends and family members to support you in your weight loss efforts. Making workouts and healthy eating more social can give you more accountability and motivation as you stick to your plan. Whether it's going for a nightly run with your friend or swapping healthy recipes with a neighbor, having someone to check in with can keep you on track.
Visualize the outcome of your weight loss. Whether you're working toward a better life, losing weight to be more active with your kids, for a special occasion or to improve your overall health, pictures and affirmations that you see regularly can help remind you of why you want to lose weight. Cut out pictures from magazines, stick a motivational quote to your fridge or set a family photo as your phone background so there's always a visual cue to remind you of your goals.
Celebrate your small successes as well as your big wins. Working toward something -- even if it's a new pair of workout shoes or a trip to the movies -- can give you the extra kick that you need to exercise daily or swap fatty snacks for fresh fare. Just avoid rewarding yourself with food -- choose experiences or products and reward yourself whenever you feel like you've had a personal victory.
- FamilyDoctor.org: What You Should Know Before You Start A Weight Loss Plan
- American Council on Exercise: Reaching Your Goals the SMART Way
- The Real You Diet: Your Personal Program for Lasting Weight Loss; Madelyn Fernstrom